Guest Post: The 10 Best Reasons to Hire a Veteran

The transition between the military and civilian worlds can be tough to navigate, especially when veterans re-enter the workforce. It can be difficult for former service members to explain and employers to understand how military skills translate to civilian jobs. But what companies often don’t realize is that, due to the rigor of military training, hiring a veteran can net a considerable number of advantages for civilian companies.

Here’s how your business can benefit from hiring a veteran:

  1. Veterans are goal-oriented: Military members get things done. From the day they start basic training, they learn how to perform tasks in a timely manner. They’re trained to keep their eyes on the prize and reach goals as efficiently as possible.
  2. Veterans are quick learners: Veterans are used to thinking on their feet, gaining and assimilating new knowledge under shifting conditions. This problem-solving and acuity helps them learn new skills quickly. Also, as a result of dealing with complex command hierarchies and supply chains, many veterans often excel at logistics, customer relationship management, and other areas beneficial to the process-side of your company.
  3. Veterans have clearances and security screenings: Many members of the military have already undergone extensive background checks, even for upper levels of security clearance. This can provide your company a level of confidence and trust(especially in the HR department). And if your company requires security clearances, hiring a veteran who already holds such clearances can save your company money and time.
  4. Veterans practice sound judgment: Military personnel are required to make decisions in the blink of an eye, and that requires the ability to make solid judgments of prevailing conditions and their own assessments. Throughout their careers, military veterans gain a considerable amount of experience deciphering when and when not to trust their intuition.
  5. Veterans are eligible for government-paid higher education: If there are a lot of opportunities to advance within your company that require classes or training, hiring a vet would be a good idea. The government gives veterans financial assistance for pursuing higher education. This means that if they need to take any college classes to advance within your company, the U.S. government will foot the bill, or at least part of it. In Canada, the Veterans Affairs Canada office provides service members who served 6 years with $40,000 worth of education benefits and $80,000 for those who served 12 years or more.
  6. Veterans have a strong work ethic: “Determined” is a word often used to describe vets. In the military, they’re accustomed to working long hours, often in less-than-ideal places. They also know that their team’s safety and success ultimately depends on their own completion of a goal to the best of their ability. As a result, most veterans have a well-developed work ethic.
  7. Veterans thrive in diverse workplacesDuring their career in the military, veterans are exposed to a vast array of different races, genders, sexual orientations, places of origin, religions, backgrounds, and personalities. They learned to work with just about anyone, which means they’ll probably fit into your company’s team well and cut down on personnel issues within the office.
  8. Veterans are safety-conscious: Due to their training, veterans are continuously aware of safety protocols put in place for themselves and the people around them. If your company works with heavy machinery or potentially dangerous or hazardous materials, hiring veterans could be a great idea, as they often have a sharp eye for regulations and potential hazards.
  9. There are tax credits for hiring veterans: There are certain tax credits in the United States available to businesses that choose to hire military veterans. Online systems are available to help companies screen veterans to determine the best candidate for the job, as well as the related tax credits. Tax credits will be different depending on who you hire, and credits work on a one-to-one ratio for the employer’s income tax.
  10. Veterans are adaptable: Being in the military requires that members learn to adapt quickly, whether for job conditions, relocating to a new city, or myriad other changes. Situations can change at the drop of a hat, and military personnel are constantly required to be prepared for those changes. If the unexpected is liable to happen within your company, (and remember, unexpected things happen all the time!) hiring a veteran could help your organization maneuver through those situations with ease.

All in All

A plethora of benefits come along with hiring a veteran to work at your company: adaptability, work ethic, teamwork and leadership, efficiency, safety-consciousness, and sharp critical thinking. Veterans’ military training has prepared them for just about anything, instilling the skills they’ll need to obtain and succeed as part of the civilian workforce once their military career has ended. Fortunately, those are the same skills that will benefit your teams and companies, as well.

Connect with Brad Miller: TheMilitaryGuide.org

Pacific Coast Priorities: 4 Things on the Radar of Ian Martin’s BC Recruiters

*Feature image by Rob Nelson www.robnelson.ca

British Columbia’s economy is hot and its unemployment rate certainly reflects that. Thanks to strong performance in industries including oil and gas, technology, tourism, finance and real estate, British Columbia wrapped up August 2018 with the lowest unemployment rate of any Canadian province at just 5.3 per cent. 

 

While this low unemployment rate is certainly something to celebrate, it also means that the labour market is heating up. Does recruiting in a job seeker’s market like BC’s require strategic shifts in approach to come out a winner in the war for top talent? We went straight to the source and asked some of our top recruiters in the province what they’re keeping their eyes on in the BC talent market right now. 

 

#1: Difficult-to-fill Positions 

According to a recent report by the BC Chamber of Commerce, two-thirds of BC businesses surveyed are struggling with difficult-to-fill positions, the majority of which are for higher skilled or senior positions. Nearly a quarter of those businesses had dealt with middle or senior manager positions being vacant for over six months. 

 

#2: Desired Skills and Experience 

The same report found that 45 per cent of BC businesses surveyed were only occasionally or even infrequently able to recruit candidates with the desired skills and experience over the past year. The two most frequent skills or experience found to be lacking in candidates were job-specific technical skills and relevant on-the-job experience. To deal with this skillset deficit, nearly three-quarters of employers indicated they routinely resort to hiring less-qualified employees and training them on-the-job. 

 

#3: Location of Labour Pool 

Another interesting finding in the report was the fact that 80 per cent of the businesses surveyed indicated that they frequently recruit new employees locally. When they look beyond their city, nearly the same number of businesses recruit internationally (4%) as from other areas within Canada (5%). This is interesting given the fact that it is often much easier to place from within the country.  

