Young people who are in their last year of university or have just finished their technical studies are familiar with the latest technologies and tools and are sincerely passionate about IT, coding and creating software products. They could be an engine for an IT startup, that’s why it is important to know how you can win them on your team, how they should be treated at your company, what makes them enthusiastic, what puts them off and how can you keep them long term.
I asked Ovidiu Tudor, senior IT specialist at Endava, to share advice about attracting and keeping young talent long term. Ovidiu is software test lead, line manager and pre-sales consultant. He has a 12-year background in IT, he has experience in interviewing candidates, organizing training programs for interns and graduates and onboarding new team members.
Table of Contents
- How To Attract The Best Coders and Developers
- 1. The hiring interview and the first months
- 2. Use modern tools and technologies on projects
- 3. Try to minimize stress at work
- 4. Create excitement during working hours and after working hours
- 5. Make sure your management team doesn’t come across as disconnected
- 6. Value employees
- 7. Keeping young talent long-term: paycheck and a clear career path
How To Attract The Best Coders and Developers
1. The hiring interview and the first months
Smart and talented young people who are looking for a job in IT are aware of their value and can easily find a job at a number of companies. So you should pay attention to how you treat them during the interview and during the first months at the company so that they don’t only decide to stay, but also recommend the company to their friends.
Ovidiu Tudor: “During the interview, they should be treated with respect while their actual competencies and potential for growth are evaluated, and in the first months they should enjoy a solid and honest working environment, where they have the opportunity to grow. They should feel that they are part of a strong environment that fosters innovation and promotes the over achievers.”
As to the ease of getting a good job, Ovidiu adds: “In the current climate there are indeed a lot of open opportunities, however, sadly I might add some of them base the employee retention on money alone. While that might prove to be a decisive factor when signing an offer, without the right amount of challenge and proper level of support on the management side, young employees will not actually get to develop into the full-fledged specialists they should normally become.”
2. Use modern tools and technologies on projects
Ovidiu Tudor: “You cannot keep employees happy and productive, while using outdated technologies that actually decrease the employees’ market advantage. I usually find that young people are very attracted by the latest technologies and are more willing to try and experiment new platforms, frameworks, programming languages than the seasoned employees.”
3. Try to minimize stress at work
In today’s hectic world, everybody wants things done yesterday, customers want more in less time, as they face fierce competition in their industry. They want to deliver richer products in a shorter time to market and this translates into a lot of pressure on the IT delivery teams to make miracles overnight.
Ovidiu Tudor: “I think it’s on the management team and the team leads to make sure that a relaxed environment is maintained during the working hours. They should try as much as possible to relieve and absorb any unnecessary pressure from demanding customers. It is the management team’s responsibility to triage the demands and if the customer context isn’t ok, the company should think twice before engaging that customer.”
4. Create excitement during working hours and after working hours
Today’s IT young generation are not geeks who just study and write code, they also want to enjoy life and have fun. An IT startup should come up with initiatives to create fun moments during working hours and after work.
Ovidiu Tudor: “There are a multitude of events that can be organized inside the company, ranging from gaming night events, short team buildings, movie nights, hackathons, innovation events and various other challenges and events that bring the employees together. During working hours, there is always the usual game room where people can enjoy themselves, but other than that I would say that it’s very difficult to mix fun with the regular work.”
5. Make sure your management team doesn’t come across as disconnected
A good manager is there to listen to the employees, to motivate them, to solve their problems, to mitigate their conflicts and offer them opportunities to grow. The well-being of employees should be their priority and they should understand that their success is never bigger than their employees’ success. You don’t want disconnected managers in your company, who “don’t value the employees and don’t invest at all in their growth, but just want to sit in a higher chair.” – Ovidiu Tudor.
6. Value employees
Ideally employees should feel respected and treasured at work. It is recommended that leads and managers give positive feedback when major milestones are reached, when IT products are successfully delivered to production, when the customer is content.
Ovidiu Tudor: “ What matters the most for an employee is to feel appreciated, and not just a piece of the machinery. Generally employees tend to avoid body shopping companies, or companies that hire mercenaries, guys that are there just to do a job and get paid. If a company is to prosper, it should start putting value on the employees as much as possible.”
7. Keeping young talent long-term: paycheck and a clear career path
Young employees will only decide to stay long-term at an IT company if they are well paid, according to the market standards, and if they have a clear career path ahead of them.
“If I were to pick two factors, I would say in the short term money and technologies and in the long term a stable career. Employee age plays an important role, as younger individuals tend to be more volatile and look more toward a bigger paycheck and new challenges and technologies, while more seasoned employees tend to look for a stable environment where they can develop and grow toward senior positions.” – Ovidiu Tudor.