There is no doubt that the most important asset of every company is its people. Why? Because research has shown that the success of any organization is closely connected with the quality of its employees. In fact, according to one recent study, hiring a perfect fit employee has the potential to create a substantial return on investment (ROI)!
But attracting the right talent can be a challenging task. Employers must decide what type of talent they want to acquire, what recruitment message they wish to send, and how to reach the targeted candidates. By developing a talent pipeline, companies can increase their chances of hiring the best talent for their future growth. Having the right candidate means lower employee turnover and great productivity. On the other hand, hiring the wrong fit can mean harming the company culture, loss of productivity, and wasted resources spent on training.
Your recruitment team must know how to engage potential candidates and streamline the hiring process to target the best professionals for the position. That is why it is vital to develop a detailed strategy that targets the best candidates. This can include online recruitment initiatives, such as building a career page on a company’s website and promoting a company as an exciting place to work through online channels. It is also important to include offline recruitment methods, such as attending events to meet potential candidates in person and encouraging employee referrals.
So, what is talent sourcing, and why is it so important to do it? How can you source technical talent, and why are they so important in cybersecurity? These and other questions will be answered in this extensive guide to talent sourcing, so make sure to take notes!
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What is Talent Sourcing?
To find the top talent, a company must first determine what would best represent them on the market and propel them forward. To do that, they need to practice talent sourcing. However, with such cutthroat competition on the market, only companies with a clear and efficient strategy can succeed. A good talent sourcing strategy starts with knowing where to find, or ‘to source,’ the best talent.
Talent sourcing can be defined as a process of identifying, generating, locating, researching, and networking with potential candidates to convert them into job applicants. Every part of this five-step process is done in unison to determine where the best candidate pipeline is for any job. For example, depending on the industry, some companies have a lot of use from traditional job fairs, while others need to target passive candidates, which means they look for individuals who may not be actively looking for a new job.
Once you’ve created a talent pool from your sourcing efforts, you can begin to narrow down potential top candidates for the next phase in the hiring process. Talent sourcing can be done in several ways, either through traditional or online advertising, networking in specific communities, or referral programs through your current employees.
The ultimate goal of talent sourcing is to create a consistent flow of highly-skilled candidates. They can be ready and willing to immediately turn into applicants or people who may not be aware of the hiring opportunities. They can also be potential hires who are a culturally great fit with some or most of the competencies but come from an unusual location or background. Whatever the case may be, it’s up to you to attract their attention.
What should the process of talent sourcing look like?
Every organization must develop its talent sourcing process to suit its needs. However, there are several basic steps to this process:
1. Create the job position: You must know everything about the job position you are looking to fill and be clear about what you are looking for while writing it down. To be precise, try asking yourself these questions – What do you expect of them? Are there hard or soft skills they need to possess before they can start working? Such questions will help you create a detailed and effective job description that will only attract candidates who satisfy your requirements.
2. Create an ideal candidate persona: A candidate persona is a written description of the best person to take the job position. How competent are they? What will they bring to the table? Do they agree with the company culture? Such questions should serve you in creating a blueprint of the perfect hire.
3. Identify the top talent: Although LinkedIn is useful, this is not the only place to look for hire because digital talent is moving onto specific platforms where they can interact with other like-minded professionals and hone their skills. Depending on your industry, make sure to check out such channels as Kaggle, GitHub, Stack Overflow, or AngelList.
4. Contact them: Take your time and type up a clear, direct, and personalized message relevant to their situation. If you don’t hear from them right away, don’t stress, shoot a couple of follow-ups their way. Sometimes a worthy hire will need a little prompting.
5. Interview and assess: Once a talent sourcer provides you with enough information, you can start narrowing down the best candidates. This is where you will conduct the interviews or delegate the job to your recruiters and hiring managers.
6. Hire and onboard: Once you’ve made the final decision, it is time to send the offer, set on the specifics of the job, and officially get the new employee on staff. If the previous steps are properly done, the hiring and onboarding should go smoothly.