 

#4: Wage and Benefit Increases 

To retain staff, more than half of the businesses surveyed indicated that they were increasing wages (56%) and/or benefits (52%). Interestingly, business located in the Northeast of the province rely on wage increases as a retention strategy more often (75%) than in the Mainland/Southwest region of BC (51%). 

 

Having to pay increased wage and benefits costs isn’t the only negative impact BC’s labour shortage is having on the bottom lines of companies located in the province: over a quarter of the businesses surveyed (27%) reported that they had reduced their total business output or reduced or modified their type of product or service offerings to try to address the labour challenges they were facing. 

 

Partnering with a recruitment firm that specializes in placing technical talent is a sound strategy for helping your company not just survive but thrive through a very competitive labour market like BC’s. By hiring on contract, companies can hire strategically for their projects while attracting highly qualified talent who may not place a priority on long-term employment because they care more about flexibility, autonomy, and having the opportunity to accomplish a significant project that will help build their resume for more exciting initiatives in the future. Working with a recruiting firm like Ian Martin, with locations across the country, also makes it easier to connect with Canadian talent in other provinces who are willing to make the move for the right opportunity. 

 

If you’d like to learn more about how contract staffing can benefit your business, our Insider’s Guide to Technical Recruitment and 5-Minute Outsourcing Assessment are great tools to get your research started. 

 

How You Can Tackle Houston’s Labor Shortage Head On

A recent article in Barron’s, “The Great Labor Crunch,” offers some pretty telling statistics about the talent crisis facing the U.S. right now, including:

“…with the economy in its ninth year of growth and another baby boomer retiring every nine seconds, the labor crunch is about to get much worse.”

“From 2017 to 2027, the nation faces a shortage of 8.2 million workers … the most substantial shortfall in at least 50 years.”

This labor shortage is even more severe in Texas. In the article, an operations manager from a Permian Basin oil company says, “It’s an emergency, a crisis actually. It’s causing major delays,” and goes on to add that he has never had such trouble finding and retaining good employees. His company now offers signing bonuses to workers that sign noncompete clauses to help improve retention.

The good news is that signing bonuses aren’t the only way to compete for talent during a labor shortage. Ian Martin has been helping companies source contract and full-time employees since 1957. Over that time, we’ve helped hundreds of companies thrive through labor shortages. Here are three of our surefire ways to rise above the competition when there is a war for talent going on in your city.

1. Stop posting job openings—start MARKETING them.

Want your company’s open positions to stand out from the competition on job boards? Think about the factors that matter most to potential employees and make these points the focus of your job ad. This blog post offers some easy tips on how to elevate your job ads.

2. Reach for the passive candidate goldmine.

It’s no longer good enough to post an opening on a job board and cross your fingers. According to LinkedIn research, 60 percent of the total candidate pool is passive. That means they aren’t looking for a new job but may be very open to offers.

Our Hiring Experts can help your company tap into this valuable pool of qualified talent. And check out this blog post for some creative suggestions for finding new ways to connect with passive candidates.

3. Treat your salaried AND contract employees in a way that makes them want to stay.

Keeping existing employees engaged reduces the chance of them leaving. Contract employees who feel like they aren’t treated as well as salaried peers may feel disengaged and opt for an opportunity with a different company.

Ian Martin’s Contractor Success Team increases retention and return rates of contract employees. Each contractor has access to a dedicated support team that is 100% focused on addressing any issues that arise related to their employment. Whether it’s a question about payroll, expense reimbursement, holiday time or income tax, Ian Martin contractors know that help is only a phone call, text, or email away.

Would you like more advice on how your company can come out on top in Houston’s job seeker’s market? As one of North America’s leading technical recruitment and project staffing firms, Ian Martin has an extensive network of over 500,000 talented candidates.

Get in touch with one of our Hiring Experts.

CIOs: How to Use Big Data to Recruit

Are IT hiring issues keeping you up at night? This is a common problem for CIOs. IT professionals are in high demand, and CIOs need to fight for top talent. Top talent is hard to come by, and six in 10 CIOs worry skills shortages will halt their companies from keeping up with change. Since it’s so hard to find top talent, CIOs need to do everything they can to solve their hiring problems.

While you may not be able to hire as many great candidates as you’d like, your open positions probably attract many applicants. Since today’s job seekers often apply online, instead of through paper resumes, you have a lot of data about your past applicants.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re using all that data. The data could just be stored in your applicant tracking system or workforce analytics system. Data doesn’t do you much good when it’s in storage, but since there’s so much of it, you may not know how to start analyzing it.

If you can get a handle on all the data you’ve collected, you can use it to recruit the IT talent you need. This can help you solve your longstanding talent problems and build strong IT teams. But where do you get started? Here’s how CIOs can use big data to recruit top talent.

Clean up Your Data

Over the years, you’ve collected a lot of data. You could have thousands of resumes in your system. Not all of this data will be useful to you, and it needs to be cleaned up before you can do any analysis. If you try to analyze bad data or poor-quality data, you could end up with incorrect insights, which won’t be helpful to your recruiting process.

Cleaning up data is a big job. Data scientists spend 60 percent of their time organizing and cleaning data. Since you and your team are so busy, you may want to hire a data scientist to help with this task. It makes sense to outsource jobs your team doesn’t have the time or the skills to handle.

For example, you could have duplicate records in your system. Applicants may apply for many different positions at companies they’re interested in, so their resumes could be on file many times. You could also have incomplete data sets in your system. For example, if applicants never provided their phone numbers or email addresses, or provided them in unusual formats, their files could be incomplete. Random errors, like glitches in your system, could also cause problems that need to be sorted about first.

