What Does ‘IT’ Take To Hire Top Niche IT Talent

September 9, 2020

What Does ‘IT’ Take To Hire Top Niche IT Talent? 

  • What are some of the main steps to hiring top niche talent? 
  • How do specialized candidates navigate the recruiting process and choose from several job offers? 

We talk about how to hire niche talent, and all of these questions in our “Data Science Collabs” Q&A video featuring Focus GTS co-founder, Brittany Fox, and Gold Data Science candidate, Rigo Roche.

Rigo discusses his experience searching for a Data Science role, dealing with non-specialized recruiters, and navigating multiple niches IT offers. 

With a double master’s in Biomedical Instruction and Electrical Engineering, Rigo is deeply passionate about his role as a data scientist. 

He shares what led him to accept the job offer at his current company. He also goes over the thought process for targeting niche recruiters.

As a candidate, it’s important to do your homework in terms of job search preparation, according to Rigo. “If you want the job you’ll love, you want to end up somewhere that you’re happy. I’m not just going to go to whoever pays me the most.” 

Work with one recruiter to find niche talent to fill your role.

Rigo is a leading example of what some candidates with niche skills may encounter during the job search.  

When Rigo set his Linkedin profile to “open to new opportunities,” he started getting hundreds of messages from recruiters. These messages actually turned Rigo off to some of the positions offered. Many of the recruiters were inexperienced in recruiting for niche talent and lacked an understanding of the specialized role. They didn’t understand what he did.

Rigo’s initial strategy included reaching out to recruiters or individuals he was familiar with. This targeted approach worked better than going through dozens of messages from unknown and inexperienced recruiters. 

The point is: Simplifying the process and working with one recruiter as opposed to many can save time. It can help match niche talent with the specialized role they’re looking for and help you focus on more important aspects of your organization. 

Make sure your Recruiter/HR knows the market

It’s important to work with a recruiter who knows the market and understands the need to fill specialty IT roles with niche talent. 

Often, candidates will come across messages that are not appealing or personalized. Sometimes the overwhelming messages a candidate receives can almost feel like a scam. 

“Some of them were really far off. I don’t think they even read the summary and just sent me a message,” said Rigo. 

So why do niche IT candidates get bombarded by messages from recruiters? The fact is, the demand for niche talent outweighs supply. Many recruiters are looking to fill one role that ends up requiring a lot of decision-makers during the hiring process. 

The truth is that niche talent with unique skillset receives between 5-7 LinkedIn solicitations per day. If the message is off or questionable, there goes your company’s reputation. Make sure you transform your recruiting process and your approach to sourcing candidates. 

Address inefficiencies in your niche IT hiring process

“Looking for a job is a full-time job,” says Rigo, who explains that the job search can be a time consuming and long-winded process. As an example, Rigo shared that he interviewed with at least 12 companies and received more than 4  job offers. We asked Rigo what made him choose his final selection as opposed to other offers on the table. 

A candidate’s experience during the recruiting process plays a big role in their final decision. 

We asked Rigo what could have been done better or what inefficiencies he might have noticed during the niche hiring process.  

He explained that he would like to see all the details of the job planned out ahead of time: “It’s very nice for the candidate. So you know exactly who you’re meeting and what their background is.” 

When too many people are involved in the process and decision making, the niche talent pool might be turned off by your organization’s inefficiencies. If you’re able to cut your average time to hire and reduce the need for more people sitting in on the interview — you can prevent losing more qualified niche candidates to competitors. 

Get involved and speed up the hiring process for niche IT talent

When we present someone like Rigo to one of our clients, we receive dozens of interesting responses. Some companies want to interview candidates like him right away, and others go to higher management or HR. 9 out of 10 times, a tech company can get so caught up on the small details, that they might end up missing out on amazing niche talent. 

Keep in mind that Rigo’s search only lasted about 30 days because he had the general criteria of the companies to join. He also had an ideal location he was looking for. 

In a nutshell, there are a lot of important criteria to go through before hiring top and niche talent. Make sure your organization makes changes to expedite the recruiting process and iron out any inefficiencies that might deter a qualified candidate from joining your team and accepting your offer. 

For Rigo, he made his final job decision based on a few factors: location, his professional skill set, and salary. He also wanted to align himself with an organization that valued and matched what he wanted for his career. 

And…here is the script, if you prefer to read rather than watch the video! 

[00:00:00] Brittany: This is Data Science Collabs!

[00:00:04] Brittany: So I want to talk to you and have you hear from him himself about what it takes to land a top candidate? So, Rigo, if you could give us an introduction about who you are and your background, so we can know who we’re talking to today. 

