Tech talent, How finance plays a crucial role in the hiring process

22nd July, 2019

The role of a CFO is ever changing in the modern digital enterprise and crunching the numbers is just a small part of their remit. Resourcing and the tech hiring process is another back office function that can benefit from their input.

Our CFO Matthew Hardill has written for Financial Director website on the role finance has to play.

Skills Shortage.

It has been well-documented that the UK is suffering from a major skills shortage – something which greatly affects both the financial and tech sectors.

Businesses operating in these fields can find it difficult to resource the talent they need – in order to take their organisations forward – and many struggle to tackle the huge obstacle they continue to face when challenging the skills gap.

As a result, the real urgency to recruit the creative minds and team players who embed themselves within these industries has proved to be a major stumbling block – and a pressurised situation – for many firms, despite the range of advantages both sectors provide to the UK economy.

It is of no great surprise that finance has a vital part to play when it comes to resourcing the smart collaborators of this world, to identify the savviest candidates – who can hit the ground running straightaway – for the firms that seek them.

Like many other commonalities that the two arenas occupy, finance does have a major hand in just how successful – or not – a tech hire can be, too. It is a department that can forecast how detrimental the incorrect hire can be towards the company’s development, and how such decisions can often cost a business extra time and money, as a result.

Stripping back the key areas required throughout the recruitment process, finance professionals are integral in providing managers with a set resource, to ensure their hiring strategy is cost-effective, water-tight, and beneficial for growth aspirations. And, by setting the right budget from the outset, this can prove to be vital in how the new recruit’s employment may eventually play out.

Using resources wisely to glean the best employees.

Communicating the financial status from the very beginning helps underline exactly what the company needs from a tech professional, and what they should be putting forward to formalise a solid budgetary plan.

Once that information is gleaned, financial departments are armed with the cash flow knowledge for the business and are able to provide concrete support regarding what kind of person is needed for the firm – and at what cost.

In addition, the hiring team must also understand how the tech industry takes a ‘modern-day approach’ to daily working tasks. For example, it is becoming extremely popular for digital employees to provide their services on a contracted basis and specialise in short-term projects.

Operating in this way not only allows freelancers to work to specific timescales, but they can finish tasks quickly, whilst remaining agile in a fast-paced industry that is ever-evolving.

So, whilst that does mean that managers have to factor in the possibility of introducing a project-based employment model – if they have not already – they must also be open to the prospect of paying a premium price for temporary employees with a high skillset.

However, what organisations receive in return for the outlay, is a colleague who is ‘the top of the crop’, extremely professional, and possessing the technical nous to seamlessly transition from day one – all of which can be crucial for swift, efficient operational growth.

It is therefore, vitally important that companies choose the best budget for the job vacancy that they need to fill – and do not risk paying a lower cost for someone who cannot complete the task to the same standard. Management should be willing to pay for quality over quantity, if it ultimately benefits the company.

Drawing up a hiring plan.

Businesses should always look ahead and utilise forecast analysis, in order to provide the necessary insight to help with recruitment. This can prove to be critical – especially when navigating the peaks and troughs that the tech sector experiences.

With such data gained from the finance team’s research, that feedback allows them to tailor their hiring process – ensuring it is completed in a suitable timescale, is strategically planned and is not rolled out during times of flux in the industry.

Determining these factors can help teams to clearly map out the steps in which they resource talent – from the initial scope of finding the best recruit, to paying for the candidate’s work at the very end of the process.

Many financial professionals – with experience of the tech industry – will also be aware of employees often using an external agency, to handle their contracted roles. Having such a support allows both candidates and organisations to glean a detailed insight into the skills needed, to ultimately ensure that the best talent joins the right firm.

And all of these factors should be considered when finalising the overall plan.

Understanding the requirement to hire specific technical attributes.

Considering all of the points mentioned so far, it is extremely important to acknowledge that a financer’s help does not always come down to simply providing budget data and forecasting – although these are key aspects – because their responsibility encompasses so much more than that.

What this department also offers for the tech industry is an understanding of whysuch specific attributes must be brought into a business to help it progress. Firstly, financial employees may have gone through a similar process to that which digital workers have faced – achieving accreditations and base skills – in order to enter the field in the first place.

Due to this, so they should therefore possess a greater knowledge of what makes a stand-out recruit, as well as provide a strong support for managers during the hiring process.

Additionally, it is important for firms to work alongside its finance, in order to introduce an efficient budget for training and development opportunities within the firm. Having a training programme in place can help meet the demands of innovation and attract top talent who have aspirations to upskill. Further educational opportunities should enable companies to stay ahead of the curve and enhance their in-house capabilities.

Communicating with the finance team to provide the details needed when introducing a savvy training programme – and one which places a real emphasis on a supportive, learning culture embedded within the organisation – can also go some way to addressing the UK skills shortage.

Not underestimating the power of personality.

However, it’s not just about academia. The tech industry attracts the modern-day employee – someone who may not work a traditional 9-5, is creative and a collaborator, a great communicator and excellent team player.

Such soft skills are often deemed more crucial than qualifications to many organisations, and therefore should never be overlooked.

Why? Because the sector is based around a culture which thrives on people working smartly in diverse groups with a range of personalities, contributing their skills towards innovation and major digital disruption. If people are not willing to work as a team with many other voices, they may ultimately struggle in the tech industry.

The same can be said for finance too. Professionals in this arena can prove to be key negotiators and communicators between staff and c-suite. They must therefore possess personable and approachable traits, as well as be knowledgeable on the sector they operate in, to provide clear guidance when organisations are hiring.

In addition, those who are able to adapt to vast change within an unpredictable area, are vital in helping businesses to attract the very best talent.

Firms cannot afford for recruitment to suffer, and stall – it can be a lengthy process and difficult to get absolutely right. Therefore, the finance department must be in a position to make strong, quick decisions that are resource-driven, and which react positively – to complement how fast-paced technology develops daily.

A calm approach from the team, regarding the business’s financial status – whilst being able to action and align the company’s objectives and communicate those interlinking processes effectively – can often prove to be a ‘must-have’ for many technical firms.

So, it is not always all about how money and budgeting play a direct role. It can often be more about the support and advice organisations receive from their finance team, in order to stay ahead of the curve.

In conclusion.

There is vast importance in getting the financial side of recruitment absolutely correct because it can be a lengthy, complex and costly prospect, if the strategic planning is not done well.

It is also important to factor in how finding the right personality to fit the best firm is also crucial – something a resourcing tech talent agent can take charge of to speed up the process, and support organisations by enabling them to focus on other tasks.

When bringing all of the above points together, it is important for companies to involve finance throughout the entire recruitment process so they can not only provide budgetary advice, but are able to guide, feedback, and offer assurance and knowledge – so businesses can retain true tech talent.

You cna find the article in full on the Financial Director website

Learn more about our Leadership team.

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