How to recruit for experience when the technology is new

The digital landscape is changing fast, so how do you find candidates with experience in technology that's only just emerging?

A flexible approach

There is no doubt that technology has changed the face of recruitment over recent years. Technology has also made it easier for recruiters to reach out to the best talent across the globe, as well as introducing a wealth of new assessment techniques.

But new technology obviously raises issues of its own which need to be resolved. When innovative technologies first emerge it's inevitable that the talent pool for candidates will be small. In some cases, only those involved in the development of the new processes will have an in-depth knowledge of how they work or what they might be capable of. These factors will necessitate a more flexible approach where new technology recruitment is concerned.

Personality over experience

It goes without saying that experience alone is seldom the defining factor when choosing the right candidate for a role. An employee's experience can easily be overshadowed by a poor attitude or lack of commitment, and what seemed like a safe bet could fall at the first hurdle. So, while personality has always been an essential element of the recruitment process when it comes to new technology, it may need to be assigned even greater significance.

Alongside experience, recruiters are looking for specific core skills in their candidates. These might include time management, commitment, a willingness to learn new skills and a desire to succeed. Such attributes may be of more long-term benefit to a business than a detailed knowledge of emerging technology. Recruiters should also feel reassured if a candidate can validate their learning skills by providing evidence of a previous study. If related to existing technologies, this could give the candidate a definite edge.

Learning together

According to a 2016 report by Indeed, 86 percent of recruiters surveyed said it was a challenge to find and hire tech talent. Research in 2018 also revealed that only 11 percent of UK employers were not expecting a shortage of skilled technology professionals over the next 12 months. Even if you find yourself an experienced candidate, to enter a new role and hit the ground running at full speed is almost impossible.

Every company does things differently, using a diverse range of software and applying their own individual processes and procedures. Expecting someone to step in and understand it all immediately is a big ask. In such circumstances - and particularly where new technology is concerned - the blank slate approach could be the right one. If technology is untried and untested, learning together could be of huge benefit to the workforce as a whole. And what benefits the workforce generally benefits the company. This shared experience may become a key element of new technology recruitment.

Transferable skills

Most new technologies are built on the shoulders of those that have gone before. Hence, it is seldom the case that a newly developed process is completely standalone, and some technological crossover with pre-existing systems is likely. Even if the new technology operates differently and has different objectives, experience within that general field would clearly be an advantage.

A technically knowledgeable candidate with skills in critical thinking will be able to apply that experience to new challenges. At the same time, many of the technical skills required to become proficient in one discipline are likely to be applicable to another. Familiarity with common digital tools and processes could give a candidate a clear lead, as these are the kind of skills that could be transferred to new technology research, etc. Integrating new technology to benefit the company will be key to those businesses who adopt it first. The best candidates to help develop that technology are likely to be those with a track record in similar processes.

The right fit

When it comes to that all-important recruitment decision, it's perhaps not surprising that we find ourselves returning to that elusive condition we refer to as personality. In other words, is the candidate the right fit for your company? We've already discussed applicants' commitment and willingness to learn, but more importantly, what is the candidate really like as a person? Will they integrate well with the existing workforce and add value to the business?

Bringing the applicant into the workplace to meet potential colleagues will considerably improve the candidate experience. It also allows recruiters to make a better assessment of how well the prospective employee would blend with the company culture. Most businesses make use of social media pages to find out more about candidates, and such sources can provide an insight into their lives away from work. This, too, can be critical in deciding whether or not a candidate is the right person for the role on offer.

When it comes to new technology recruitment, using all the means at your disposal will help you make the right choice. Whether your approach to recruiting for new technology involves identifying transferable skills or evaluating the personality of the candidates, European Recruitment is able to help you to find talented applicants. By using our experience and tailoring our strategy, our team has filled many positions in new technology areas.

For more information and advice on recruiting for new technology, please get in touch with us today.


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