4 items tagged "recruitment"

  • 5 Best practices to attract (and retain) talent for your organization

    5 Best practices to attract (and retain) talent for your organization

    By applying these best practices, you can bring on talent that keeps pace with innovation, shifting customer needs, and new technologies.

    It’s no secret that there is currently a massive technology talent shortage. As this Wall Street Journal article notes, tech leaders and recruiters alike increasingly feel the pressure to stay competitive, some even going so far as to offer perks like six-figure bonuses and the ability to work from anywhere they want. Hiring tech talent is a massive pain point across many organizations, and it’s at the top of most IT leaders’ to-do lists.

    Aside from outsized perks, what can organizations do to address the talent shortage? The key lies in looking for talent in new places and uncovering ways to connect with and inspire candidates before, during and after the interview process. Here are five ways to identify, hire, and retain the right team.

    1. Partner with schools

    If you’re not already doing so, build relationships with schools and make it a priority to partner with them to fuel student interest in your company. Current students are the future of your business, so working with universities early and often can both grow and keep your talent pool specialized.

    Many schools have begun implementing programs to directly address the shortage of technology talent, including degree programs in industries like cybersecurity and cloud. MIT, for example, among many others, now offers programs that match specific business needs like 'Ethics of AI' and 'Modeling and Optimization for Machine Learning'. Some cloud providers are teaming up with schools to offer programs and specialized degrees, and we have also seen great success in partnering with universities to sponsor research in engineering departments.

    2. Look to untapped pools of talent

    Beyond looking to recent graduates, consider untapped pools of talent to diversify your workforce. While often overlooked because of 'lack of relevant technical experience', veterans offer skills that could greatly impact your existing teams, including strong leadership, productivity and decision-making capabilities. We can look to companies like Salesforce for inspiration: Its veteran program Vetforce connects the military community with open IT positions.

    Another pool of talent often left behind are those who have taken time off and want to restart their careers, including parents with new children or those who had to care for a loved one in a time of need. Returnship programs for example. These programs help professionals with five or more years of work experience, and who have been out of the paid workforce for a minimum of two years, to bridge their transition back into the workforce. We have found excellent, talented employees through this channel.

    3. Ask the right questions

    Once you have a candidate in mind, ask the right interview questions to determine their potential fit on your team. My favorite interview question is 'What isn’t on your resume that you’d like to share?' A resume tells 'what' you did. But it doesn’t tell 'how' you did it. These stories often provide the most critical insight into a candidate. I want to hear how a candidate has overcome adversity and what they learned from their challenges. I prize candidates’ perseverance and determination rather than a list of accomplishments or schools they went to. Tell me what you did with what you had. With the technology industry changing at a rapid pace, we need candidates who are comfortable being uncomfortable in the name of positive change.

    4. Think beyond money with the job offer

    If you think you can entice today’s talent pool just with compensation, think again. Career growth opportunities now rank as the most important factor when looking for a new job. Offering plenty of opportunities for employee training and growth will not only entice potential candidates, but it will also keep current employees on board. We offer an array of training and certification programs so our employees can build marketable skills in enterprise cloud technology. These programs should be all about choice, enabling employees to design the mix of in-person, online, or video training that meet them wherever they work today. Large, high-growth companies can also offer candidates the ability to easily move between different teams at the company, learn from new groups and cross-pollinate ideas.

    5. Simplify redundant tasks

    Identifying areas where a company can simplify to boost productivity can be an equally important step to the above. For example, automating existing, repetitive IT tasks can help free up time to focus on more innovative, creative projects. At our company, we’re using the power of machine learning (ML) and natural language processing to augment our IT helpdesk and customer support services. Using ML technologies, more than 30% of all service requests are automatically resolved, freeing up both time and budget for value-creating activities.

    When it comes to hiring and retaining the best talent, it can feel like you’re in a losing race against a continually changing technology environment. But by keeping these best practices in mind, you can bring on talent that keeps pace with innovation, shifting customer needs, and new technologies.