Some of the data could also be too old to be of any value. You may not want to include decade-old resumes in your analysis. The field of information technology changes very quickly, and you might not get good insights from older data. Decide how far back you’d like to analyze your data, and exclude anything that’s too outdated to be useful.

Gather External Data

You have a lot of internal data about previous applicants and hires, but there’s plenty of data available externally, too. Candidates’ resumes aren’t the only source of valuable information. Job seekers may be active on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, and their public posts on these sites could be useful to you. Industry-specific forums, like Stack Overflow, can also be a good source of data. You can monitor these types of online forums and gather useful data to help with the recruiting process.

It’s harder to monitor external data than internal data. That’s because you have to head to the internet to find it, while internal data is already in your systems. Still, the hunt for data can be well worth the effort. It can help you learn more about candidates.

Use the Right Tools

To analyze the vast amounts of data you’ve collected, you need to have the right tools. Applicant tracking systems are designed to help companies search their data, so your existing tools may meet your needs. If you can use the tools you already have available, you’re off to a good start.

If your applicant tracking system isn’t letting you find the data you want to analyze, there are plenty of tools on the market designed to enable companies to use big data for recruiting.

For example, you could start using a tool like SwoopTalent. This tool lets you build a database across all your systems. If your data is spread among an applicant tracking system, a CRM, and paper resumes, this tool could help you see the bigger picture.

Other tools let you gather external data to use for recruiting. TalentBin is an example. This tool lets you gather candidate data from over 100 different websites, like social media platforms. You can find information about candidates’ personal and professional interests with this much data. The tool aggregates and scores each candidate’s information.

Determine Your Goals

To use big data in recruiting, you need to determine what your goals are. When you know what you want to learn from the data, you can quickly find it and put the data to use.

For example, you may decide you want to learn where your best applicants are coming from. You could analyze the data to see what percentage of applicants are coming from job boards, social media sites, referrals, or other sources. Once you know how your best applicants are finding you, you can invest more energy in those sources. If one source isn’t sending you many good candidates, you may decide to stop using it.

You could decide you want to see what universities your best applicants attended. When you know where your top applicants studied, you can put more effort into recruiting from those universities. You could hold a job fair at the university to hire top candidates before another company finds them. You could also search LinkedIn for candidates who attended the university in question.

You may decide to see what geographic areas your best candidates are coming from. With this data, you could see that many of your top candidates are coming from a certain city. You could travel to that city to hold a job fair. You could also attend conferences there to network with potential candidates.

Another option could be to find out what job titles your top candidates identify with. You could search sites like LinkedIn to see what titles candidates are using to market themselves. If you find a pattern, you could start using those titles in your job postings. This could help you attract top talent. For example, you could learn the Java developers you want to hire tend to call themselves Java Wizards on their LinkedIn profiles. Posting an ad for a Java Wizard could help grab their attention and get them to apply.

With big data on your side, you’re sure to improve your recruiting process.

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Why Some Industries Rely So Heavily on Contract Staff

In some industries, like tech or engineering, businesses rely heavily on contract staff. Contractors are brought on quickly and then let go when the business’s needs change.

For human resource professionals, this type of hiring brings new challenges. In other industries, HR managers need to find the right employees for the job. In industries that rely on contract staff, they need to find the right employees, in the right places, at the right times. This is a much more complicated scenario.

If you’re new to an industry that relies on contractors, you may be wondering why companies don’t just hire full-time employees. Here’s why some industries have to rely so heavily on contract staff.

To Keep up with Changing Demand

Some industries, like tech, are heavily project-based. Companies in these industries work on multiple projects and have unpredictable needs. If a project is approved, the company will need to find more workers right away. If a project isn’t approved, it won’t need to find more workers. This makes maintaining a permanent workforce very challenging. Companies that rely on permanent staffing will have too many workers at some times of the year and not enough at others times.

Hiring contract staff makes more sense for companies in project-based industries. It allows them to keep up with changing demand. When a project is approved, companies can quickly bring on contractors with the help of a staffing agency. When the project ends, the contractors can be quickly and easily let go. This labour flexibility makes it possible to compete in a project-based industry.

To Get Specialized Skills

When companies have specific projects to complete, they need workers with specialized skills. While their permanent employees may be very talented, nobody can be an expert in everything. They may not have any permanent employees with the right skill sets. Or, they may not have time to train their permanent employees before the project starts. Waiting too long to get started can jeopardize the project.

To move on with their projects, they need to hire highly skilled contractors. These contractors have the right skills to complete the projects, and complete them both on time and on budget. Once those projects are completed, the company won’t need the contractors anymore and can easily let them go.

To Complete Projects on Time

When companies land huge projects, they need to finish them on time. Finishing behind schedule can damage a company’s reputation in the industry. These companies may have trouble getting future projects. For these reasons, projects need to be finished on schedule.

Contract staff can help companies complete their projects on time. By getting contractors to help during the time crunch, the project will be completed more quickly. The extra help also takes strain off existing employees. Without help from contractors, employees may need to work excessive overtime to get everything done. Excessive overtime tires out employees and can lead to mistakes.

To Attract Talent

Shifting preferences in the workforce have made contract work more attractive. These days, many younger workers are looking for flexibility and autonomy. Performing the same job for a couple of years can get boring. One- to six-month projects, on the other hand, are more exciting. Workers get the opportunity to accomplish significant ventures, and then they can move on to their next challenges.

