One of the risks of an actively growing IT company is that as its staff expands, recruitment can turn from an individualized approach to a conveyor belt. This negatively affects not only the quality of the selection of employees for projects, but also the loyalty of the candidates themselves to the employer. Polina Kondakova, head of the recruitment department at iFellow, tells us why this happens and how to avoid it.
The increase of IT companies' staff is an obvious trend connected both with the pace of customers' digitalization and their movement towards import substitution. The number of large and complex IT projects in such conditions cannot but grow, and their realization requires people.
At the same time, the responsibility of recruitment specialists increases: they need to cover more and more different vacancies, not forgetting that IT recruiting is not the same as mass recruitment of office workers in a bank or salespeople in a store. Here, almost every candidate needs to be evaluated in a special way and accompanied all the way from responding to a vacancy to signing an employment contract and even further. Such support services are a natural internal service of the recruitment department.
How to maintain the quality of this service when the company is expanding, its structure is becoming more and more branched, and the number of open vacancies in different regions is counted in dozens? I will tell you, based on our company's experience.
Do you remember how it all started?
When an IT company is still small, the issues of personnel recruitment, assessment of the applicants' CVs' compliance with the customers' requirements are solved in a close circle of top management. A single employee may deal with the search for employees, their interviewing, registration, departure and further support. This is how it started with us: one specialist was responsible for the entire HR, and in case of a large project, an outsourcing company was engaged to help him select a team.
It was really individual, point recruitment. At that time the company did not have so many customers and applications, but there was a personal interest of all decision makers. People came mostly on recommendation, and when it was necessary to convince a valuable candidate to accept an offer, managers were involved, and everyone stood up for each person. Due to the fact that there was good feedback from the customers, and there were no intermediate links in communication with them (for example, in the form of project administrators), everyone was fully immersed in the current projects, and applications were closed promptly.
Today we are gaining momentum very quickly, increasing the volume of orders and staff. In particular, some IT specialists, who worked with us on previous projects, return if suitable vacancies arise for them.
Accordingly, the HR division has also expanded. Experienced specialists have been recruited for each role: separate people are in charge of employee selection, full documentation and support. Recruiters in the required number are located in all territorial branches of the company. Their task is to search for candidates and communicate with them, coordinate interviews, check soft skills and partially hard skills. We do not economize on HR, we do not put recruitment on the stream, no matter what. And this always gets a positive response.
Division of labor
In the process of the company's active expansion, the recruitment department also underwent modernization. It was necessary to come up with a fundamentally new model for the functioning of this department, corresponding to all the needs of a growing business, taking into account the advantages and disadvantages of the previous model. Distributed teams of recruiters were formed in different regions - in the Central region of Russia, in Siberia, in the Urals, etc. - in order to ensure that the recruitment department could respond promptly regardless of the time zone. This is very important in conditions where top specialists are being hunted.
But the most important innovation: competence centers have been created within the department. Of course, the benefit of a universal recruiter in an IT company is that you can always move him from one area to a neighboring one. But another thing was more important for us. We wanted to provide customers and candidates with more in-depth expertise of recruiters in one or another direction: be it analytics, development, software maintenance or testing.
When creating the competence centers, we took into account the wishes of employees and assessed their abilities. Thanks to this division, each recruiter can focus on developing skills in the area for which he is responsible. He communicates a lot with project teams and, as a result, is better oriented in the technical parameters of this or that vacancy, which directly positively affects the quality of selection and the possibility of his dialog with the candidate.
At the same time, provided that the plan is fulfilled, each employee of the recruitment department can diversify their work and help their colleagues from other competence centers. In this way, we do not stray far from universality.
A common language with everyone
When you talk to a senor about employment, you cannot fail to become at least partially a senor. You have to find a common language with specialists at every level - Junior, Middle, Senior. The difference between them lies primarily in motivation. Interestingly, because of their little experience, beginners are most often confident in their abilities: I can do anything, I can Google anything. Representatives of senior grades, according to our practice, are more cautious and selective, as they know their real opportunities and barriers well. They may not even demonstrate anxiety explicitly, but show it in some indirect ways.
The same is true in technical areas. Testing specialists and project managers tend to be more conscious about employment and maintain a dialog. Developers are sometimes more difficult to deal with: they are more likely to have some curious stories like "Call me later, I'm having lunch now" or "It's early, 3:00 pm, I just woke up".
Everyone needs a special approach. For example, we had a Senior level candidate who knew his price, had a great resume and a lot of offers from different companies, but didn't fully know how to listen to the customer. We suggested that he calm down and make an informed decision. Our recruiters know how to present the candidate to the customer and advise the future employee on all issues: how best to answer the customer's questions, what to highlight in the resume, and what not to talk about.
The company has well-established processes for onboarding, onboarding new employees:
mentoring and follow-up;
opportunity for professional and career growth;
opportunity to consult and share ideas with top management.
Project administrators lead people in distributed teams at our customers, and the HR department is always focused on providing comprehensive support to the employee.
In addition, we pay special attention to the formation of teams of the recruitment department: people who are engaged in this work should "care" about their business and have not only communication and technical, but also business competencies and corporate experience. In this case, they develop a higher level of motivation and responsibility.
The recruitment department provides candidates and employees with a very important internal service - support at all stages of their relationship with the company. When a person goes to work, we have to continue contact with them and make efforts to minimize their difficulties.
Recruitment is a very operational function. It is important for a specialist in this position to learn how to prioritize the recruitment process correctly, so that, let's say, you can type up your CVs and work through them immediately, rather than putting them off until "after lunch", when the candidate may have already left for a competitor.
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