HR: Let's talk about IT!

Viorela Marcu

Context:

In the last years, Romania has become the outsourcing dream scene of the IT industry. More and more companies are choosing our country when they think about extending their businesses, especially because we can offer great skills at a great price – there is a good cost-benefit balance.

Of course, as the IT sector is expanding, HR, as a support function, is evolving around it too: at any given time, there are at least 10 IT Recruitment job opportunities and experience working with technical people becomes a standard requirement.

In this context we’re starting to see the war of talent at its best. HR professionals’ daily challenge is to find innovative ways to find and convince the best IT talents to come and have a chat with them.

And if that’s not enough, there is also a silent war between HR and IT, each thinking the other has no clue about what’s really going on the other side. And maybe sometimes that’s right, but we still have to try and cross that bridge, leaving behind angry online letters from Developers to Recruiters, and upsetting statements of the later about the attitude some of the IT guys have.

Having that said, we reach the bigger questions: Is HR aware about the things IT professionals find truly important? Or are we just guessing and constantly finding the wrong answers? How can HR and IT become friends?

What we did:

We were asking ourselves these questions and we thought: what better way to find an answer is there, than putting HR and IT professionals in the same room, and making them share their perspectives? We couldn’t find a downside to that, so the HR: Let’s talk about IT event took place on a Tuesday evening.

We had two speakers from each side, and a room full of HR and IT professionals and we talked about what motivates them, what makes them change or choose a company, what the things they appreciate when having a job interview are, and so on.

What makes them stay (or go) apart from the project they work on?

We found out that training opportunities and individual career plans are important when they consider a company for the long term. They appreciate challenges and the opportunity to take on more responsibility solely on the account that they can do it. Standard performance management and career development programs don’t always apply for them, so you have to get creative. If your company has, for example, both developers and accountants, you can’t hope that a one size fits all program will work – if an accountant would stay on the same role for 3 years, a developer won’t.

They tend to choose jobs where they know, for example, that their next Java certification will be covered by the company, or where, if they need a foreign language for one of the projects, they’ll learn it attending a course paid by their employer. If you have an e-learning platform make sure they have access to great tech books and articles, or even better – webinars. If you can organize internal conferences or workshops, do it and be confident they will appreciate it.

Team Leadership also counts. They need somebody they look up to and if they won’t find that, most probably they’ll look for it somewhere else. We’ve all had that case of great team leads who manage to take their entire team with them when they leave the company, without even asking them. We’ve also seen the opposite – candidates who refuse to accept an offer or even talk with a company because they know how the hiring manager is. We, on the HR side, can have some influence on this as well: look for talent management and leadership competencies and implement programs to develop both the soft skills and the technical ones.

Last but not least, they all want a cool work environment and a good paycheck at the end of the month. Let them feel like they work in a start-up, even when they aren’t 🙂

The recruitment process through their eyes

We know the recruitment process is usually more that they would want it to be – it involves at least two interviews, one of which they really just hope to skip. They are literally hunted by recruiters and offered 5 jobs per day, some of them not even suitable for their skill-set. I’ve heard a lot of them saying they had horrible interview experiences (and I believe them as I had my share), which made them think HR doesn’t really get them.

So what can we do to make the candidate experience better in this case? For starters, don’t pretend to know 100% what they do. You, most of the time, don’t. Ask questions, be curious and try to find out as much as you can, without being pushy. Adapt your speech and attitude, be creative. Again.

Out of our discussion we got the following: besides receiving information about the project and its technologies, it’s important for them to get to know their future colleagues, to see the offices, to get a taste of how would it be for them to work there.

We ended on positive note and focused on one last question: why is the pay talk still a taboo topic in Romania? We challenge you to share your opinion with us.