    Author: David Sangster

    Source: Informationweek

  • 8 Questions to ask a product marketing applicant

    8 Questions to ask a product marketing applicant

    The hiring process for product marketing roles is unusually difficult compared to most other roles. Product marketers have a substantial breadth of responsibility and level of cross-functional visibility in most organizations. Sales, marketing, product, executives ,nearly every department depends on product marketing. This level of cross-functional visibility makes skilled product marketers even more valuable.

    For this reason, both employers and applicants have a tough time with the product marketing interview process. Hiring managers have a hard time determining if a candidate possesses the wide range of skills product marketers should bring to the table. Conversely, product marketers can have a tough time adequately verbalizing all of their skills in the short time allowed. 

    In most organizations, there are five main pillars of product marketing: product launches, messaging/positioning, competitive intelligence, pricing/packaging, and sales enablement. These eight interview questions will help you dig into each of the important skills, as well as identify what you’re looking for from their response.

    Can you walk me through your last product launch?

    Bringing new products/features to market is a foundational responsibility for product marketers. Launches require product marketers to flex their product, messaging, sales enablement, and competitive intelligence skills all at once. The ability to successfully launch a product conveys competence in all of those areas.

    Product launches involve nearly every team in an organization, so candidates should possess strong communication and collaboration skills. Project management skills are also crucial given the number of moving parts involved in a launch. This is a good opportunity to ask for details around how they’ve previously organized a launch, and get a deeper understanding of which particular tasks they were responsible for within the launch process.

    What good product do you believe is marketed poorly?

    The ability to evaluate a product and the messaging/positioning that accompanies it is a core product marketing skill. This question tests a product marketer’s ability to do that on the spot. Strong answers will address one or more key weaknesses around competitive positioning, messaging that fails to resonate with a target persona, or any number of other blunders.

    What steps would you take to help improve the win rate of a struggling sales team?

    Good product marketers know that product marketing and sales need to work well together for success. Great product marketers take it a step further and understand that key sales metrics like win rate can be influenced by product marketing collateral like battlecards.

    Try to dig into specific tactics rather than nebulous strategies. Improving the messaging used by the sales team is an admirable notion. Getting into specific tactics like trainings, collateral, and new software displays an ability to both strategize and execute.

    How do you measure the success of product marketing?

    Compared to other marketing disciplines, product marketing is notoriously difficult to measure. The ability to evaluate and iterate, however, is important regardless of the difficulty required to do so. 

    Qualitative and qualitative measurements are equally valid. Strong product marketers should be unafraid to display a degree of ownership over quantitative metrics like product adoption, sales win rate, customer/dollar churn, or anything else that makes sense given the nature of their business. This is a particularly important quality in product marketing leaders who work closely with results-focused executive leadership teams.

    How do you communicate major shifts in your market (one of your competitors acquiring another, for example) to key stakeholders like sales, product, and executive leadership?

    Product marketers need to be able to communicate ideas across departments. Even more so, they need to understand the unique goals and challenges of each team they work with. By understanding this, they are better able to tailor information in the way each team needs it. 

    A blanket email about a competitive acquisition to the entire organization is a good start. An email to sales detailing how to talk to prospects/customers, one to marketing with new campaign messaging, and one to executives detailing M&A information is even better.

    Have you ever worked on a product launch that failed in any way?

    This is a product marketing twist on a classic interview question. The ability to fail and improve is important in any role. By asking this question, you’ll be able to understand both sides of their product launch experience, and how they were able to transform a negative scenario of a launch into a positive, learning experience. Framing the question in a product launch scenario is a great way to approach it, considering that not every product launch will have a flawless execution. 

    What steps would you take to drive adoption of an underutilized product feature?

    While product adoption may be a metric more closely measured by product management, product marketers are better equipped to actually influence that metric through their work with sales, marketing, and customer success/support. 

    Given the number of angles from which PMMs can tackle adoption, make sure a candidate provides several tangible tactics. Better educating sales reps pre-sale, providing post-sale relationship managers with better messaging, and working with marketing on customer education are all great tactics.

    How would you ensure an increase in price or change in packaging goes over well internally and externally?

