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How to Ease the Very Hard Job of Finding and Hiring the Right People

Here are useful suggestions to help channel partners find the right people to fill jobs in IT, sales, support and more.

Todd R. Weiss

February 26, 2020

7 Min Read
Job interview candidates
Shutterstock

Hiring the right people for IT jobs is always a critical chore, from systems security to sales, research, engineering, partner programs and more. But successful hiring has to start with first finding the right candidates and that can be a huge battle in itself.

To provide some helpful insights, three channel leaders will join James Bier, the co-founder and chief channel development officer at VAR Staffing, at the 2020 Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas for a panel discussion about best practices to attract top talent. The March 11 panel, Recruiting the ‘Right’ Talent, part of the business best practices conference track sponsored by Nextiva, will include Sam Chawkat, chief operating officer of Dynamic Networking Solutions; Troy Gelsky, director of client services for VAR Staffing; and James Laszko, chief technology officer of Mythos Technology.

We spoke with the panelists prior to the event to talk about their recruitment secrets. Their remarks are edited for clarity and brevity.

Channel Futures: How does proactively recruiting specific talent allow organizations to separate themselves from their competition?

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VAR Staffing’s Troy Gelsky

Troy Gelsky: If your organization subscribes to the idea of proactively recruiting, and your recruiting team is good at what they do, there will hopefully be a constant inflow of candidates that you are speaking with on a monthly basis. You never want to feel like you are running to catch the bus you already missed.

Sam Chawkat: You need to be always hiring and always proactively looking for talent or you will be left behind. New blood fuels creativity [and] fuels new business avenues to explore that were not explored before. It fuels culture and it fuels a little competition to strive to do better. If you are not always on the hunt for the right person, you are going to miss them through all shuffle.

CF: How should organizations find or mine such talent acquisition?

Join Gelsky, Chawkat and 100+ industry-leading speakers, more than 6,400 partners and 300+ key vendors, distributors and master agents at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, March 9-12. Register now!

TG: We remind our partners to spread the word in different ways. Mixing it up between job postings on CareerBuilder, Dice, LinkedIn and Monster, word of mouth inside your channel community, and one of the most valuable and less utilized is the compensated employee referral. We also suggest partnering with local universities and trade schools, as that is a great revolving door for “green talent.”

CF: What are some of the ways to find qualified workers when unemployment rates are low and quality candidates are not bringing themselves to your door?

TG: It’s hard to find “hidden talent” because most of what you are looking for is gainfully employed at the moment. Typically speaking, the best employees are not on the job boards posting their resumes to find a job, so you need to be proactive and have a good message to attract them to your organization.

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Dynamic Networking Solutions’ Sam Chawkat

SC: For us, it’s working with key business affiliates, working with academic institutions, having a strong internship program and offering a finder’s fee for employee referrals as well as customer referrals.

CF:  What new interviewing methods are needed when you have to go out and recruit applicants?

James Laszko: For us, adapting our process to include peer interviews was a giant leap. We’ve had many applicants wash out of the process due to a gut feel or clash with one of our existing team members. Our team feels empowered because they are listened to and we’re potentially avoiding a conflict in hiring a wrong fit.

CF: What are the right messages to put out there to attract good candidates to get them to come in to talk?

JL: In an industry that has such super low unemployment rates, it’s a tough gig. We’re not located in a major metropolitan area, so our wages are a bit lower than large cities. However, we feel that the team and company culture is the biggest driver for success for us. In our interview process we make sure to …

… engage existing staff members so that there is interaction and the ability of the candidates to have candid discussions with our team to see how we flow, and understand that it’s not all smoke and mirrors and that we really are the cool place to work that we’re telling them.

CF: What new interviewing methods are needed when you have to go out and recruit applicants?

SC: I typically have my engineer and my service coordinator first grill them on experience and scenarios to see how they think and how they can problem solve. I then meet with them to see how they fit into my culture and about whether they have the soft skills and business skills to be successful. Technology you can teach, but culture, business professional skills and customer service you cannot — they either get it or they don’t.

CF: What new things have to be done today to keep the quality talent you have while others are trying to recruit your best people away from you?

SC: People want to be heard and want to be appreciated and know that their boss has their back. Pay is pay, but if you have them so involved in culture and being part of the family, then it’s hard for them to leave. In addition, keep thinking outside the box and stop trying to run a company the old-fashioned way. Just because you have an office, don’t force your team to have to show up there. Let them work wherever, but when they do show up make sure it’s a fun and relaxing environment.

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Mythos Technology’s James Laszko

JL: When a team member believes they are part of the company and are vital to its success, it’s a huge thing. We work every day to empower our people to make a difference and help grow them along their career paths.

TG: To keep qualified assets on your team, you need to be prepared to come to the table with a solid offer and try to avoid a low-ball offer at all costs. Then perform semiannual or quarterly performance reviews to ensure your employees are hitting their marks. Have an open-door policy to ensure all employees have access to leadership and make sure that team members should not be afraid to sit down with leadership and ownership to discuss whatever is on their minds. Provide continued education and training, paid for by the company with stipulations, to encourage all employees to keep a vertical trajectory as this can help most avoid complacency, and provide remote work-from-home opportunities for some workers who are capable and skilled enough to strive in that environment. Lastly, provide a fun office environment to encourage a cohesive workplace, so add the typical perks like a fully stocked kitchen and coffee bar, floating holidays, team building events, having birthdays off, providing a fitness or gym discount, bring-your-dog-to-work days and more.

CF: What are the best ways to get the right candidates and the right hires for the jobs that you have?

JL: We’ve always felt a multiprong approach is the best way — work our local markets via Indeed or ZipRecruiter and leverage our partnerships with staffing and recruiting companies. Unemployment rates are low. We need to find a way to get in front of the quality folks we want working with us. Once we get in front of them, we believe we’ve got the secret sauce to appeal to them, but getting in front of the people is the hardest part of the process.

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About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and eWEEK.com, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

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