Poaching On the Rise for Big Data Pros

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(Note: This is part two of a three-part series)

Several recent hiring studies have agreed that recruiting for technology professionals has picked up in the second half of 2015, and that includes hiring for data analysts and data scientists. Indeed, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed that IT is now the hottest hiring sector of all.

That is putting great pressure on hiring managers to find the best talent wherever possible – including luring it from the competition.

“There is a big job churn going on,” confirms John Reed, senior executive director at Robert Half Technology, of data professionals. “Companies are being very aggressive in engaging employees from competitors, other firms in their industry, there’s a large focus on that right now.”

All of this hiring activity has also shortened the window of opportunity for employers to act. Many active data analysts and data engineers may be fielding multiple offers. The most desirable “passive” candidates (those not actively looking, but ripe for the picking if you can reach out to them) have probably already been targeted.

“If you’re just putting a job posting online and sitting back and waiting to see what you’ll receive, you’re not going to get a lot of people activing looking for jobs,” cautions Reed. “They are typically well paid, in a great spot and companies know what they have so they’re doing everything they can to retain them.”

The pressure is also building to land the top talent actively in the job market.

“Competition among businesses for top IT talent today makes it critical for managers to rethink their recruitment and retention methods,” notes the 2016 IT Salary Guide, just published by Robert Half Technology. “Speeding up hiring times, training from within, filling skills gaps with project professionals and offering attractive compensation can help you hire – and keep – the best and brightest for your organization.”

Reed has advice to both hiring managers and job candidates on how to best find and impress each other in this highly competitive market.

For job seekers, Reed says don’t be fooled that employers have relaxed their standards – they still want lots of skills, experience, business and technology savvy, and strategic thinking in the right candidate.

For hiring managers, don’t forget that you must sell yourself to the candidate as much as they are trying to impress you. Candidates actually in the market probably won’t be for long; and passive candidates need convincing on how and why you offer a better gig.

Tell an engaging story

Recruiting starts with the job posting of course, and that is where the process also ends for some organizations.

“What we see is that people continue to rely a lot on their job postings, and they’re not exciting, they’re not compelling,” Reed says. “When you’re competing for that talent you’ve got to really have a story that is exciting and gets people intrigued.”

“Start there,” Reed stresses. “The people that you want to apply – are you telling them not only about the exciting aspects of your company but the cutting edge work that you’re doing; the technology that they get to work with; and the ability to influence your strategy? Highlighting those things is where it starts.”

As the saying goes, ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’, and that holds true in recruiting, Reed notes.

“If they’re looking at you’re posting and it just doesn’t stand out, you won’t get the chance to even speak with them. They won’t even apply to your job,” Reed explains.

Once the hiring manager has gotten a candidate’s attention, then the work of really selling the organization begins.

“Really hone your story when you get the chance to talk to them,” Reed continues. Points to stress include: • Here’s why you want to work for our company. • Here’s why you want to work in our industry. • These are the really cool things that we’re doing. • This is the technology that we’re going to put in your hands. • This is why we really think you should entertain this type of opportunity.

“You’ve got to have that story that really engages the job seeker,” Reed says.

(Note: In part three, advice to data professionals on how to best sell themselves to hiring managers, or be found as passive candidate).

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