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Forget the Pedigree

Forget the Pedigree
Right Experience, Right Education, Right Skills


There are various hiring challenges currently. If you are reading this, you may be hiring or trying to whilst reading and listening to all the headlines. But there have always been hiring dilemmas in some form or another. Hiring is basically a supply and demand economic chain but with humans involved, making matters unpredictable. Throw in a few curve balls like Covid, Mandates and social media and boom we are in very uncertain times.

So how can you keep ahead of the curve, break a downward cycle, without throwing money at it. Yes, playing the salary game eventually is throwing money at an issue that you need to analyze internally first and externally after.

Analyze where the hiring ‘gaps’ are? Where are you feeling the pain first? Are you not getting enough candidate flow, right candidate flow, are the demands not aligned with the roles, are you losing employees to perceived or valid poaching and are people just resigning as per all the new media metrics?

Engenium is a niche staffing and HR consultancy within the engineering and simulation industry. Our daily is people. This is what we are noticing as one of the biggest gaps for many of our clients. TIME. Every part of the recruiting cycle is taking longer.

TIME TO FILL – is taking forever
Is it taking too long between posting a position and filling the role – normally called Time to Fill [TTF]? This affects productivity, your cost to hire starts to mount up, stress builds up not only on the team that needs the hire’s support but your internal hiring teams. Unless you have an incredibly predictable schedule – and the pandemic has blown this for many companies, the thought of hiring usually occurs when pain is felt. And for many clients this is already too late. Add in a longer recruiting cycle and eventually you may not meet your client demands. And you get desperate – this is usually when companies call us. It would be much better if you did it sooner!

But what are some of the factors that have led to TTF being tortuously long. What are the layers that have led to where we are now? And how can this be addressed so your recruiting cycle can improve, and you will get ahead of the curve (eventually).

Candidates want more $$. Yes, this is very true. We will discuss in future articles how we can make this aspect fairer and more equitable. But $$ is not the only factor. And it is the easiest to resolve. Let’s move on.

The Pandemic. Yes, this was probably a trigger to what we will be discussing.

  • Lack of the ‘Right’ Experience.
  • Lack of the ‘Right’ Education. Where are all the Computer Science or STEM majors gone?
  • Lack of the ‘Right’ Skills.

Let’s unpack these some more.

Right Experience. Candidates just don’t have the right experience nowadays. Experience is too broad a term. What is it you are looking for? What does this term mean to you, the role, the results that are expected of the role? Too many times, we hear – Candidate does not come from ‘x’ experience. Meaning, industry or company. Stop knocking out your candidates because they do not have the ‘right’ company or industry experience. Why? Break down the ‘experience’ required and really ask yourselves this question. For many juniors to middle level roles, skills are still being learned, translated, and applied. Skills can be transferrable. NOT industry specific. Call Engenium, to learn more on how to break down experience into understandable chunks.

Right Education. Issues with recruiting Software Engineers reigns high here. Ask yourself WHY do we need formal education – and many clients still want top tier Alma Maters. A Computer Science Degree IS very necessary. BUT – not for every role, company or project. Many Software Engineers are self-taught and today’s tech world is changing so incredibly fast, why do you need such a heavy hitting degree. Micro credentials are steadily opening more opportunities for continuous and intentional learners, while providing companies the security that the candidates have current and stackable skills.

Where are all the Computer Science or STEM majors gone? Listen up smaller companies. I won’t mention any names, but we all use the same ‘browsers’, document processing, hardware, and telecommunications now. Just hazard a guess and you can see that there is a huge migration of job shifts. Here is where the Pandemic made its greatest impact. Work from Home. Yes, many of the local graduates no longer need to move away to get those 'big' company jobs. If you cannot at least offer a hybrid model, you will fall behind.

Right skills? Well, personally I worked for a company that made the phrase ‘hire for attitude and train for skills’ a motto for many HR folks. This is still true today. Yet, many clients fall victim to the ‘skills’ interview. Attitude hiring is about finding people with the right mind-set. But I agree a good attitude is not going to get the job done if skills are completely lacking. One work around is to provide compromise. Instead of what does this job role need to accomplish right now, lean out, ask, where does this job role need to be in 2 years? And will this candidate have the ‘potential’ to get there? In other words, if a candidate has x, y but lacks z. And z does not need to be done asap, and candidate shows the potential to learn z and z++, your answer is to hire them for this attitude. Engenium can help provide with many interviewing techniques that can assist your hiring teams in recruiting outside the ‘skills’ set.