    Changes to pricing or packaging can be contentious. Customers need an empathetic communication of why prices are changing. Your own sales and customer success/account management teams need a strong understanding of the change, how it will impact existing business, and the logic behind the change. Make sure any product marketing candidate understands the gravity of these needs and is prepared with tactics that ensure understanding and avoid backlash.

    Hiring the right product marketer can be a long, frustrating process, but it’s worth the effort. A great product marketer serves as the linchpin of your product and go-to-market organizations. Asking the right questions ensures that whoever you hire will have the ability to tackle the wide variety of critical functions owned by product marketing. 

    Author: Ben Cope

    Source: Crayon


  • Building blocks to help you create the best possible IT team

    Building blocks to help you create the best possible IT team

    There are three key attributes high-functioning IT team members share that are identifiable in your initial interviews: Desire, willingness, and "teachability".

    There’s been a lot written about the importance of teamwork over the years. Entire books (and for some writers, entire careers) have been based upon what it takes to create synergy among disparate team members. But what business leaders often neglect to highlight is the importance of bringing the right peopletogether as a first step to generating great teamwork. For so many disciplines, having the right talent in the room is the critical first factor in determining team success. And this is particularly true with information technology teams. Here’s why:

    IT is notorious for being over time and over budget. The reason almost always boils down to not having the right people on the job, because IT departments often dive straight into assembling teams from a project idea rather than from a project description. These are two very different things.

    Developing a detailed project description at the outset often makes the difference between a project capable of staying on time and on budget, and one that is not. Once you have a project description, it’s easy to identify the specific mix of job descriptions needed. If you dive into assembling the team before going through these two steps, you'll forever be trying to reverse-engineer the ideal IT project team, and that is a recipe for failure every time.

    The amount of time you spend thinking through the nuances of each job description will be rewarded by increased team efficiency in the long run. So, spend a lot of time and energy here, and you will be rewarded with a significantly higher functioning team. Once you have an accurate project description and accompanying job descriptions, it’s time to start recruiting your team. And when it comes to hiring, process beats personality seven days a week.

    What attributes does a strong IT team need?

    There are three key attributes high-functioning IT team members share that are identifiable in your initial interviews: Desire, willingness, and “teachability.”

    The key with desire is you aren't just looking for people who want to win, but that believe they are going to win no matter what. They don't get out of bed to lose. They may not know exactly how, but they’re confident they and their team are going to win. When you can find these people and surround them with others who have the same winning style and energy, you are going to get it done.

    When it comes to willingness, you have to identify individuals who you know have the conviction and strength of character to do whatever it might take to succeed (within ethical boundaries, of course). Look for potential team members who have demonstrated their ability to go beyond the ordinary to get a job done, including things that at first might seem counterintuitive, uncomfortable or even unbelievable. Project teams that include these individuals will exceed expectations.

    A third, less tangible attribute is what I call “teachability.” This may be the most difficult attribute to detect, but the most important to find. Team members must be naturally teachable, willing to change, and open to training and new ideas. If they are not, your team will face unnecessary slowdowns, and overall progress will be hampered.

    The right stuff, combined with collaboration and reward

    Even a team armed with the right skills and attributes can fall victim to dissent and stubbornness. These are the progress killers you’ll need to eliminate and can be a challenge to avoid in a group of highly talented individuals. Dissention and lack of collaboration occur when someone must be right, and in IT "right" is not always an option. Teams that function without common goals struggle to overcome challenges, because self-centered motivators lead to dissention. 

    To keep a group of high-functioning individuals centered, you need to energize the team with a shared core goal that unifies everyone and everything. When problems arise, and they will, a unified core goal will provide the single touchstone needed to bring everyone back to center.

    In addition to helping keep everyone centered, establishing a core goal provides measurement and accountability that can be used to determine success and most of all, rewards. We all know that financial incentives, while important, are not the greatest reward in the minds of IT professionals.

    The best way to reward project teams and employees is through something tangible, given with public recognition so others understand the value of the team. I don't care if it is an engraved plaque on the wall, a shirt with a cool logo, or a challenge coin. A unique keepsake reward combined with praise in front of colleagues goes a very long way. When you reward a team in this manner, team members walk away legitimately happy with something they don't want to toss aside or minimize, because it is an ongoing reminder of the recognition they received. 