By offering contract positions, rather than permanent positions, companies can attract talent. They can appeal to highly qualified professionals who may not be interested in long-term employment commitments. To find these professionals at the right times, human resource managers can get help from a contract staffing agency.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Making a Hiring Decision

You don’t have to be indecisive to have doubts about your hiring practices. Managers often have to balance short-term needs against long-term growth, so a position that might be essential to a company’s daily operations today may be obsolete in a few years. A prospective hire may also look great on paper, but then not live up to expectations once he or she actually gets the job. Either way, the wrong employee can cost your company valuable resources and make other workers less efficient.

So what can you do to ensure you recruit the best possible candidate? An ideal process requires diligent planning, but if you just want to make a few tweaks, follow these do’s and don’ts to give you the confidence you need to make the right hiring decision for your company.

DO: Be Personable

Candidates’ perception of an interviewer can play a major role in their behaviour during a meeting. If their potential boss seems cold or distant, they may feel uneasy, and this can affect their performance. While you don’t want to change yourself too drastically, and while candidates should be able to perform under pressure, there are things you can do to make your prospect feel calmer.

Interviewers commonly ask candidates to talk about themselves at the beginning of an appointment. This tactic may sound cliché, but it does give the applicant a chance to warm up and break out of their pre-rehearsed scripts. You should maintain open, friendly body language and ask follow-up questions throughout the interview.

While a candidate’s comfort is important, your needs should take priority. Don’t be afraid to push them for more information if they say something that is unclear or suspicious. An ideal interviewer makes a prospect feel welcome, but he or she still gets the necessary information to make an informed hiring decision.

DON’T: Ask Personal Questions

As the previous point shows, asking candidates to describe themselves or their personality isn’t totally off limits; however, you want to avoid probing too deeply with personal follow-up questions. Labour laws prohibit employers from discriminating against candidates based on their gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, and more. If you ask a prospect about these topics, you could face accusations of biased treatment. While these regulations vary depending on your jurisdiction, it’s better to just avoid these questions altogether when you make a hiring decision.

DO: Include a Task-Based Component in the Hiring Process

If you hire a candidate, he or she will have to complete tasks to your standard on a regular basis. You’ll need to train candidates before they can reach their full potential, but a duty-oriented assignment can help you determine whether they have the basic skillset necessary to function in the desired role. This may not work for every position, but you can get your prospects to complete the assignment on site after the interview or send them home with it.

Just make sure you establish a deadline and clear instructions before they get to work. If you’re worried about how they’ll integrate with your staff, you could even get them to help out with a task around the office to gauge their compatibility.

DON’T: Overemphasize Experience

Previous experience seems like it would be an indicator of success. After all, if a professional thrived in a similar job, why wouldn’t he or she be able to flourish again? Unfortunately, making a hiring decision is rarely as simple as comparing resumes. Context is key in these situations. An engineer may have been the all-star at their last company, but if the employee is a lone wolf and your job requires teamwork, his or her past experience won’t make a difference. Instead of pursuing a candidate who’s experienced in one area, look for an adaptable candidate who learns quickly, who can work independently and as part of a team,and who knows how to take instruction and constructive criticism.

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Partner with a Recruitment Agency to Fill Mechanical Engineering Jobs

You may be in for a long search if you need to hire a mechanical engineer. The field is broad, but hiring managers usually want a professional with a specific set of qualifications and skills. An experienced worker could not be the right fit for your project, even if they specialize in a relatively similar area.

These problems often add complications to hiring managers’ lives. They already need to prevent time and cost overruns, but they usually feel additional pressure to find the right employee. If a new worker doesn’t fit in well or offer optimal output, the hiring manager may take some of the blame.

Thankfully, there are ways to ensure your reputation remains untarnished. You should seriously consider working with a recruitment agency if you need to fill mechanical engineering jobs. These firms can help source, interview, and hire professionals who will work wonders for your organization. Read on to find out how.

They Understand Mechanical Engineers’ Unique Qualifications

Hiring managers aren’t responsible for recruiting just one type of worker—their reach is broad in scale and variant in scope. You often need to hire a range of professionals according to your company’s needs. As a result, you probably don’t have time to learn the ins-and-outs of a given position. Sure, you may understand a position’s requirements in broad strokes, but the minutiae of each engineering specialty may elude you.

If you’re filling mechanical engineering jobs, you need a hiring solution that looks at the gritty details of the job in order to get the best fit. Recruitment agencies know which traits make for good engineers. They can source prospects who will meet your needs and convince them to work for you. Why spend your precious time struggling to comprehend a position that’s outside of your skillset when you can put your trust in an expert?

Recruiters Know How to Make Your Company Look Appealing

Never take your company’s assets for granted. You may recognize your organization’s strengths, but others may need further convincing. Every job interview is like a two-way sales pitch. Interviewees try to sell employers on their skills, while employers attempt to persuade interviewees to trust in their company’s reputation.

You need to convey your organization’s positive traits to candidates if you want to find and retain the best talent. Recruitment professionals know what mechanical engineers seek in a position and in a company, and they can identify those characteristics in your company and bring them to the forefront. They’ll put your company’s best colours on display, which will help attract extremely qualified workers who are already engaged with your company’s values and goals.

They Can Access Candidates That You Can’t

It can be difficult to network in specific areas when you have to hire for an entire company. You can probably keep a few professionals in mind for later openings, but it would take enormous effort to do so for every position at your organization. As a result, your reach may be limited when you do go to hire. You may only be able to access people who are looking for work when you post a job. Unfortunately, the best workers usually already have jobs, so they may not know you’re hiring.

Recruiters can solve every aspect of this problem. They maintain candidate pools that contain professionals from a range of industries. This ensures that they’ll always have a qualified worker available. The right firm can also reach engineers who are already employed, so you’ll be able to hook a better employee if you make the right offer. You stand to gain so much from working with a recruitment firm, especially when you need to fill mechanical engineering jobs.

