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An ultimate guide on hiring best IT specialists


The overheated IT labor market where the number of open positions is several-fold larger than the number of eligible candidates, demands different approaches when salary is no longer a key advantage in the battle for real IT professionals. Such popular methods of motivation and remuneration as additional leave time, certificates, and other rewards are not enough anymore. Companies have to come up with creative ways to attract new workers and retain them.

Where shall one search for IT specialists?

In addition to job searching websites, one definitely needs to address the existing employees of the company and specifically their IT department specialists. There are really high chances that they will recommend one of their old colleagues or friends. Personal connections are the second most popular way for the IT experts to look for an employment after the specific job-searching websites. This fact is especially important for the applicants having more than 10 years of working experience.

Pay attention to how eligible candidates are searching because 38% of them will directly address the companies of their interest; 28% will use various search engines; 25% will rely on social networks and media; while 22% will use specific professional communities in the web.

What will they look at during the interview?

The first impression about your office is one of the key factors that affect the applicant’s decision. Only 12% of IT specialists are interested in the job position itself without being worried about the comfort and the atmosphere in their working place. The candidates are interested in good transport accessibility, and the overall level of comfort at the office. The following key factor shall be taken into account: the overall number of people working in one room, the distance between them, the availability of a private or secluded place for special moments and emergency situations.

Now let’s take a look at the questions for the interview, which will allow you catching the best applicants:

· Tell us about your perfect day at work. By getting an answer to this question you may understand the priorities and the most important task for the candidate, as well as the amount of time, which he/she spends working during the day.

· Look at your parents. Which streaks would you like to keep in your life and lives of your kids forever? The main task here is to get a sincere answer and not a rehearsal. By asking this question you push the applicant to think and tell you about the most valuable things and qualities in their life. When you hear the first part of the answer, you don’t really need to hear the rest. Ask the following question right away: “What else?” You need to follow this rule if you want to get an honest and detailed answer. Try to control yourself, and wait for the answer without pushing them - even if they remain silent for some period of time. By doing so you allow them thinking, and giving you a detailed and comprehensive answer.

· How did your belief system change during the years of work in the field of IT? You need to understand if the candidate is able to see the dynamics of the IT market, the rapid competition growth, and the constant need for professional and personal development and self-control.

· Tell me about the main failures in your life. This question will allow understanding if the candidate is able to analyze his own mistakes and create required conclusions. If the candidate is not able to remember even one of his failures, that probably means he is not able to accept his own mistakes, or he is pretty sure that all other people are guilty of his failures, while he is doing really well.

· Why do you want to change your employer? There’s no right answer to this question, as well as for other similar questions. However, if you see that the candidate is speaking of their colleagues, previous employer or customers in a negative way, you need to write it down like a troubling sign.

· What will you do when you understand that you are not able to finish everything on time (too many tasks)? The answer and the solution give a lot of information about the candidate. If the applicant wants to do everything on their own, there are high chances that such candidate is not able to work in a team, trying to be the last man standing. In case if the applicant tells you that they would ask a manager about the priority of the tasks and additional resources, you can be sure that they are a rational, proactive and potentially talented worker with a great growth potential.

· What would you do if you have one task (no work at all)? This question allows understanding if the applicant is going to take some additional work, or prefers to learn something new, spending time for self-education.

· Tell us about two or three trends which are pertinent for the field of IT. How do they affect your profession? This is a kind of panoramic question. In this case, you need to pay attention to the professional erudition of the applicant, and not to the way he’s saying. This answer is really important in case if you want to find a person, who’s able to think outside the box, understanding the field of IT, and being interested in new technologies and achievements.

· Tell us about your feelings when you had to work on a task which you couldn’t really understand. This question is more appropriate for a doer and not for a leader. However, you will be able to understand the behavior of the applicant in a new and unusual conditions. Is the candidate able to give you a list of questions, which he/she would ask to make it clearer?