[00:00:18] Rigo Roche: Hi, everybody my name is Rigo Roche, and I started working as a…what it’s called now data scientists. I have a master’s in biomedical instrumentation and I have another master’s in electrical engineering. And then from then on, he just had just fallen in love and I haven’t stopped since. 

[00:00:31] Brittany: So I want to kind of jump into what your experience was like when you decided to make a change to a new organization.

[00:00:39] So I guess maybe first tell me where did you start when you were like, okay, I’m ready for the next step in my career.

[00:00:46] Rigo Roche: So the first thing I did is I reached out to recruiters or people that I knew in the places that I was targeting. And LinkedIn, – ” Open to new opportunities”. So I turned that on, and then I got a lot of messages.

[00:01:07] Some of them were really far off, really far off. I don’t think that they read, like, I think they read the summary and then send me a message after reading the summary. So it was like, come on, just like one more paragraph, read one more paragraph from the bottom. But, uh, you made it a lot better. 

[00:01:24] Brittany: Which is through, LinkedIn. I also sent you a targeted message. I don’t know who you recall, but do you remember what made you respond to my message? 

[00:01:34] Rigo Roche:  I think it was the subject line. And also because the description was very in line with what I was looking for and also it was in the area. 

[00:01:42] Brittany: Right. So do you remember how many messages you’ve got in that period when your…?

[00:01:46] Rigo Roche: More than 20?  For sure. That was per week. So like total, like more than a hundred. Looking for a job is a full-time job. Yeah. And then especially if you want to do a real job matching that you want to end up somewhere that you’re really happy with. It’s not like, “Oh, I’m just going to go to whoever pays me the most”.

[00:02:06] Brittany: How many, if you can recall about companies, were you interviewing with and we’re interested in?

[00:02:13]Rigo Roche: At least 12. Okay. Yep.

[00:02:17] Brittany: So, I guess where you go, if you could tell us about some of your experiences that you had, that was like with a company, maybe you just had a really good process and that really stood out to you when you were looking.

[00:02:28] Rigo Roche: Yeah so,  if you have everything planned out ahead of time it’s very, very nice for the candidates because you have a set of expectations that are met when you go and meet somebody. So that process is very nice when it’s really well planned out. So like, you know exactly who you’re meeting, what their background is, where are they coming from?

[00:02:50] And if you send candidates, ahead of time you say, okay, this day, You’re going to meet with this person, this person, this person, this is their title. This is what they do. So it’s important as a candidate to do your homework in terms of preparation. So I would think of having a plan following through the plan and making sure that you have detailed questions that reveal what the person actually knows.

[00:03:13] Brittany: So  Rigo as a  gold candidate, I know that you received multiple offers. Tell us about, how many offers you got and ultimately what made you make the decision to end up at your current company? 

[00:03:26] Rigo Roche: So concurrently, I have four total. I had seven. I made the final decision based on the fact that I will be really close to my family, where I was, and the money was really good.

[00:03:39] And also the type of work that I was going to do aligned with what I wanted for my career. 

[00:03:44] Brittany: What advice would you give to hiring managers that are maybe currently looking to attract a top candidate like yourself? Like what do they need to offer? What do they need to do to be able to make sure that they can get someone in the door?

[00:03:59]Rigo Roche: Make sure that you understand what it is that a candidate is really looking for, not necessarily what they tell you.

[00:04:04] So I would design questions that would reveal the situation of the candidate in the peripheries more so than the questions that somebody from HR gave you. So if you have questions from somebody from HR, you ask those two and then.

[00:04:21]Brittany: You say, okay, now I have my questions. I think it’s super important. And one thing that I always talk about in our office here at Focus GTS is the six human needs.

[00:04:30] It’s by Tony Robbins. He always talks about them and we always try to discover that in our calls, their candidate, like what’s their need. Are they looking for certainty and security in a job? Are they looking for variety and like the technical work that they’re doing or the projects. So really trying to discover what it is that they want.

[00:04:48] I think too, oftentimes like a hiring manager will say, decide it’s a good candidate, but then they don’t discover all their needs and what they’re looking for. And, and they don’t sell back to them why they should come to work for the company. And then sometimes too, maybe candidates don’t ask enough questions and they ended up taking the job but ended up leaving because they didn’t make sure that it was the right fit.

[00:05:07] Rigo Roche: I agree completely. And the thing is that I think it has to be broken down into different States, right? So you have a state that is what is it that I need? I need somebody now, like tomorrow, that is a very different state than I need somebody that’s gonna take my business to the next level. Right?