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5 Important Factors to Consider When Making a Hiring Decision

Are you responsible for hiring engineers? This is a hard job. Engineers are in high demand, and recruiting top talent can be a challenge. Once you receive applications, you need to decide who to hire. As you know, you need to hire the best-possible engineers to take your team to the next level.

To make better hiring decisions, here are five important factors to consider when making a hiring decision.

1. Experience

Experience is an important factor to consider when you’re hiring engineers. If candidates have shown success in similar jobs, they’ll probably be able to replicate that success at your company. They have a proven track record of success.

When you have to choose between a candidate with experience and one without, it often makes sense to choose the former. This is especially true if you don’t have the budget or time to train new employees.

Of course, experience isn’t everything. It’s not enough to just hire the person who’s most experienced on paper. Make sure to consider experience, but don’t prioritize it over everything else.

2. Potential

When you’re interviewing candidates, you may encounter some people who seem promising, but don’t have much of a track record. They may be recent university graduates or people with only a few years of on-the-job experience.

Sometimes, you’ll decide to take a chance on a newer engineer. For example, you may interview engineers who graduated at the top of their class from an accredited university. While those candidates haven’t proven themselves at work yet, they have obvious potential. On your team, these candidates could grow into top performers.

3. Hard Skills

Hard skills are measurable, easy-to-define skills that applicants have learned at school or in past jobs. When you’re hiring engineers, you can’t ignore hard skills. If candidates don’t have the right skills, it won’t be possible for them to do the job without training.

For example, if you were hiring a civil engineer, you’d need someone with experience in AutoCAD, Civil 3D, and Microstation. Candidates without those hard skills wouldn’t be able to do the work successfully.

4. Soft Skills

While hard skills are essential, you can’t afford to forget about soft skills. Soft skills are harder to measure, and they’re often thought of as personality traits. For example, communication skills, work ethic, and being a team player are soft skills.

Candidates could have impressive hard skills, but if they don’t have the right soft skills, they won’t succeed on your team.

5. Cultural Fit

Company culture refers to a company’s personality. Every company has its own culture. For example, some companies have a culture of working late to make sure everything gets done. Other companies have a culture of leaving at 5 p.m. on the dot. Some companies have a culture of teamwork and socializing with coworkers. At other companies, employees work individually most of the time.

Whatever your culture is, you have to think about how candidates will fit in. When employees are a good cultural fit, they’ll be happier at work, which helps reduce turnover. Be sure to ask questions about cultural fit during interviews.

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CIOs: What IT Talent Scarcity Means for Your Business

Skills shortages are very common in IT, and they’re only getting worse. Nearly six in ten CIOs now think skills shortages will prevent their companies from keeping up with the competition. CIOs struggle to find the top talent they need. Here’s what IT talent scarcity means for your business.

Hiring Has to Come Before IT Strategy

IT talent scarcity changes the way you can think about your IT strategy. In the past, when talent was easier to find, you could plan your IT strategy first. Once your strategy was in place, you could start looking for talented IT professionals to help you fulfill your strategy. You didn’t need to worry about not being able to find the right people.

Now, talent is so scarce you need to think about hiring first. If you think about IT strategy first, you could discover you can’t find people with the right skills and can’t move ahead with your plans. Some skills, like big data analytics or change management, are hard to find. Once you’ve secured people with those hard-to-find skills, you can set your IT strategy.

Company Culture Is More Important than Ever

IT talent is scarce, and that means IT professionals have tons of options. They can afford to think about things like company culture. Your company’s culture is your company’s personality. It includes the work environment, company mission, and vision. When your culture is well-known, candidates who like what they see will be drawn to your company.

For example, you could become known for flexibility and good work-life balance. Some of the best tech companies to work for are known for this type of culture. Employees who want to work from home, work flexible hours, or have more time with their families will be drawn to you.

Hiring Practices Need to Change

Talent scarcity changes the ways CIOs can hire. When there are plenty of people looking for work, hiring can be as easy as posting ads on job boards. You can be sure talented candidates will be browsing the boards, and they may apply for your positions. That doesn’t work quite as well when talent is scarce. All the great workers are already employed elsewhere, and they’re not looking at job boards. That’s why you get swamped with unqualified applicants when you post an ad online.

To hire successfully, think long term. Work your network and collect employee referrals all the time, even if you’re not hiring yet. When a position opens up, you’ll have several candidates to reach out to. While many may already be employed, they may be willing to talk to you about a job on your team.

Another strategy is to get help from a technical recruiting company. These companies specialize in finding IT professionals. Even better, they can find them quickly, so you can get started on your projects right away.

Retention Needs to Be a Priority

When you’re having trouble recruiting information technology professionals due to IT talent scarcity, your competitors are likely dealing with the same issue. They may try to get your top employees to leave and work for them. This is common for some in-demand areas of tech. For example, software developers who are just out of college can get up to 20 recruiting calls a day. Highly experienced professionals could get even more calls.

To hang on to your existing employees, remember to invest in them. One of the reasons employees leave is to learn new skills or get promoted to higher positions. With an effective training program, your employees can learn the new skills they want without leaving the company. Whenever possible, try to promote from within your company. When employees see they can advance in their careers without jumping ship, they’ll be less tempted to talk to your competitors.

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What You Need to Know about Current Engineering Demographics

If you’re responsible for hiring engineers, you need to keep up with demographics in the industry. When you’re aware of the demographics, you can recruit the engineers you need more easily. Here’s what you need to know about some of the current engineering demographics in Canada.

Engineers Are Retiring en Masse

As you may have heard, Canada’s population is greying. There are now more seniors than children in the country, and that’s a problem for hiring managers in many sectors. As the population gets older, the average age of people in the engineering field increases. As time goes on, more and more engineers will retire. You’ll need to scramble to replace your highly talented engineers as they retire.

