Articles, HR, Innovation

World Cafés with 100 HR leads: How to find & retain technical experts?

From Big Data Engineers to Experts for Artificial Intelligence – how can you find and retain the sought-after experts? At the renowned Rethink! HR Tech conference I facilitated several World Cafés with nearly 100 HR leads from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. And here are the core results of their sessions:

How do you get the attention of the technical experts?

Challenges that the participants discussed ranged from that their company maybe is not well-known among candidates, that their locations are not attractive or that they simply do not find the experts even if they are located in attractive cities.

Key Actions:

Do active sourcing in social networks and address the experts with a personalised message. You get highest response rates if this is being done by a high-level manager of the company. Also refer to the company culture in the first contact.
Use your own employees as ambassadors who recommend people from their networks.

Recruiting is Sales. How do you shape the candidate experience?

Challenges that the participants discussed included that customer orientation is not yet fully in the mindset of all hiring and HR managers. As a consequence most recruiting processes are „standard“. Moreover, there is only little active sourcing being done or – if it is being done – the candidates are not approached in a personalised way.

Key actions:

Great candidate experience starts with a true customer-orientation of HR as well as the hiring managers. If you handle all touchpoints with candidates professionally, responsive and with a personal touch, they will feel the appreciation.
Candidates highly appreciate if they have the chance to „meet-the-team“ eg. getting to know their future colleagues.
Also they like learning more about the company culture, eg. in a cultural fit interview or if they can prove their tech skills, eg. in doing a small tech homework.

What do you do in order to retain the technical experts?

Challenges were that the companies often do not know the exact expectations of the candidates. Also unrealistic expectations are sometimes not really matched with what the companies can/want to offer which might result in a later disappointment of the candidates.

Key actions:

In addition to being an attractive employer and offering interesting tasks, perspectives and benefits, it is essential to know the exact expectations of the individual candidate, eg. what he/she expects from the job, the company and colleagues. Or if candidates are relocating from abroad, how they hope to be integrated into the country/city and the company.
Once you know the exact expectations of the individual it is essential to discuss to what extent the company can or wants to fulfill these expectations. Aligned and realistic expectations from both the candidate and company are the best basis for a high engagement of the future employee.

Wishing you great progress and success in strengthening the action items that are most valuable for your company.

About the author:

Anja Michael has more than 15 years experience as a global HR leader in technology companies. Currently she is working at Avira being responsible for global strategic and operative HR Management. Her focus lies on people development, management development and organisational development incl. M&A. Anja Michael is also concerned with HR marketing, employer branding and positioning of HR as strategic partner of executives and staff. She has a M.A. degree from Bonn University, works as a certified coach and is a honorary board member of the “Berufsverband individualpsychologischer Berater” (BiB e.V.).

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