3 Steps to Improving Technical Recruiting in Cutting Edge Industries

At the recently concluded CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Dick Tracy’s wristwatch phones came ever closer to reality.

A plethora of companies introduced new products. Pebble Technology Corporation, Kreyos Inc., Qualcomm Inc., Archose SA, PH Technical Labs Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. all launched new smartwatches.

Unfortunately, there was very little differentiation among the products.  Furthermore, most of the offerings were either too bulky or didn’t offer enough battery life to entice many consumers to adopt.

In order to succeed in this or any new, cutting-edge technology industry, it is critical adopt a very thorough executive recruitment process.

This will ensure that your internal management recruiters and outside executive recruiting firms will acquire the most innovative engineers, scientists, IT and technical professionals capable of developing the finest, future applications that will make your products stand out from the competition.

Unfortunately, when a new category is launched, few candidates exist that have all the skills necessary for success in that field. Therefore, it is counterproductive to focus executive recruitment only upon recruiting competitor’s talent. Instead, you need to be very creative in your engineering, scientific, IT and technical recruiting methodologies.

The secret to executive recruitment success is a 3-step approach.

First, we recommend a thorough analysis of what products and applications your competitors are currently offering and are projected to offer in the near future. For example, Pebble is the early trendsetter in stylish smart watches with plans for a $249 watch made from stainless steel to complement its original plastic design. This is contrasted by Samsung’s $299 Galaxy Gear, which has a camera on a wrist strap and a color touch screen on the watch face. This is further differentiated by Qualcomm, a big maker of cellphone chips, offering the $349 Toq, which includes a color display technology known as Mirasol, that is designed to draw very little power and can run for multiple days on a single charge!

Second, we recommend identifying both: a) the skill sets necessary for future success in your cutting-edge field and b) your company’s talent weaknesses with respect to that critical area. Then proceed with engineering, scientific, IT and technical recruiting to bolster those weaknesses. For example, many analysts believe that software will drive smart watch success. To that end, Archos, best known for creating portable media players and tablets, is focusing its strategy on developing its own apps instead of relying upon outside developers. If your company wanted to adopt a similar strategy, but were weak in software development, then it would be critical to benchmark companies worldwide, regardless of industry, that are leaders in software development. Then identify and recruit the top performers at those companies.

Finally, you need to ensure that all those involved in your executive recruitment process are “on the same page.” This means when interviewing and screening top performers, you should detail exactly what: a) questions your team will be asking candidates b) skill sets you will be trying to uncover c) metrics you will using to evaluate candidates and d) salaries, bonuses and perks you will be offering. One useful tool is mock interviewing sessions. Videotape these sessions to see what your executive recruitment team does right and wrong. Then spend a lot of time correcting those errors before you begin your actual interview process. This will ensure synergy in your executive recruiting process and increase the probability that you will be able to land star performers you desire.

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