Landing digital talent: what organisations and job candidates demand from one another

The war for digital talent has officially started. But you cannot hire just anybody – you need someone who has a general understanding of the business and a genuine interest for technology. However, according to a recent survey from CapGemini, the problem is that over 90% of companies lack the necessary digital skills to survive in today’s market.

It seems that the biggest problem is finding someone who has profound knowledge of an area that is practically non-existent in your organisation. However, assessing someone’s skills is easier said than done.

According to OMI’s State of Digital Marketing Talent report, around 30% of Fortune 500 companies and almost 25% of smaller agencies don’t know how to distinguish between candidates with the right skills and those without them. It’s a matter of fact that most people are presenting themselves as experts, regardless of their actual experience.

Recognising top talent

So, what can you do to help your organisation recognise the right digital talent? Well, the wisest thing to do is to look at the latest hiring trends, and see what other small start-ups and companies are looking for, and how they’re assessing their candidates and recruits.

Looking for a culture fit

The first thing most executives and owners are concerned with is finding digital talent that reflects the unique culture of their organisation. Research has shown that people who fit well into their organisations generally perform better and are more likely to stay with the same company for a long period.

Shared values

During the first few years of your company, it’s vital to develop a strong brand vision, along with a number of values and different characteristics that embody this. These values have to extend to the workers the company employs as well.

People willing to experiment

In most cases, start-ups have a flat infrastructure. This basically means that there is always little time, and/or lack of resources to guide new employees and wait for them to adapt to their workflow. For that reason, many start-ups rely on new employees to be able to show initiative.

Why digital talent won’t work for you

Of course, once you find the right employees, the battle isn’t over. Not by a long shot.

You see, top digital specialists often go to the highest bidder – and this is becoming increasingly common, thanks to the growing digital skills gap. According to LinkedIn findings, 42% of their users left a job they would have stayed in if there was more opportunity for them.

So why doesn’t digital talent want to work at certain companies?

Trial-and-error is belittled

Employees want the freedom to try out new ideas. This allows them to take the initiative, make big decisions and eventually, learn from their mistakes. By encouraging this type of learning, you will also demonstrate that you have an inspiring entrepreneurial spirit.

Bad structure

According to Pew Research Center, one-in-three American workers today are millennials and last year, they surpassed Gen X and became the largest share of the US workforce. In Australia, things are very similar. These young men and women need to have a clear path for unrestrained career development that’s based on accomplishments and merit – not years spent.

Too much bureaucracy

Even if the rest of your company functions like that, you cannot afford to let it spill into your digital department. If you slow down their momentum with too much paperwork, your employees will see a clear signal that you aren’t willing to adapt. Even small things, like staff scheduling software that creates a seamless flow of information between you and your employees, will help you retain top talent.

Final thoughts

Bringing the right talent on board is important for any company; however, start-ups in particular cannot afford to make any hiring mistakes in the beginning. Lack of recognition and resources can sometimes make it difficult for you to lure the best talent available.

So, as noted earlier, you need to look at the new trends, and learn how to adapt. Modern employees are not motivated by doing the same thing you did yesterday in a digital manner. Expecting your new employees to subvert to your old routines will only create discontent in your organization.

About the author

Nate Vickery is a business technology expert and an online author. His main passion is helping start-ups and SMBs in streamlining their business process and reaching their potential. Nate is the Executive editor at

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