    On their own, following these guidelines may not insure you’ll have a winning team project, but neglecting to follow them will absolutely guarantee failure. There is no other way to build a great IT team than by first looking for the attributes required to achieve your goal.

    Author: HK Bain

    Source: InformationWeek

  • What to keep in mind when recruiting the right data scientist

    What to keep in mind when recruiting the right data scientist

    As a relatively new role, 'data guru' is a challenging job specification to draft for. Organisations are seeking highly-skilled and well-educated individuals to fulfil the position, but the truth is, the data scientist an organisation needs is not a guru, but a colleague.

    Most organisations forget that recruiting the right talent is just as much about them as it is about the potential candidates. For example, does the organisation provide an interesting and successful environment for the data scientist to thrive in? Does it create new opportunities and positions for data scientists? Does it support its data scientists and allow them the freedom to work creatively?  

    Understanding what data scientists look for is crucial when looking to recruit and retain the right data talent. 

    So, what makes a data scientist tick?

    The fact of the matter is that the attrition rate for data scientists is very high. A recent poll by KDNuggets on data scientists revealed that more than one in three expect to stay in their job for three years of less. There are a number of reasons that can lead to a data scientist deciding to hand in their notice, and often these things are in the organisation’s control, like the company’s culture and technology available for the data scientists to use.

    If the organisation doesn’t provide access to data and the tools necessary for data scientists to do their jobs well, it will lead to frustration. More importantly, these barriers make it difficult for data scientists to achieve their goals and perform to their best level, which understandably results in shorter tenures.  

    Moreover, from a cultural perspective, many businesses aren’t quite up to speed with data. This starts with the C-suite: if senior management cannot see the value of a data-driven culture, then it will stifle efforts. A data scientist will soon feel under-appreciated and question the point of their analyses and recommendations if action isn’t being taken by the business. 

    Even if data is at the heart of the business, the data scientist is often left out of the decision-making process. Not only does this dissociate them from the hard work they have done, but it often leads to their work being misinterpreted, with the full benefits of the analyses being lost on the board.

    What will draw a data scientist to work for a business?

    1.The right challenge

    Data scientists are often drawn to innovation, they want to be a part of it, to evoke it, and to drive it. First and foremost, you will attract data talent by ensuring that your organisation is pushing the boundaries of data analytics and use. Nothing is more engaging than a challenge, and data scientists want to be challenged by your company if they’re going to consider it as a place to work. 

    2. The right tools

    This almost goes without saying. A good comparison is surgeons. You wouldn’t expect a heart surgeon to be able to carry out their job properly or effectively if they didn’t have the right tools or equipment available to them in the operating room. It’s the same for data scientists. Without the right tools in place, data professionals may only be working with partial, fragmented datasets or they may not have access to all the data they need, in order to gain the insights that will help to transform the business.

    3. The right level of empowerment

    With the right tools in place, people need to be given the space, time and trust to think and work creatively. Taking their insights on-board and actioning their suggestions will go a long way in making a data scientist feel appreciated and included in the company’s success.

    4. The right training and development

    Innovation is a constant within data analytics, from new tools and developments to learning from others’ methods and implementations. It is important your data scientists are continuously challenged and are learning new skills to keep up with this ever-developing market. Your organisation should open up a dialogue with your data professionals, so that you know what they want, what they are good at, and what they need from you. Only then can you help them develop themselves and grow into an integral role for the business.

    Conclusion: It takes two to data science

    The hiring process is not a one-way affair. While the organisations must make the decision to hire a data scientist based on their skills and experience, the data scientist must also decide whether the organisation is the right place for them to grow and develop their career.

    As soon as organisations start realising this, they can work on becoming a more attractive and exciting business to work for, providing the right challenges, tools, culture and environment for data scientists to thrive. In doing so, the pool of prospective data professionals that are applying to work for the business will inevitably increase, enabling them to hire the best people and to help the business grow and maintain data science success moving forward.

    Author: Eva Murray

    Source: Dataconomy

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