Many companies are desperately looking for IT specialists and launch the craziest marketing campaigns. Paradoxically, they often forget to take the perspective of their target group. What are common IT recruiting mistakes?

Recently at a start-up event: a young developer, incidentally in a permanent position at a company, complained to me: "Oh those stupid recruiters, they're always annoying you on Xing with their requests, you can't get rid of them!" A labour market survey by the IT industry association BITKOM shows that in Germany alone, around 55,000 IT positions remain unfilled every year. In Austria, 61,000 people are employed in the IT sector (as of 2016), according to the Vienna Economic Chamber's Business Consultancy and Information Technology Association. Several thousand IT positions are unfilled in this country. Depending on the source, estimates vary between 3,000 and 5,000.

So it's no wonder that quite a few headhunters are trying to approach potential candidates via social networks - and persuade them to change jobs. Active sourcing, as this method is called, is popular, but not uncontroversial in professional circles, especially because of its relevance to data protection law. However, there are other reasons why many developers now see recruiters as a red rag: The way they are approached.

IT staff annoyed by HR staff

This does not mean large-scale posters with code formulas that lead to an application page - a campaign recently carried out by the Düsseldorf-based company Trivago, which at best caused a sneer from the target group. Rather, it is about the way in which the entire communication with potential applicants is organised.

There are studies on this: For a study, the Centre of Human Resources Information Systems (CHRIS) at the University of Bamberg, together with the career platform Monster, surveyed the top 1,000 companies and the 300 largest companies in the IT sector in Germany. The results were compared with the results of user behaviour and the assessments of more than 2,800 candidates.

The survey shows how applicants are approached: IT specialists in particular are downright annoyed by recruiters or headhunters because they receive too many uninteresting enquiries with unsuitable, standardised approaches or even fear that their current employer will notice this. As a result IT Recruitingtwo out of ten applicants avoid the channel in future, 16 per cent delete such messages without reading them and men in particular talk badly about spammers. Not good self-marketing for companies looking for employees.

The developer platform Stack Overflow surveys around 100,000 developers from 183 countries and regions every year about their education, future plans, preferred technologies and expectations of their job and employer. Salary is a high priority for most respondents, but flexible working hours, work-life balance and development opportunities also play an important role for developers when choosing their employer. IT recruiting mistakes

The type of approach is decisive in IT recruiting

Here, too, the approach is crucial, as Stefan Schwarzgruber, responsible for business development in the DACH market at Stack Overflow, explains: "Developers and recruiters are fundamentally different types of people; according to a survey, twelve per cent of developers even find recruiters annoying." If you want to attract developers, you should therefore take a close look at previous projects in advance and refer to them in your cover letter. "The candidate should realise that you value their work and person. A flippant marketing approach along the lines of 'coding guru wanted' is of little use. It's better to be specific about the job description, salary and experience of the desired candidate," recommends Schwarzgruber.

However, it is possible that the pressure to find IT specialists is not yet high enough for many companies: I'm just thinking of the heated discussion surrounding IT entrepreneur Illja Maditsch, a doctor of virology, computer scientist and founder of the Research-Gate network of scientists. He attended a meeting and photo session of the Digital Council with German Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing shorts and a Superman cap. If Mr Maditsch had appeared like this for a job interview, some HR managers would probably have rejected him immediately despite the alleged shortage of skilled workers.

Training and further education opportunities are also a constant topic of discussion among employers. This is because they often want to invest as little as possible in the further development of their IT employees in particular, for fear that the competition will then poach them. At the same time, however, too little credit is given to personal initiative: more than 90 per cent of the developers surveyed in the Stack Overflow survey stated that they had taught themselves new programming languages, frameworks or tools outside of their formal training. This makes sense, because the speed at which technology is developing today means that it is not part of any curriculum. However, German employers in particular find it difficult to recognise alternative educational paths such as online courses and programming experience as equivalent to a degree. However, this would significantly increase their candidate pool. As long as companies continue to operate with such blind spots in recruiting, the shortage of skilled labour does not seem to be great enough. IT recruiting mistakes

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