A digital skills shortage is taking over the recruitment space. Could improving the candidate experience be the answer?
With more businesses requiring digital skills than ever before, and the number of candidates not meeting demand, companies are having to think hard about their recruitment process. In an ‘employee’s market’, it is up to companies to prove to individuals that they are the right place for them to work.
The candidate’s experience is a huge part of this. A good candidate experience can help a candidate understand that this is the right company for them, whereas a bad candidate experience can not only put off talented staff but actually cause bigger problems for your business.
Here, we take a look at why the candidate experience is so important, especially in overcoming a digital skills shortage in tech recruitment.
It has been well established that there is a problem with a digital skills shortage – and this has been apparent for a number of years. For example, a recent report from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) revealed that the recruitment pool for cybersecurity professionals has a yearly shortfall of around 10,000 people.
This is affecting not only tech companies but also businesses across almost every industry that want to invest in IT or tech staff. Given the fact that the world is becoming increasingly digital, almost all businesses have a need for this kind of technical expertise, and it simply is not as available as it needs to be.
Given this challenge in recruiting staff with digital expertise, it puts the impetus on businesses to ensure that they are doing everything they can to make candidates come to them. Their experience as they apply for a job with you and make their way through the interview process can affect how they come to see your business, and this will impact whether they take the job or not.
It is not just the fact that talent is relatively scarce that makes the need to have a great candidate experience. Remember that your staff is almost always the truly key part of your operations. Recruiting the right candidates can have a huge impact on your ability to provide your products and services.
In highly complex jobs such as software developers and project managers, it has been shown that high-performing individuals can be up to an incredible 800% more productive than average performing staff. This shows that it can make a truly enormous impact on your organisation to be able to recruit the best talent in a field.
There can be no doubt that digital is a highly competitive jobs market. As has already been alluded to, almost every business in every industry has a vested interest in hiring high-quality technical and IT staff. This pushes up salaries and forces employers to think more about what they can do to attract and recruit staff.
The candidate experience is an underrated element to overcome the digital skills shortage. Candidates for digital roles will likely have a lot of places that they can go as they are in demand. This means the feeling they get when they attend an interview at your business can make a huge difference. With salaries already pushed up, digital staff is often looking for intangibles.
In general, staff wants to work for a company that is going to appreciate them, and you can really show in the candidate experience that this is the case.
It is not just the single candidate you need to think about when you consider your candidate’s experience. Remember that if individuals have a bad experience when applying to a position at your business, they are likely to tell their friends, colleagues, and partners in the industry, and this, in turn, can make it harder to provide a positive impression for other candidates.
Ultimately, this can have a negative impact not just on your ability to recruit but also on you as a brand. With sites like Glassdoor offering publicly available insight into the way your company operates, this can negatively affect your brand.
It is absolutely essential for tech businesses to focus on keeping their team happy. This all starts at their interview stage and through their onboarding, as this sets the tone for how they view the company. Treat them well and they will be loyal and treat the business with respect. But, if they feel underappreciated it can lead to them considering the company in a negative light.
Not only can this have issues for productivity and efficiency, it can also potentially make them a risk for insider attacks. Tech staff typically have a great deal of agency over aspects of the business that few people oversee. This can make the business especially vulnerable to them on the whole.
“Disgruntled current or former employees that steal intellectual property or commit intentional sabotage are among the costliest threats to organisations,” says George Glass, Head of Threat Intelligence at cybersecurity specialists Redscan “the mistake that many organisations make is to focus purely on threats originating from outside. However, with the number and severity of breaches caused by insider attacks continuing to rise, this can often be a very costly oversight.”
There are many different issues that can affect the candidate experience, and you’ll need to get them all right to impress the best staff. It is often the little things that add up to a big difference for staff. So, what are some of the things that make a great candidate experience?
Nothing is more frustrating for a candidate than applying for a job based on the job description, and then finding out in the interview that the specifics of the role are somewhat different. Use simple language and leave no room for ambiguity and be genuine about the ‘must have’ attributes of a suitable candidate.
Applying to a job should feel positive and easy – but so many organisations choose to make the system far more complicated than it needs to be. Asking candidates to register and log into the system, for example, is time-consuming and frustrating for them.
It is still surprisingly common that candidates for roles will feel in the dark after they have submitted their applications. It is the least that an organisation can do to send an email confirming having received the application, and then letting them know if they have been unsuccessful.
It would be even better if emails could be sent at each stage of the process – letting them know with each email when they should expect their next correspondence by.
Candidates love to hear feedback. If they are being rejected for a position, it is genuinely helpful for them to understand why.
Businesses are sometimes unnecessarily coy about what the process of the interview will be. Candidates will be able to show off their skills and knowledge far more effectively if they are given to prepare, and understand what they are preparing for.
If you’re facing a digital skills shortage in your business, improving your candidate experience is a big part of the puzzle. If you’re wondering where to start, using recruitment technology is a great way to quickly put some of these tips into practice.
The Smart Recruit Online platform is designed to make your candidate experience better, with job advert copywriting, automated candidate communication tools, and more, all from one, easy-to-use platform. Interested? Get in touch today.
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