· Tell us about your feelings when you had to do something for the first time in your life (new technologies, new projects, a new field of work etc.). This question looks similar to the previous one, but the idea of this question is to understand the level of ambition, and an ability to adapt to new and constantly changing conditions of life. Make a note if you see that the applicant has never experienced such situations, or can’t give you an answer.

· When the interview is over, you need to ask yourself and other colleagues the following question: Can I ever take this guy (girl) to my home to spend holidays? Even though this question may look a bit personal, you need to answer it because you have to work together. Trust your feelings and let the answer come to you naturally without you overthinking the matter - even though you haven’t spent a lot of time together.

How to carry the technical interview out

“During the interview you need to pay attention more to a person’s ability to find creative solutions and algorithms and carry them through rather then their knowledge of specific frameworks, or how well they remember some standard language parameters. To test the thinking processes I recommend using a very simple task that could be outlined on the piece of paper (or a whiteboard) and discuss the logic behind it right on spot. Also, check candidate’s knowledge of the very basics of programming with no connection to a specific language. Comparing to self-taught candidates, programmers with a fundamental professional training will most likely possess this kind of knowledge and it’s a very important aspect as you need specialists with a solid educational background.” - Alexandr L., CTO at SE Ranking

Bonus: how to lure the best IT experts to your company

After analyzing the motivational programs of HR-managers in IT companies, we were able to find the five key fields, which are transformed from their original shape.

Working space navigation

These days one can’t impress an IT expert by showing a spacious and comfortable office equipped with the latest technologies, relaxation areas, showers and the canteen. Such leading companies, as Google, Amazon, and IBM have been offering this kind of motivation for ages. A different situation is when the employees are able to plan their office on their own, starting with design, and finishing with small interior objects.

Another impressive and efficient way is to invite a person to a remote office of an American or European company located, for example, in Thailand. Famous LinguaLeo startup has chosen this way, offering their employees a chance to live and work in a tropical heaven. Such approach allows not only attracting new specialists but reducing the overall expenses. There are high chances that the employer will ask the potential candidate about the preferred country for working and living in the nearest future.

Looking after the family

In addition to the opening corporate kindergartens, running parents’ day, and carrying out family holidays, some companies are able to look after the household needs of the employees. For example, they allow taking their pets to the office, pay for the nanny services or offer summer internships for the children of the employees.

Some businesses offer their employees dress-making, tailoring, repairing, delivery, cleaning, and even hairdressing services. By attracting subject matter experts, the company is able to concentrate on the workflow.

Workflow structure

Classic systems of interaction between the employer and the employee are fading away in the past. The employees have to be able to solve the majority of the issues on their own without being pressed by the management. No doubt that not all the businesses are ready for such radical changes; however, a new approach to the working process is psychologically comfortable and brings the feeling of satisfaction from the entire working process.

Corporate education

Corporate educational centers are the real alternative for the system of the higher education, in the majority of countries, which are not able to provide the high quality of IT education. This new offering was created not only for aspiring specialists but for the experienced experts as well, who are able to get a whole set of specific knowledge.

Social responsibility and charity

The famous developer of linguistic software, ABBYY, actively works on ‘Ecology++’ project. It includes ‘days without using paper’ when workers use only digital document sharing system. The company has so-called ‘eco-wall’, where the employees are able to bring old lamps, batteries, papers and magazines for recycling.

The ecological approach, volunteering, and help to the less fortunate people become more and more popular among the progressive youth. Furthermore, this field attracts the attention of various media, politics and cultural workers. It seems that this trend will get more and more popular.

Probably, the leading IT experts will work in companies, which will be able to offer the total freedom in all aspects of life ‘without discontinuing work’. So we will witness a lot of new things and surprises.

In short

The process of finding the best talent for your company is not just about your performance indicators and business aspects. It affects the behavior of your employees in the real world, even though you are hardly able to control and analyze it. Even though the questions offered in this article are created for interviews with applicants, sometimes we need to stop for a while, and ask ourselves: ‘What can I do in order to change someone’s life for the better?’


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