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Will Facebook stop you attracting top tech talent in 2017?

And no I don’t mean top tech talent will be too busy playing candy crush or reading fake news headlines – I’m talking about the recent report on the BBC website that Facebook intends to hire an additional 500 employees in their soon to be relaunched Fitzrovia London HQ.

With a large percentage of those being highly skilled engineering roles, how will this news impact other London based tech firm’s abilities to attract and retain sought after tech talent in the coming year?

You would think not insignificantly, but not all is lost – there are a number of things that you can do to increase the chances of securing your share of the best engineers in town in 2017.

And here they are!

Firstly, you need to take hiring seriously! Put your heart and soul into taking people through your recruitment process and that means “buy in” from everyone involved. If the key players aren’t prioritising interviews at least as highly as their day job then you just won’t be agile enough to compete for the best. Remember there is a war for top talent going on and speeding up your hiring process is critical to that.

Which leads nicely on to streamlining your offer process! Don’t be bogged down by bureaucracy and red tape when it comes to getting employment contracts out the door. If your Global VP of talent or CEO who happens to be on a 2 week vacation needs to approve a graduate software engineer before you can make them an offer, then the chances are they’ll end up working elsewhere. And likewise, if your background checking company has a lead time of 3 weeks and HR is insisting that they come back clean before a contract can be released then you should probably be lining that one up way before the final decision has been made. Check out as an innovative tech play looking to speed up your onboarding processes.

Simon Sinek famously stated people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it and from a tech talent attraction perspective that can mean many things – what is your brand vision and how is that message taken to the market? What makes your company so special compared to your competition? What makes the work being undertaken more interesting than that across the road? In a nutshell, why is someone going to buy your story? It needs to be compelling and it needs to be delivered by everyone in your recruitment process. If you’re working with a premier recruitment partner (and you should be!) then you should look at them as an extension of your brand. They will be the first ones making contact with your potential next hire and they will only have one shot at convincing them to buy into you. Give them what they need!

If you’re finding that positioning isn’t coming that easily then it’s probably time you engaged with some expertise in employer branding. As a hiring manager used to building high performing teams of technical talent, marketing isn’t necessarily something that naturally goes hand in hand with that. So, if you’re finding that quality candidates are dropping out at the final stages or rejecting offers in favour of other firms then look to engage with a branding agency that can bring some fresh eyes and ideas into your business. Aside from the negative emotions of being rejected, recruitment can be time consuming and the cost of not scaling at the desired rate with the right calibre of talent can grow exponentially.  Time spent on your employee brand really is time well spent and will reap dividends in the long run.

Once you have your why and your brand you need to make sure that your existing team buys into it. Does the message resonate with them and is it culturally aligned? An easy way to measure their true feelings is to keep an eye on your glassdoor rating. Any potential employee is most likely going to be reviewing your company’s comments section and whilst most realise that like other apps in a similar vein such as trip advisor, the majority of satisfied customers or in this case employees tend not to leave comments. That being said there is no smoke without fire so if there is a history of negative comments on glassdoor don’t be afraid to discuss it during the interview process. And if your team buys into what you are doing, encourage them to get involved in the discussion too.

So in summary there are many things that you can do to be competitive against the likes of Facebook in the year ahead, and these are just a few of them. As a hiring manager and tech leader you should always be looking to innovate in all areas of your business, from recruitment of the best talent to getting the most them when they join. And above all, having fun whilst you do it! If you need further advice on any of the above then give us a call – we’d be happy to help. Here’s to a successful year ahead.

Tom McGibbon – Founder & Director @ The People Foundry

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