In Canada, engineers are typically between 30 and 55 years old, though this varies based on the field and the province. Civil engineers, for example, have a higher average age in Canada. In British Columbia, these engineers are an average of 50 years old, while in Manitoba, they’re an average of 48 years old. In Ontario, civil engineers are a comparatively youthful 42 years old.

Engineering managers are essential for your operations, but they have a high average age, too. In Ontario, engineering managers are an average of 49 years old, while they’re 48 years old in British Columbia. The youngest engineering managers are found in Newfoundland and Labrador, but they’re still 45 years old. The average age of engineering managers is expected to increase in all provinces over the next ten years. By 2025, they’ll be an average of 49 to 50 years old, depending on the province.

Demand for Engineers Will Outstrip Supply

Many engineers will be retiring in the coming years, but there aren’t enough younger engineers to replace them. In the next decade, Canada will be short 100,000 engineers. Canadian universities are trying to keep up. In 2015, there were 81,287 engineering students enrolled in undergraduate programs. That’s an increase of 32 percent from 2010.

Still, there won’t be enough engineers to go around. Companies will need to work even harder to recruit top engineers. To attract top talent, you may need to promise higher salaries or more diversified benefits. Or, you may need to offer a culture of career advancement to entice new engineers to choose your company over your competitors.

Some Skills Will Be Hard to Find

By the time the members of your engineering team retire, they’ll have accumulated many skills. These skills were learned through years of on-the-job experience. When these professionals retire, you may have trouble finding engineers with those same skillsets. While young engineers are qualified to start work after receiving their university degrees, it’s impossible for them to have all the experience retirees have. Of course, they’ll gain the experience and skills over the course of their careers, but that doesn’t help hiring managers now.

To find the specialized skills you need, you may have to widen your search for engineering candidates. This could include turning to candidates from other provinces or even other countries. If you’re used to recruiting locally, having to widen your search can be a big change. The methods you currently use to find engineers, like asking for referrals or going to local networking events, may not work as well.

To gain access to a wider network of candidates, consider turning to an engineering recruiting agency. Recruiters work tirelessly to find talented engineers, and they can find professionals you can’t. For example, they could have a network of engineers from across Canada, while you’re more limited to your local area. With this larger network, it’s easier for recruiters to locate engineers with hard-to-find skills.

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What Happens When Talent Needs Change from Quarter to Quarter?

Do your talent needs change from quarter to quarter? That’s a common problem in some industries. In industries that are project-based, it’s hard to predict how many workers you’ll need next week, let alone next month. If a project gets approved, you’ll need to hire talented contract workers almost immediately.

In companies with rapidly changing staffing needs, the human resources department needs to play a highly strategic role. It’s not enough to just find the right workers in this hyper-competitive employment market. You need to find the right workers at the right time.

A company’s project timeline won’t always match with the timelines of the contract workers it wants to hire. So, how can chief HR officers get the top talent they need on impossibly tight timelines? The secret is to work with a contract staffing agency. Here’s how an agency can help you meet your talent needs.

Find Specialized Workers

Short-term projects require contract workers with specialized skills. Specialized work needs to be completed on a short timeframe, making it the best time to hire contract workers. This means there’s no time to train a generalist to complete the tasks. You need to find a contract worker who already has the high-level technical or engineering skills you need.

These specialized workers can be difficult to find on your own. First of all, they probably already have jobs. Highly talented contract workers don’t stay on the market for long, and they may be helping your competitors with projects. It’s hard to reach out to these workers on your own. While these passive candidates might be willing to join a new company, they may not want to talk to a human resource manager.

This is where contract staffing agencies come in. Their recruiters have large networks of the highly trained workers you need to hire. Since they already have these connections, it’s easier for them to reach out. If talented workers are interested in joining your projects, the recruiters can refer them to you.

Fill Contract Positions Quickly

It takes time to fill contract positions on your own. Your human resource employees need to post ads for the specialized positions the project team needs. Then, they need to wait for applicants to find the ads, and send in their applications. Sorting through hundreds—or thousands—of applications takes even more time. Then, HR needs to set up interviews, conduct those interviews, and make offers. By the time they find the perfect contractors to join the project, the project could already be wrapping up! There’s just not enough time to hire traditionally when talent needs change so quickly.

Contract staffing agencies can provide the contract workers you need before your project starts. How are they so much faster than your HR team? Agencies already have large networks of contractors they can call on. These contractors are pre-vetted, so the process is much faster. You’ll still need to conduct interviews and choose the contractors you want to hire, but the time-consuming aspects of hiring are already done for you.

Help with Onboarding

When you’re hiring contract workers for a short-term project that’s starting immediately, there isn’t time for much onboarding. Full-time employees will work on many projects over their years of employment, so onboarding and training are a good investment. With contract workers, not so much. By the time someone is onboarded, the project could be over.

Contract staffing agencies can help you onboard your contractors. That way, they’ll be ready to start work on day one of the project. They won’t need any time to get up to speed, since they’ll already be prepared.

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The Ultimate Guide to the Global Automotive Infotainment Industry

Electronics engineers are some of the most in-demand engineers in Canada. That makes it challenging to find engineers for your company’s automotive infotainment projects. Companies need to compete to get the best engineers for their infotainment teams.

The more you know about the automotive infotainment industry, the easier it will be for you to recruit the talented engineers you need. Here’s your ultimate guide to the global automotive infotainment industry.