Here are some quick stats on how tight the market is and will remain. The US Bureau of Labor expects Engineering (SWE) roles to grow 22% through 2029. Right now, in this moment, Software Engineers have outpaced the Retail market for turnover of over 13.2%! We have more jobs than engineers and the engineers themselves are leaving the marketplace. This places an even greater burden on your existing teams.

We call the above the Pedigree. Clients wanting ‘Right’ experience, ‘Right’ Degree, and ‘Right’ skills. Break out of this. if you break this cycle, you will open your recruiting funnels. The more candidates you have to interview – the more you can possibly hire. More importantly, you will open your pool of Diversity, more identifiable skills, all together just these 3 will speed up your time to fill. Read up on how to HACK the recruiting funnel in our next article here…

How Communication Can Increase The Quality Of Hire.

There’s been a lot of talk in the Media about Brand image marketing for your company. For most companies that can be an abstract concept or at best an idea on what logo to include in your advertisement. Corporate branding is more about communication – what do you want to portray to the outside world. In the case of this article - how you communicate with potential employees really portrays your brand. Are your Job Descriptions a list of duties and responsibilities? How does a candidate know what is expected of them when they see your postings? Keeping your business a mystery will not encourage candidates to apply to your company. You will attract higher quality candidates the more you communicate. Read More…

Trying new things for Recruitment Marketing

As the year comes closer to the end, we found the job market heating up and candidates were in high demand. It was time for a shift in focus. Instead of jumping back into our usual routine, we wanted to form a creative approach to recruitment. As an adaptive company, we wanted to implement new ways to find candidates. As the digital marketer, I figured it was time to expand our reach. Business is booming but we weren’t reaching our full potential. In order to reach our ideal size, we set daily and weekly goals to help shape our future routine. The challenge we faced was how we were going to reach these goals.
Read More…

Candidate Relationship Building

Candidate Relationship Building – Lessons Learned

By Charles Elliott

As a Recruiter and a sales professional I am constantly looking for ways to improve by reading books, searching through articles, and receiving mentorship. This week was an education in the act of failing. A word and action many attribute a negative connotation to and look to avoid at all costs. On the contrary, it is necessary to be comfortable with failure as it is the only way to find success. Seeing it as a natural path towards your success sets value in the process, ultimately finding the best solution.

A critical part of the recruitment process is following up with candidates placed during their first three months, guiding them and setting the tone for a long lasting relationship. This is a great time to speak with the candidate to inquire how their ramp up period is progressing and to address any foreseeable problems that may arise. Paying close attention to how they react is key in finding useful information.

Most follow ups go off without a hitch with responses: “The job is going great” or “Thank you, I couldn’t advance my career without you”, this phone call was somehow different. I could hear a straining in his voice as he explained the job was going well but had not made a sale after 2 months of employment. This proved additionally worrisome for him sitting at their regular company meetings; hearing that sales were slow and cost reduction was top priority. Picking up on his concern that being the last one hired, he would be the first one to get the boot if things were to continue. Reading that this wasn’t a standard phone call follow up, I invited him out to lunch.

Over the course of an hour and a half he had explained to me this new role had a sales cycles that was much longer than his previous company and the paths he had tried to potentially make a sale have proven unsuccessful. He was hired as a problem solver, as someone who’s attention to detail could open new doors of business for the company. I could tell he was frustrated and seemingly out of sales solutions.

After a number of probing questions about his sales process I noticed when one of his efforts didn’t work out, he would administer a heavy weight of criticism upon himself impeding his performance. Inquiring further revealed the concept of “failure” was a viewed negatively amongst his family and friends. I was shocked that a man of his excellent sales skill would view failure so poorly.

I explained to him that failure was necessary, that it was a part of the sales process. Any professional I had come across embraced its intrinsic value. It was important to point out that failure without learned reflection could lead to repeating the same mistakes. His viewpoint on this concept was crippling his problem solving abilities.

I explained to him; actions he had done in the past deemed it necessary for him to learn from his failures and to view them as a positive. Dates he had went on that failed led him to his beautiful and capable wife, applications he had submitted to companies without response let him to this role. He was starting to understand that he had been learning from these challenges all along proving that this situation was no different. He left with a renewed sense of purpose and a different perspective on his now digestible problems.

I was extremely pleased I spent the hour and a half with him for lunch. Not only for the sake of saving a placement, It felt good to be a sounding board for a great candidate and help him see a path to success. This is one of the more rewarding aspects of my role as a recruiter.

I’ve adopted a philosophy over a decade of sales and recruitment experience. People don’t need to be told what to do, they grow when they find it through their own natural learning. Providing a question they have yet to ask themselves allows someone to take the natural steps relevant to their unique problem. We have our own choices to make and failures to learn from, how we can help is often taking the time to ask these questions.

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