[00:05:26] Those two things are not the same.

[00:05:28] Brittany: I need a technical person, short term, even a contract. And you know, maybe you’re not getting into all their life goals then, but …

[00:05:37] Rigo Roche: I need freelance. Yeah, then you go to like Toptal or Gigster. There you go. You don’t even have to worry about hiring anybody, but if you don’t, if you, what you need is somebody that is a team member, that’s going to add volume to whatever it is you’re doing, that’s a different ballgame. You’re playing a different game. And so that’s when all these things come in, the person that’s trying to hire someone that doesn’t understand whether they need an employee or they need a contractor. Or they need a freelancer, those three things are not the same. It’s important that hiring people to understand that.

[00:06:10] And it’s important that the candidates understand what they are applying for.

[00:06:14] Brittany: We always do it, and I remember the first phone call.  I’ll have a sheet that I ask every candidate, and it’s very important that I ask these questions and I ask them open to like, ask you, what are you looking for?  I don’t assume anything based on your resume.

[00:06:28] And you tell me. There’s so much information that I can pick up based upon asking you those types of questions and then ask followup questions based upon what you say, what is it going to take for you to actually accept a position? Like what’s most important, like going through all of those things and not just. what’s your experience? 

[00:06:48] It’s like, okay. You do machine learning. You do python and you do R like, check, check a score eight to nine, how good are you? It’s on your resume. So  I’ll ask you questions to let you talk and I can tell if I know what you’re talking about, or if you give me one line answers, then, you know, we’re able to differentiate candidates who know what they’re talking about and what or more at what level they’re at per se. I’m not a technical person. I can’t judge this, but I think that’s where the technical interview is so important in matching the right technical person in those interviews.

[00:07:21] But then also when we get a job. We go through the same thing we ask, what’s most important to this role. What’s a successful candidate to have done in one year from now. Like, what are the absolute essential things they need to do this position because if not, they might say that they have a need for a certain tool and we’ll ask them why, like, what are they trying to achieve?

[00:07:43] So that way we can be like, well, if they didn’t have this, would you still want to see their resume? If they had everything else? And then they’ll say yes. So then you discover more of the need and what the job really is. So one of the things we wanted to ask you, I mean, obviously you’ve had the experience with us and other recruiters now, but what do you think that a recruiter typically does? 

[00:08:04] Rigo Roche: It’s a technical matchmaker. It depends if it’s internally hired for the company versus an independent contractor.

[00:08:11] I think a recruiter internally hired for the company is biased because they want what is best for the company not necessarily for the candidate. So, I believe that independent contractors are better because they are trying to have a positive experience on both ends. Therefore it’s the incentive to perform.

[00:08:31] So I’m talking about independent recruiters, you’re more of a facilitator to make a good match that is going to have the highest probability of success in the future.

[00:08:42]Brittany: Totally. And it’s so true because you know, it’s in our best interest to find the best match on both parties from the beginning. And I think that’s why it’s so important to really understand back to that, to those needs of each party.

[00:08:58] Rigo Roche: I doubt that I’ll ever, BUT  if I ever want to move forward, the first person I’m to be texting is you, so that’s what I’m saying. So like, please don’t change your number, please. 

[00:09:09] Brittany: You know, there will be experiences where people have, with not the greatest, but for me, it’s like, I always look at it as a strategic partnership, like at the current company that you’re at.

It’s not somewhere that I placed you, but at the end of the day, it’s about relationships for me and strategically partnering with people in the market because this space, although it’s big, it’s not that big. And as you get to know everyone. I’m here to like help you at whatever point possible, even just to be your resource. What’s happening in the marketplace?

[00:09:39] What are you seeing? How do you even retain your people? You know, I was talking about the needs again, you know, it’s how do you keep your people happy?  There are certain things that, especially data scientists, are looking for. I mean, humans, we all have needs, but certain things that really keep well that top talent at an organization.

[00:09:59] So just always be a resource for them and the marketplace.

[00:10:02]Rigo Roche: Yeah, it’s very useful. It was useful for me. So I’m very grateful. 

[00:10:06] Brittany: Perfect. Awesome. Well, thanks so much for coming into the focus GTS studio. I look forward to partnering in the future together. Absolutely. 

[00:10:14] Rigo Roche: Thank you so much, guys. Appreciate it.

[00:10:17] All opinions, views, and other information that is done. This interview, whether expressed by me or anyone else or that opinion of myself. I do not represent any corporation, company, or entity. That is related to me professionally or otherwise. These are just my views, my opinion, and my experience. And they’re solely mine.