7. Ask for feedback: Make sure to ask your new hire how the hiring process was for them. Did you successfully match the job position with them? What could be improved? How did you represent your brand? Based on this information, you can adjust your future processes and move on.
How to source for technical talent?
Now that we’ve gone over the general things about talent sourcing and how to excel at this process, let’s dive deeper and find out how to talent specific types of candidates. In this case, we will talk about technical talent, which can be quite a difficult challenge. It takes more than just posting an ad for an open job role and hoping for responses to come flooding in. In 2021, there is a small chance that top tech talent will pay attention to your job listings unless your company is a tech giant, like Google or Facebook. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean you can’t attract information technology professionals who will push your company towards success. With a smart recruiting approach and a good talent sourcing strategy, you can also compete for top tech candidates.
1. Establish a company presence and reputation on the job market
Most developers come across prospect companies during their job search through their content and media, such as news, blogs, and videos. That’s why you need to be visible to increase your reach. This tactic benefits your company in two ways – you are attracting and hiring top tech talent and developing your company identity and image in general. Here is what you need to do:
- Produce content specific to your company’s business – Talk about your expertise, the company culture, and the interesting projects you are involved in. Stay clear from overly promotional content and focus on providing real value to the readers.
- Participate in regular and online events and conferences – You can join existing events and create your own, like hackathons or presentations, which can attract plenty of talent.
- Give paid advertising a chance – While it is not advisable to use paid advertising in your social media posts all the time, it can still help you broaden your talent search.
2. Use employee’s network
Aside from posting jobs through usual channels, it is also smart to ask your employees to reshare your posts on their social media profiles. Never underestimate the power of your employee’s connections, you would be surprised at how much interest simple resharing can generate. This method has several advantages:
- It can give the candidate more trust and assurance of the job position;
- Since your employees already know potential candidates, they may work well together; and
- Your employees can first filter out the candidates before they move to the next step.
3. Support remote work
Even before Coronavirus, organizational processes and operations have started to be increasingly digitized. Nowadays, activities that pertain to information technology and data often don’t require physical meetings since almost everything happens virtually. Furthermore, top IT talent can be found anywhere in the world, so when it comes to recruiting, there is no need to be geographically bound to one location. With modern communication and meeting technology, managing a remote team can be a smooth process. This also helps you attract those candidates who are looking for more flexibility in their work.
4. Promote continuous learning and skill development
In a time of constant innovation, you simply can’t allow yourself to stop learning. In fact, three out of four IT professionals state that what they look for in a job is an opportunity to learn new skills and work with the latest technology. Leading a company that cares about the self-development of its employees can get you a lot of points in the eyes of potential candidates.
5. Offer attractive career paths
If you want to attract the best talent, then you need to offer an interesting and engaging career path. IT professionals want to grow in their careers, so you need to help them achieve their goals. But, your job doesn’t stop once you’ve attracted the desired talent because now you need to retain them. Here is what you can do once the selected candidates are onboarded:
- Have a conversation and get feedback – Performance feedback is very important for employees’ development. Talking with employees can help you identify their goals, aspirations, and scope for improvement. Listen to them and provide meaningful advice and guidance.
- Personalize employee experience – Based on these conversations, you can design a personalized plan that includes anything from training, learning, and mentoring to succession planning.
6. Provide benefits and perks that matter
Before Coronavirus, it was common for tech companies to offer unique perks like ‘happy hour’ or ‘pet friendly office’ to their employees. But now, with the ‘new normal,’ it is unlikely that this can be enough. Think of benefits and perks that matter to candidates. Get creative and include this new situation in the overall talent sourcing process. For instance, you can offer:
- Work-from-home budget, where you can set a budget for employees to buy what they need for their home office so they can stay healthy and motivated;
- Flexible working hours, where you can let your employees choose to work at their preferred hours; and
- Time-off for personal development, where your employees can dedicate one day in a week to learn new skills.
7. Commit to diversity and inclusion
Recruiting a diverse and inclusive team is not just the right thing to do, but it can also greatly benefit your business. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy has become important in both recruits’ and candidates’ decision-making. According to one survey, 48% of employees would consider changing their job for another company with a built-out DEI strategy.
