4 effective ways to find (and hire) innovative IT candidates

By Robert Half 18th July 2019

Creating and fostering a culture of innovation, especially in IT, is more important than ever for small and large businesses. The future of work is on the horizon and the rapid pace of technology means that businesses are needing to find innovative IT professionals to join their ranks.

The global IT skills shortage is tightening the recruitment market. In the UK companies are facing challenges attracting skilled tech talent a top tech talent is often facing multiple offers. Equally, as our report Recruiting for the future: The challenges of UK SMEs uncovered, 75% of CIOs believe tech talent prefer to work for larger, tech companies than SMEs.

Businesses, especially SMEs, are introducing digital transformation programmes to increase revenues and maintain their competitive edge. As these initiatives require technical expertise, enhanced business processes and strategic problem solving, it's important to attract the right innovative IT candidates to foster the wider culture of innovation.

How to find an innovative hire

When looking to hire IT candidates, successful companies we work with are adopting these three approaches to identify innovative IT candidates:

1. Narrow the search for innovative hires

While searching job boards offers a wide pool of jobseekers, the attention of candidates is shared with other competitors and other job sites. To find the right person, change your mindset, and start looking for passive candidates.

IT candidates who have worked on similar projects that require complementary IT skills is one way to uncover potential innovative hires. As this can be challenging, a specialist technology recruitment consultants who have established networks of IT candidates and a record of the types of projects they have accomplished would be well placed to support.

2. Potential over perfection: The “perfect” IT employee is rare

Now, that’s not to say there aren’t great information technology professionals out there, but when reviewing applications, it pays to differentiate between must-have IT skills versus nice-to-have skills. Otherwise, you could risk losing a high calibre (and innovative) IT candidates slipping through your fingers.

Look for candidates who can align well with the culture and working environment, can bring best practices from previous projects, and can provide analytical feedback. It can be easy to overlook IT candidates soft skills in favour of their technical ability. However, as the technology department continues to work more collaboratively with the wider business, without these soft skills the opportunities to benefit from cross-departmental collaboration could be missed.

IT professionals with the right mix of soft skills, technical expertise and cultural fit can help bring IT innovation to your business. Consider what qualities the candidate may be on their way to developing and if you can help further their development.

3. Ask the unexpected

When interviewing IT candidates, it can help to ask interview questions such as “Why do you want to work for us?” or “What are your greatest strengths (or weaknesses)?” in the beginning to gain information on their experience and skills. Then, as the interview progresses ask questions that will reveal their potential for innovation. For example:

  • Name a company that was once very successful and is now only a shadow of itself. What went wrong and what would you have done differently?
  • How comfortable are you with adapting to changes in the industry or leadership?
  • What excites you about your current role?
  • How would you define the success of a project?
  • Can you provide an example where you worked on a successful project?
  • What type of company culture or work environment do you thrive in?

Future-proof with innovative hires

As the future of work will only continue to evolve the workplace and the technology solutions your business relies on to do business, seeking out IT candidates with a strong potential for innovation is one way to future-proof your tech team. The current skills shortage will only continue into the foreseeable future, fostering a culture of IT innovation could provide the opportunity to attract the right skilled IT candidate for your business.

For help and advice on finding innovative IT candidates contact us today.

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