Major Segments of the Industry

There are many types of products that electronics engineers work on. To hire engineers, you need to be familiar with some of these products. Engineers will want to know details about what projects your company is working on. While you may not be able to divulge too much about projects in development, you’ll have a hard time hiring without sharing general details.

Navigation and connectivity are growing segments of the industry. Navigation refers to the GPS features of infotainment systems, and engineers are always trying to improve navigational capabilities. Connectivity means connecting the infotainment system to other devices, like mobile phones. Connectivity works both ways. Mobile phones can power apps through the infotainment system, and the infotainment system can project a Wi-Fi network for the phones.

Another major segment of the industry is the display segment. Every company wants to make its infotainment system look better and be more user-friendly.

Global Growth of Automotive Infotainment

When you’re hiring engineers, it’s helpful to be aware of the global market. This helps you talk knowledgeably to engineers during interviews. By 2021, the global automotive infotainment market is projected to be worth an estimated $56.7 billion. That represents a compound annual growth rate of 8.4 percent from 2016 to 2021.

Why is the market growing so fast? Consumers are more aware of connected car offerings, and governments are more concerned about driver security. An increase in vehicle production in the Asia-Pacific region is another factor affecting growth.

Requirements for Infotainment Engineers

Now that you know more about the global automotive infotainment industry, you’re one step closer to hiring engineers. You also need to know the skills engineers need to be successful in this industry, however. If you’re not an engineer yourself, you may not know what you’re supposed to be looking for or what you should write in the job description.

Like other engineering workers you’ve procured, infotainment engineers will need a post-secondary degree. This degree should be in software engineering, computer science, or a related field.

Candidates should also have knowledge of UI framework and Android UI framework. They should have experience working with ActionScript, Qt, or HTML5. They should also have experience in some of the infotainment industry’s market segments. This includes navigation, speech recognition, hands-free processing, internet apps, or cybersecurity.

Soft skills are also essential for infotainment engineers. They need excellent communication skills to work with the rest of the team and with external suppliers. They need above-average problem-solving skills to identify issues with the infotainment systems and to come up with solutions. They also need to have a strong work ethic so the infotainment projects can be completed on schedule.

Where to Find Infotainment Engineers

Since infotainment engineers are in high demand, they can be difficult to find, and you need an essential guide to hiring engineers. The best engineers are probably already working for other companies and may not be checking online job boards. Eighty-five percent of employed workers are open to new job opportunities, so don’t be afraid to go looking for these candidates.

Networking is one place to start. For example, you could meet candidates through events hosted by one of Canada’s engineering associations. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers holds three conferences a year, and you could meet talented engineers at these conferences.

You can also ask your company’s current infotainment employees to refer candidates. They may know talented people in the industry who are open to a new job. Offer a reward, like a cash bonus, to encourage good referrals.

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Hire Skilled Developers with the Help of IT Recruiting Companies

Sometimes, it can feel like all the great developers are hiding. When you post a job ad, you get swamped with resumes from unqualified applicants. If you receive a promising application, the candidate may perform poorly in the interview. It can feel impossible to hire the talented developers you need for your team. You need an essential guide to hiring engineers.

Surely, there must be an easier way, you say. Fortunately, there is! The secret is to get help from IT recruiting companies. Here’s how IT recruiting companies can help you solve your talent woes.

They Understand What You Need

General staffing agencies may not understand what developers do or where to look for developers. IT recruiting companies specialize in filling these types of technical roles. They have a firm understanding of the intricacies of recruiting for developer roles. They already know what experience and education candidates should have, and they understand all the technical jargon developers use.

Since these companies have a firm understanding of what developers do, they can help you narrow down what you’re looking for. It can be difficult to articulate what you’re looking for in your new employees. IT recruiting companies know which questions to ask to determine exactly what candidates you’re looking for.

For example, you may have a hard time describing the types of candidates who’d fit in well with your company’s culture. Cultural fit is just as important as technical skills, if not more so. Is your ideal candidate a team player or an independent worker? Is your ideal candidate poised to be an IT leader someday? Are you looking for an innovative thinker to match the rest of your team? By asking these types of questions, recruiting companies can help you understand who you need to hire.

They Can Find Candidates You Can’t

Good developers are difficult for you to find on your own, as you’ve discovered. Since developers are in high demand, the good ones are probably already employed somewhere else. Employed developers may not be browsing job boards, so they won’t see your ads.

While your ideal candidates may not be actively looking for new jobs, they can be lured away from their current employers. Only 15 percent of employed professionals are completely satisfied with their jobs and unwilling to move on; the rest are open to new work. Recruiters are experts at locating these passive candidates and talking to them about possible opportunities. Recruiters know how to make your open positions seem interesting, so they can get candidates to talk. They also know what you need to offer in order to appeal to these talented developers.

It’s hard for you to do this on your own. Even if you can find talented workers at your competitors’ companies, they may not want to talk to you. However, they can trust recruiters to be discreet and not jeopardize their current jobs.

They Have Expert Interviewing Skills

Interviewing is just a tiny part of your job. As an IT director, you have many more important tasks to worry about on a day-to-day basis. You don’t have time to refine your interviewing skills.

Recruiters are experts in interviewing. They do it every day, so they know how to assess candidates. They have the expertise to ask questions you wouldn’t have thought of. They can ask questions to determine candidates’ cultural fit and soft skills. This ensures the candidates will be a good fit for your team.

Let’s say you want to hire a developer with excellent problem-solving skills. Applicants may say they solve problems well on their resumes, but that might not be true. Recruiters know what questions to ask to find out if candidates actually have these skills. For example, they could ask candidates to describe problems they’ve solved without help. They could ask candidates to describe situations where they couldn’t solve certain problems and needed the manager’s help. They could even have candidates solve a problem during the interview.