More Do’s and Don’ts
Additionally, since most tech candidates don’t advertise themselves on typical job-searching sites, you should widen your search options. Start talent sourcing on tech community websites, forums, events, and marketplaces. For example, check GitHub, a perfect site for coders and developers to store their projects, and LinkedIn, the most popular talent sourcing channel. Don’t miss out on Stack Overflow, a great place for coders and developers to ask relevant questions and where you can see their expertise. There is also AngelList, a great site for startup job opportunities, especially for tech positions.
One thing to avoid is careless communication. Once you start talking with potential candidates, you should treat them with respect, even those who you deem as an ill fit. Timely reply to emails and messages, always be on time for calls and meetings, provide feedback, and always be polite. If a candidate has a bad experience with your company, they will share it publicly, which will naturally harm your brand’s reputation.
Why is it important to talent source cybersecurity professionals?
As a CEO or even a Head of Security in your company, you are well aware of the difficulty of hiring professional, high-quality cybersecurity talent. There is no government or private organization, big or small, that isn’t concerned with cybersecurity risks nowadays and how security failures can result in serious compliance violations, brand damage, and economic fallout.
A slew of cybersecurity attacks has captivated the world’s attention. The rise of attacks and their incredible success rate in infiltrating large networks also highlights the current cybersecurity talent gap worldwide. According to one study, there are nearly 465,000 vacant cybersecurity jobs just in the US alone! Another study confirms this on a global level. Done by ISACA, the State of Security 2019 report points out the following:
- 69% of polled cybersecurity professionals are significantly (21%) or somewhat (48%) understaffed;
- 58% of them stated that their organizations have unfilled cybersecurity roles;
- 32% said it takes at least six months if not more to fill those positions, which is up from 26% reported in the same survey the previous year; and
- 82% of cybersecurity professionals have cited better financial incentives, such as bigger salaries and bonuses, as reasons for leaving their employers.
So, what should you do to attract experienced, top talent cybersecurity professionals to your company? The process can be divided into six steps:
1. Look beyond the usual places: Break away from your usual practice of targeting graduates from specific schools and start looking in-house. More often than not, there are employees who are not currently working in cybersecurity but have skills sets applicable for the vacant job position. Apprenticeship programs are also a valuable source of top talent and skill-based events like Bug Bounty or Capture-the-Flag.
2. Don’t insist on designated skills: Cybersecurity skills are not much different from what is needed to work with any technology. If you only recruit talent from the same schools with similar programs, you would be at a strategic disadvantage. Cyber-attackers are not one-dimensional, and neither should your professionals be.
3. Look for skills beyond formal education: It is good to have people who know how to solve known threats, but you can also benefit from a fresh perspective. Cybersecurity problems evolve with time, so you need a workforce ready to solve the issues of today and face the ones that are yet to come.
4. Never stop training: Avoid pigeonholing by insisting on very specific cybersecurity skills when seeking candidates. If you invest in in-house training or send employees to specialized cybersecurity training, eventually, you will turn the good candidate into the perfect fit.
5. Hire military veterans: Military veterans have the training and instincts to protect sensitive information. Hiring a couple of military types works well for the company brand too. Having them in executive roles can make your company more attractive to other cybersecurity professionals.
6. Offer a good salary: It is wiser to pay one and a half, if not twice, what you pay other IT roles in your company to land a top talent who will be vital for protecting your data and defending it against crippling attacks.
To succeed in today’s competitive talent market, savvy recruiters must take a more proactive approach to sourcing talent and invest more time and energy in their recruiting strategies. Taking a strategic sourcing approach can allow you to expand your search, fill your pipeline and uncover high-quality prospects. We hope we managed to help you understand all the aspects of sourcing valuable talent.
Hundreds of new candidates are looking for job openings every day, and CIBR Warriors are there to help you find the right one for you. For more help on advancing your career or finding a perfect candidate in IT and Cybersecurity, contact us. We’d be happy to answer your questions and provide you with the best advice for getting started.