9 Ways for CHROs to Attract Top Tech Talent

September 10, 2019

Contributor: Jackie Wiles

To excel at attracting critical technology talent, HR leaders must improve employment brand, job offer competitiveness and candidate experience.

“My CEO is constantly in my office asking me to fill our open technology roles as they are critical to our strategic plan,” says the chief human resources officer (CHRO) at one Fortune 500 company. And most HR leaders find themselves in a similar position today — whether they work in a technology company or not. 

There is a rampant demand for the critical tech talent that businesses need to drive digitalization, but some organizations are managing to excel at attracting this type of talent, and Gartner research shows they take a coordinated effort on several fronts.

“ Attracting technology talent isn’t an HR problem; it’s a business problem”

“Attracting technology talent isn’t an HR problem; it’s a business problem. And you can’t leave the strategy or mechanics of attracting this talent segment to chance,” says James Atkinson, VP, Quantitative Analytics and Data Science at Gartner. “Companies with a high talent IQ in attracting this talent use a deliberate approach that is a point of competitive differentiation.”

Benchmark your ability to attract talent

The Gartner Talent IQ Index benchmarks those capabilities and the results reveal that a genius talent-attraction strategy is based on three key pillars:

  1. Employment branding: Leveraging marketing techniques to create a positive brand for potential candidates.
  2. Job offer competitiveness: Developing the most compelling and competitive job requisitions.
  3. Candidate experience: Delivering a positive overall job candidate experience.

9 things to improve

For each of the three imperatives for attracting talent, there are three specific things you can do to improve your chances of effectively attracting critical talent. Focus investments and innovation efforts to improve how your brand resonates with sought-after candidates, and how you treat sought-after talent — throughout the candidate journey.

  1. Build your career-specific social media presence, not just to increase the number of followers, but to build high levels of engagement within the community of talent you want to tap. Increase engagement per post with relevant content.
  2. Optimize search engines. Aim to capture job search volume, own search results for certain talent, and effectively redirect search results to career websites/job aggregators. On your career website and in job postings, keep the language simple and professional so it can be easily understood and found by any candidate. Include terms that candidates themselves will use when looking for a particular job online. 
  3. Generate positive buzz on job sites. Candidates can readily access reviews from current and past employees on job sites. Monitor overall ratings and seek to maximize positive feedback on the employee value proposition (EVP). Ensure work experience for current employees generates positive feedback.
  4. Articulate your employee value proposition in a candidate-centric way. Make sure your job descriptions effectively highlight the five EVP categories — rewards, work, organization, people, and opportunity — in the correct proportions. For example, detail on rewards and work should account for about half of any job posting. Analysis of Gartner TalentNeuron™ data shows that covering all five EVPs optimally reduces time-to-fill by 9 days.
  5. Leverage job descriptions. Focus on information that the candidates themselves will find valuable, rather than just demanding a slew of skills or touting details that you perceive as benefits. Keep skills requirements to less than 5% of overall word count.
  6. Keep salary, location, and benefits competitive with similar job descriptions at other organizations. Highlight salary differentials, job location and benefits. Make sure you know which companies, or types of companies, are competing for the talent you want. It may not be who you suspect
  7. Design your career website for maximum impact. Make sure job and organizational information is clear and readily accessible, and it’s obvious to candidates how to actually apply for a position. Provide a candid description of organizational culture and management style. Furthermore, make it easily accessible. The more mobile-friendly is your website, the lower the bounce rate. 
  8. Make applying effortless. Make it quick and easy for prospective candidates to apply for the right job — and get help if the process breaks. 
  9. Provide a positive interview experience. Candidates increasingly share their experiences with other job seekers so make sure the experience is a positive one. If you have a lot of candidates to interview, keep the experience consistent. Keep interview questions insightful and relevant and leave the candidate clear on the requirements and benefits of the position.

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