A member of the HR team for a technical company explains the challenges of recruiting technical staff.
Our HR team are all qualified professionals, but not technically qualified. With a staff in the London office of around 250, the majority are techies – programmers, technical authors, testing, help desk and maintenance people. The market for the type of programmers we recruit is very competitive and although we pay a reasonable salary, the draw of contracting in the finance sectors tempts many of our programmers away.
It seems like we are always looking for staff and a vacancy rate of 10% is not unusual. When I joined the team we were dealing with 90+ IT recruitment agencies and the deluge of CVs was overwhelming. The managers never got around to tackling the review process simply because of the sheer volume of ‘paperwork’.
From experience it was abundantly clear that someone with the right programming language listed on their CV was not necessarily competent at the level required. This meant that we had to carry out tests before the interview process even got started. It was quite common for candidates to score barely 50% on the technical test – a waste of everyone’s time.
Out of every 10 candidates that were tested only one or two were suitable for progressing through to an interview – disappointing for them and time consuming for us.
We set about creating a much more specific role profile for each vacancy and dispensed with any agency who was unable to send us only candidates who met the bare essentials. However, this didn’t solve the problem of candidates who claimed they could fulfil the technical requirements, only to discover they were somewhat optimistic.
An agency that takes away the problem of ensuring candidates are technically up to scratch is amazing. The management and administrative time saved more than covers the recruitment fees.