6 Secrets to Denver IT Recruiting for Employers
Even though Denver is one of the most desirable cities in which to live and work, IT recruiting in Denver isn’t as easy as you may think. Denver mimics Austin in the sense that it offers a fantastic lifestyle and has a booming IT scene. What does this mean for IT recruiting? In a word: competition.
Even though the tech jobs are plentiful, the number of candidates doesn’t align. This skills gap isn’t unique to Denver or Austin. In fact, it’s a national trend. It’s not only tech companies that are recruiting and hiring candidates with specialized IT and digital skills. It’s virtually every company across all industries. Most companies need IT skills to drive their digital, cloud, e-commerce, social and other initiatives.
This is good news for candidates. They are in the driver’s seat. The news isn’t as rosy for hiring companies who must differentiate themselves from the competition in order to attract the talent they really want (and need) to enable their tech strategies.
Being in the Denver IT recruiting scene for years, we know a thing or two about what it takes to beat out the competition. Here are our six secrets to getting the attention of candidates.
Sell Your Company and Benefits
This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many companies forget they have to actually “sell” their company. They bring in candidates, give them their schpeel, then assume the candidates will want to work there. Not so fast. Remember, they are comparing your company and benefits to other companies who are courting them. You have to put on your sales and marketing hat to show your company in the best light.
Steer clear of empty promises and inaccurate depiction of your company or what it’s like to work there. People are smart. They’ll pick up on it within a day or two of working there and know they can get a better job elsewhere within the week. The hiring process is expensive and you don’t want to have to go back to the drawing board because you weren’t honest to begin with.
Think about what makes your company different. What is the culture? What does your company stand for? How does your company support its employees? Your company has a story to tell so make sure it’s a good one.
Next, think about the benefits. Salary isn’t always the main focus of candidates. Neither is ping pong and casual Fridays. Candidates want healthcare, 401k matching, opportunities for growth and advancement, work-life balance, and autonomy, to name a few. Instead of just listing out their benefits, go a step further to explain how your benefits will impact them personally and professionally. Every good salesman knows you never sell the product; you sell the benefit.
Give Them What They Want
You and your candidates are in Denver for a reason, so be sure you’re giving your candidates the opportunity to take advantage of that reason. Why are people flocking to Denver? The main reason is the outdoor lifestyle. Few cities in the U.S. can top what Colorado offers in terms of the outdoors.
Attract talent by offering work-from-home days or a flexible schedule that allows them to experience Colorado on other days than Saturdays and Sundays. Consider team outings to the mountains or at least a Denver park. Some Denver companies have a “ski day” to open the ski season or a “day of hiking” when the snow melts. Little things like this allow candidates to see they can have the best of both worlds.
Create a Collaborative Culture
Most candidates in the Denver market are looking for a collaborative team environment. Millennials, in particular, are used to open floor plans that encourage a collaborative environment. They also enjoy an office culture that encourages socialization. It’s not mandatory to grab a beer with co-workers after work, but if you establish a culture where that’s an option, you’re more likely to have employees stick around.
No one likes to be in the dark and few people like surprises if they don’t involve a party. Be upfront about the direction of the company and the roadmap to get there. If you’re open with your candidates and they see you’re open with your employees, they’ll know they are signing up with a company where they’ll truly be part of a team working for the same end goal. They’ll feel valued and that their contributions are vital to moving the company forward on its roadmap.
Offer Competitive Salaries
You can’t offer a competitive salary if you don’t know what the other guys are offering. In a market as competitive as Denver, you can’t come to the table with anything less than market rates. If you want to stand out, offer even more. Otherwise, you’re wasting everyone’s time.
Working with a Denver IT staffing firm will help you get a good grasp on what you should offer. Because these firms have intimate knowledge of the IT market specific to Denver, they can guide you to a salary and benefits package that will attract top talent without giving away the farm.
Reconsider Drug Testing
If your company requires pre-employment and/or random drug testing, you may want to have them reconsider. As you know, Denver is in a marijuana-friendly state. Like it or not, there’s a better-than-average chance your candidates are enjoying their freedom. If your company drug tests for marijuana, you’re severely limiting your candidate pool. Bloomberg says employment drug testing is on the decline nation-wide for this very reason. With a tightening U.S. job market and the legalization of marijuana in many states, more companies are choosing to relax their corporate drug policies.
Some companies establish weekend-only or workday-free policies, where they ask their employees to refrain from getting high at work. Though difficult to enforce these policies, if you’re transparent about your expectations, you may find your candidates are willing to comply.
3 Secrets to Denver IT Recruiting for Candidates
For IT candidates in the Denver area, you have your choice on where you want to work. Even though it’s a candidate’s market, don’t assume you’ll be a top pick. You have to sell yourself just as much as you would anywhere else. But, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking to work in a state with so much to offer, you’ve hit the bullseye. Follow our 3 secrets and you’ll land a great job with all the benefits Denver has to offer.
We’ve seen it so many times: a highly-qualified candidate goes into an interview with an entitled disposition and an assumption that they can do no wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. Companies, even though they may be desperate for IT talent, don’t want to hire someone with a big ego, particularly in Denver.
Instead, understand they are looking at multiple candidates who all want to live and work in Denver just as bad as you do. If you show you are willing to work hard, work with others, and learn as much as you contribute, you’re going to go far.
Consider Data Science and Security
There’s a big push in the Data Science and Security space in Denver. IBM predicts the demand for data scientists will jump 28 percent by 2020. The cybersecurity market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10 percent during 2018-2023. If you’re looking to pivot your career or looking for stability in the market, consider those areas.
Take Advantage of The Buyers’ Market
Finally, nothing says “I’m committed and staying for the long haul” than buying a house. In the past, the Denver housing market was cost-prohibitive to many, forcing relocating candidates to rent (which isn’t cheap, either). Fortunately for buyers, the housing market in Denver is calming down, offering an ideal opportunity for candidates relocating to Denver to buy a home. Houses are staying on the market longer and prices are starting to level out. Now’s the time to invest in a home you can call yours.
Denver IT recruiting is tricky but not impossible. Hiring companies have much to offer, but they must differentiate themselves. Candidates have the pick of the litter, but they can’t take a great job at a great company for granted. Stick with our recommendations and you’ll be in a better position to get what you want.