When you need to hire skilled developers, seek expert help from a technical recruitment company.

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Overwhelmed by Recruiting Engineers? Follow These 5 Tips

Do you wish you had a guide to hiring engineers? In this competitive market, recruiting engineers can be challenging. The best engineers are fielding offers from multiple companies, and companies need to compete to hire top talent.

How can you attract talented engineers to your team while taking the stress out of the recruitment process? Here are five tips for recruiting engineers.

1. Encourage Employee Referrals

If you don’t already have one, start an employee referral program. Your current employees probably know other people in the engineering field. They can refer talented candidates to your company. Employee referrals give you access to better candidates. This is because your employees are familiar with the company and know what types of people would succeed on the team.

To encourage your employees to refer candidates, offer incentives. Incentives don’t have to be financial, though they can be. Publicly recognizing employee referrals or offering positive feedback can also motivate employees to make good referrals.

2. Advertise Your Company Culture

Engineers are in high demand in the labour market, so they can afford to be picky. They consider factors other than salary and benefits, like company culture. Company culture refers to the environment in the workplace, which includes the company’s values and practices.

To attract engineers to your company, advertise its culture. When you write job postings, include a few specific points about the culture you’ve created in your workplace. Your current employees can also help. Employees will tell people they know about the culture, and their comments may attract candidates who find the culture appealing.

3. Write Clear Job Postings

To attract top talent, companies need to write clear job postings. If your job postings don’t clearly communicate what the job is and what the expectations are, you’ll have trouble attracting good candidates. Poor candidates may misunderstand the posting and send an application. Good candidates may not want to waste time applying for a job they may not be interested in.

Postings should list all the essential functions the engineer will need to perform. Clearly list skills candidates should have, and specify whether each skill is mandatory or just preferred. Give details about the company culture. Don’t forget to mention whether the job is part time or full time, and whether or not the position is permanent.

4. Have a Long-Term Recruiting Strategy

Do you only think about hiring when you have an immediate need for new engineers? This approach can make it harder to find the top talent you need. Your hiring timelines won’t always match up with the timelines of top candidates. In engineering fields, candidates may want to finish up their current projects before they move to a new job. They can’t always give two weeks’ notice and move on, like candidates in other fields can.

Instead, try to play the long game. If you’re always on the hunt for new talent, you can build a network of candidates you’d like to hire. Those people may not be immediately available, but if you stay in contact, they may be available when you have a hiring need.

5. Work with a Recruiter

Recruiting engineers can be challenging, and you might decide you don’t have time to do it yourself. Or, you might just not want to deal with the hassle of recruitment. In these situations, consider partnering with a recruiter to get the engineering staff you need. Using a recruiter can save you both time and stress.

Recruiters who specialize in engineering fields can make hiring easy. They network constantly to find good engineers, so you don’t have to. They also maintain databases of engineering workers, so they can quickly find talented people to join your team.

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What’s the Best Way to Hire Technical Staff?

Hiring can be difficult in any industry, but it’s even harder in technical fields. Professionals with technical skills are in high demand, and they have a lot of job options. After spending hours writing job postings, going through resumes, and conducting interviews that go nowhere, you may be wondering if there’s a better way. This essential guide to hiring engineers is a good start, but what’s the best way to hire technical staff for your team?

Many companies turn to technical recruiting agencies when they need to hire technical staff. Here are some reasons why this is the most efficient and cost-effective way to get the technical staff you need.

Access to Passive Candidates

Since people with technical skills are in such high demand, a lot of them are already employed. They may not be actively looking for new work. However, if the right job opportunity comes along, they may be interested in leaving their current employers. These candidates are known as passive candidates. If you post ads on job boards, these professionals will never see them, since they’re not looking.

It’s hard for you to recruit passive candidates on your own. But when you work with a technical recruiting agency, you don’t need to go looking for them. The company’s recruiters will work their extensive networks to find top-quality technical workers who are open to new opportunities.

Help Narrowing down Your Search

To find the right technical staff for your team, you need to know exactly what you’re looking for. If you don’t have clear expectations of applicants, your job descriptions will be poor. Vague, generic postings aren’t clear enough to attract the right candidates. These postings confuse good candidates and keep them from applying.

One of the advantages of working with a recruiter is having the help required to narrow down what you’re looking for. Recruiters ask the right questions to help you determine exactly what you want from a new employee. This goes beyond just technical skills—they can also help you determine what soft skills a candidate needs to have to succeed as well as what personality is required to fit into your culture. With this information, it’s easier for you to find the perfect candidates.

Hire Technical Staff Faster

As a manager or director, hiring technical staff for your team is only a small part of your job. You still need to handle all your other responsibilities, like planning projects and managing your existing team. Hiring is something that you need to squeeze in to your schedule.

Since hiring isn’t your main priority, it can take a long time. You may put off tasks like reading resumes or conducting interviews because you’re too busy. Before you know it, your open positions have been vacant for a long time.

This doesn’t happen when you work with a technical recruiting agency. You can focus on your regular job, and the recruiters will look for technical staff for your team. The recruiters will pre-qualify candidates. All you need to do is choose which of the qualified candidates you want to hire.

Hire with Confidence

Sometimes, technical workers perform well in the interview, but don’t do as well in the job. They may have oversold their skills during the interview, or they may just not get along with your existing team. After spending a lot of time finding someone you thought was perfect, you may not have time to start over. This is how companies get stuck with bad hires.

When you work with a technical recruiting agency, you won’t get stuck with any bad hires. In the unlikely event that your new hire doesn’t work out, you can ask the agency to find you someone else. This eliminates your risk of getting stuck with a technical employee who isn’t a good asset for your team.

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