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Case Study: How to Recruit Tech Talent for Hard-to-fill Roles

Clicks quickly fills two crucial IT security roles for Government

Background and Challenge

Clicks IT Recruitment was contacted by an Australian Government-Owned Corporation to recruit a Network Security Engineer and a Senior Network Security Engineer. Our experience and research told us that, over the last five years, organisations have consistently found IT Security roles to be some of the most difficult to recruit.

In addition to the task of recruiting two IT Security professionals, our client had specific requirements including:

  • Negative Vetting 1 Security Clearance;
  • Prior experience in the design and deployment of network security solutions, specifically in firewall technologies, with the skills to support mission-critical systems;
  • Experience in Palo Alto Networks, Check Point, F5, IronPort, RSA, and Blue Coat;
  • Citrix Access Gateway and Infoblox certifications and/or industry experience;
  • CISSP® or ISSEP® certifications;
  • Qualifications in Engineering or Information Technology.

While each full-time position could be based in Canberra, Melbourne, or Brisbane, there was a further challenge, with both positions being released to market on 30 November and closing on 6 January. Falling over Christmas and New Year means candidates are less active in their job seeking efforts, as well as less inclined to change jobs.

Clicks’ Solution

Clicks organised a meeting with the hiring manager, the Network Security Lead, to obtain detailed information about the role requirements. These included ideal candidate behaviours, foreseen challenges in the role, team fit, and how superior performance and cultural add was defined. Clicks’ internal structure, whereby each Consultant has responsibility for nurturing and growing talent communities in designated skill verticals, enabled us to have an informed peer-to-peer discussion about the technical aspects of each role. We exchanged knowledge about the competitor landscape and potential targets to fill each role. Clicks proposed sourcing strategies including headhunting and other channels known to be successful.

We facilitated a discovery exercise with the hiring manager around reasons why individuals would be attracted to the roles, upcoming projects, the culture of the team and organisation, along with benefits offered by the organisation. We also requested the hiring manager highlight the specific attitudinal and behavioural traits required for these niche technical roles. From our experience in recruiting permanent vacancies for IT Security professionals, we knew the importance of thorough consultation. Being armed with the right information would aid our delivery of a successful and prompt recruitment outcome.

With over 30 years specialising in IT recruitment and offices across Australia, the team at Clicks was able to leverage its understanding of the IT candidate market to focus this recruitment strategy, and subsequent success, on the Canberra region. The team planned a sourcing campaign based on previous experience recruiting similar roles, targeting both active and passive candidates in the ACT market.

To do this, Clicks embarked on an advertising campaign incorporating SEEK, LinkedIn, and the Clicks website. We took extra care to compose detailed, descriptive advertisements using gender neutral language to attract the right behavioural fit and not just the skills. In conjunction with this approach, Clicks used Boolean search tactics to find passive candidates using LinkedIn Recruiter, SEEK Talent Search, and Clicks’ specialist semantic search tools.

To prepare for the candidate interviews we would conduct before recommending anyone to our client, Clicks composed a bespoke series of job-specific behavioural, technical and general questions. These ensured candidates had the required breadth and depth of information skills, experience and the right personal attributes. A focal point for Clicks was ascertaining the candidates’ motivations for job seeking and understanding their interest, and subsequent commitment, to the opportunities.

As anticipated, suitable candidates were hard to find for both roles. The Network Security Engineer advertisement didn’t attract any suitable candidates. LinkedIn Recruiter and SEEK Talent Search however proved more fruitful. Clicks connected with over twenty candidates, five of whom were deemed suitable after our detailed assessment process. These five candidates were subsequently submitted to the client via its prescribed internal process by the closing date in early January.

Outcome and Benefits

The hiring manager contacted Clicks to organise interviews with all five candidates in mid-January. Three candidates had progressed to final stage panel interview by the first week of February, and Clicks candidates were appointed for both positions. Due to delay with the client’s process, the successful candidate for the Senior Network Security Engineer position did not commence until mid-May. Clicks maintained ongoing contact with this individual for a period of six months from initial contact to ensure they were not lost to another opportunity as the job market began to pick up in the new year. As a result, both candidates started in their positions as planned.

As part of our standard recruitment service, our team conducts formal post-placement checks with all placed candidates and clients. Feedback from this hiring manager has been very positive. Both individuals are considered high performers, with a good attitude, organisationally-aligned values, and a great cultural add. Feedback from both Security professionals is that they are happy, performing well, and comfortable in their role. Both parties are extremely satisfied with the level of service from Clicks, stating that the communication and expectations set by our consultants lived up to what was promised.

Looking to hire IT Staff?

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Clicks specialises in IT recruitment. Our recruiters average 12 years of industry experience, and we’re on over 80 Preferred Supplier Agreements. As Australia’s favourite IT recruiter, employers all across Australia trust us to find great people.

We have specialist teams who are trained across each IT skill vertical. Whether it’s permanent, contract, fixed-term, master vendor, or payroll only, we’ve ready to help. Register a Vacancy or contact us on 1300 CLICKS today for a confidential chat.

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