It’s no secret that the IT recruitment market is experiencing something of a skills shortage. Around 70% of UK tech employers say they currently have vacancies they can’t fill.
The best solution – and indeed a sound recruitment strategy in general – is to hire candidates that are the best cultural fit for your organisation. Then to train them in the technical skills they need.
Yet, even more so than other new hires, candidates you recruit for their soft skills need a targeted training process if they’re to quickly become equipped to help your business succeed.
How to train new hires recruited for soft skills
1) Deliver training and onboarding
Most modern businesses place a sensibly high priority on matching new hires to their established company culture.
However, this can sometimes result in more emphasis being placed on processes that are strictly more onboarding than training.
The difference between the two is important for those recruiting for IT and engineering jobs to have in the forefront of their minds:
- Onboarding – introduces your new hire to the culture of your workplace. It may also provide them with relevant resources relating to their role.
- Training – gives them the skills they need to achieve the tasks they will need to accomplish in their working day.
2) Institute mentors and shadowing
New hires always have questions. Often, they have lots of them. Mentors and shadowing ensure they can get the answers they need without guesswork or reticence getting in the way.
A mentor should not be the same as a trainer. The mentor is there to field questions that arise after training, often those related to daily working processes and culture.
Shadowing builds on the mentoring process by demonstrating how you want a new hire to work. “Show don’t tell” is a solid training maxim.
You might also consider having a new hire shadow a variety of meetings, even those not directly related to their role. This helps them gain a wider awareness of how your company does things.
3) Make expectations clear
“So what do I do now?” is rarely a question you want a new hire to have to ask themselves.
Your orientation process should make your expectations and Standard Operating Procedures clear. What do they need to be doing? How do you need them to do it?
Aim to answer these questions from day one. You then have your mentoring and shadowing processes to continue to fill in and report back on any blanks.
4) Check in and offer feedback regularly
One of the ways that new hires tend to “fall through the gaps”, becoming a problem rather than a positive influence on a business, is that no one thought to check in on their progress.
Leaving a newcomer to their own devices might let them demonstrate their initiative. However, it’s a hit-and-miss way to get the results you’re looking for.
A mentor or trainer should check in with new hires at least twice a week for their first few months on the job. Making these a planned and scheduled part of the process is another way of managing expectations.
At given intervals, you might also want to plan how you can deliver (gentle and encouraging) feedback to new team members before they get stuck in unproductive new habits.
5) Be transparent about culture
One part of the IT recruitment process that always rewards openness is what you say about your company culture. Especially if you’re recruiting with a culture-first mindset, it’s no good not being transparent about the culture you want a candidate to fit.
Some organisations end up hiring candidates in a rush to fill a seat. This overlooks the cost of hiring someone who ends up not being the right match for your workplace. Hits to your brand reputation and bottom line caused by poorly fitting new hires often far outlast the candidate themselves.
Being transparent and having a proper vetting procedure for new hires is critical. That’s why so many businesses work with specialist IT recruitment companies.
Even if you’re hiring people that are the right cultural fit though, proper training for new “soft skill” hires is vital if you want them to become the productive members of your team they have the potential to be.
Need to ensure your recruitment process delivers the right person for the job?
Let’s talk it through. Ernest Gordon is a specialist engineering and IT recruitment agency. Our market-leading AI recruitment technology pairs your opportunity with the best candidates in our extensive talent pool.
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