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A 3 tier approach to more effective recruiting

Alex Shaw

Chief Technology and Product Officer at MDRx

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The most obvious route to recruiting is to post an advert, it's where most organisations start and is really a requirement really for sharing details (tip - include the salary!). But where do you go after that? The next place is probably recruiters - there are loads of them and some really rather good ones too, I've used many and can confirm that they can indeed make life easier! It is entirely possible to operate only using this type of arrangement, many companies do. It can be expensive, the quality can vary and there is often no long term return on the costs.

So whats the alternative? It's rather simple. There are 3 areas to focus on.

Recruiting:

This is the bit you are already doing, in-house or outsourced this usually involved creating adverts, looking for job boards to post them onto, talking to agencies, managing agents and lists of candidates. Theres lots to do here, recruitment fairs, specialist job boards, referral schemes, headhunting, advertising - all goes into a general recruitment pot. If you are super lucky your organisation has a lot of this handled by specific teams and whilst that can often mean more communication is required to establish the right flow of candidates a good recruitment team is worth far more than their weight in gold!!.

Academic:

Most engineering teams do a little of this, large organisations have wrapped it up in some kind of graduate programme but the truth of the matter is, there's a significant number of great people that never make it to the job boards. I can't recommend enough getting out to schools, colleges and universities to engage with Students and staff. Its a huge win-win-win-win-win situation that benefits staff, students, employees, your business and the academic institution. The result ? I've never had a business baulk at the idea of a permanent stream of engaged and loyal employees. That said - you better have a great onboarding and junior to senior development path! Many of the large consultancies also run programs to fund the degrees of high potential students, these often include summer activities or placements. In truth these are a bit of a treadmill but they do produce some great people.

It doesn't take a large budget, graduate programmes or recruitment teams to get started. Just find the local Uni, College and schools and reach out. If your stuck for ideas try any of these, all of which I've implemented. Code clubs, hack-a-thon, mock interviews, presentations, code pairing, Lecturer support, curriculum guidance, placements, work experience.

Community

The tech world is a fairly new industry, the technology we use in, around and on our applications changes almost daily constantly fragmenting and developing as we gain access to increasingly capable hardware and learn better ways to build. There are 3 parts to learning and developing skills, instruction, practice and finally feedback and improvement. It's this third part that is sometimes difficult within a team. Understanding a new technology can be done through documentation, you tube, blogs, courses and trial and error. But we all know experience counts when it comes to course correcting mistakes and can be hugely accelerating. This is one of the huge benefits of engaging with community - you get to share your work openly with many other experienced voices that will have a range of ideas on where you might improve or course correct.

Then theres the benefit of culture, seeking feedback through sharing creates vulnerability. It takes humility to accept that there might be better alternatives, especially when the team might have been convinced about their approach, to openly go looking for them takes courage, all of these are green flags to engineers who remember the good companies when they want to move to a new role.

Summary

The real secret here is that if you are nailing academic sourcing, have a good progression process and solid community engagement you'll find you're doing a lot less recruitment, in some cases teams I've worked with have stopped all paid sourcing perhaps you might only be using agencies for some specialist roles and you'll likely have a backlog of engineers that know who you are, what you do and what kind of environment you have. And if you are the kind of place that just wants to keep paying - please keep on recruiting, most of the candidates we hire never hit your des


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Alex Shaw

Chief Technology and Product Officer at MDRx


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