Should IT Managers Get Their Team To Blog?

Blogging takes time, should IT managers ask their team to do this?
Blogging takes time, should IT managers ask their team to do this?
Image Credit: xioubin low

When the economy is doing well, one part of an IT manager’s job suddenly become a lot harder: recruiting new talent. The people that you would like to join your team are getting perhaps better offers from other firms. It’s your responsibility to use your IT manager skills to make joining your team look like a job candidate’s best choice. How do you plan on making this happen?

The Best Way To Recruit Is With An Engineering Blog

One of the biggest challenges that IT managers face when they try to get the attention of high quality job candidates is that it is just so hard to actually get their attention. Yes, you can run ads and show up at job fairs, but in all honesty you will probably just be part of the background noise from their point of view. What you are missing is a way to stand out.

What you’d really like to have happen is for high quality candidates to find your company and agree to join your team. In order for this to happen, you need to show these candidates all of the cool things that your team is doing. The challenge here is that you can’t really invite everyone that you want to join your team to drop by and spend a few days peering over the shoulders of your best workers. There’s no IT manager training that tells us how to solve this problem. You need another approach.

What a number of IT managers are finding that seems to work is to create an engineering blog. The purpose of this blog is to provide your best engineers with a way to tell the world about the clever ways that they are solving the problems that they are encountering. The clever job candidates will find your blog. They will read the blog, start to feel as though they know the people who are working on your team, and with a little luck they’ll decide that they want to join your team!

Dangers Of Blogging Too Much

There’s no doubt about it, creating an engineering blog is a very powerful tool. One of the things that you need to be aware of is that this blog may never attract a very large reader base. It turns out that this is ok. You are really targeting a very specific subset of people out there in order to get skilled IT professionals to want to join your team. There are not a lot of these people on the market. As long as they are reading your engineering blog, then you are all taken care of and you don’t need big numbers.

One of the big questions that you’ll have to deal with from the start of the creation of your engineering blog is what to put into it. In all honesty, your engineers are probably pretty busy and asking any one of them to update the blog once a week is probably asking too much. Instead, what seems to work better to enlist a group of your best engineers, developers, and programmers to all take turns making contributions to the engineering blog. This seems to work out better with everyone’s hectic schedule.

There is, of course, one thing that always has to be kept in mind. There is the possibility that one of your technical professionals could end up sharing too much on the engineering blog. There are certain aspects of your products and how your company does business that you’d like to keep secret. The best way to make sure that your secrets don’t slip out the door is to ensure that the blog entries get read and reviewed by multiple people before they ever get posted on the blog.

What All Of This Means For You

A good economy means that IT managers are going to have to get involved in the hiring process. The best candidates will have offers from other firms and so this means that if you want them to select both your company and your team to join, then you are going to have to convince them that this is the place that they want to work.

A great way to go about doing this is to have members of your team publish an engineering blog. Have them describe some the challenges that they have been facing and how they went about solving them. By doing this you’ll start to attract the engineering talent that you’ve been looking for. You can think of this as a form of IT team building. Blogs can be difficult to maintain and you’ll have to be extra careful to make sure that none of the content is information that you wouldn’t want to have released to the world.

Attracting and hiring the right staff for your team is never an easy job. When the pool of candidates becomes smaller, you have to work harder. Using the talent that you currently have to create an engineering blog in order to attract new talent is a great idea. Just keep your eyes open and make sure that you understand everything that gets posted!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How often do you think your engineering blog should be updated? Daily? Weekly?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

it’s not a pleasant part of the job, but there will come a time where you have a need to terminate one of the members of your IT team. There can be a whole host of reasons for this: poor work performance, companywide layoffs, theft, etc. When it comes time to let this person go, do you have the IT manager skills to know the right (and wrong) way to go about doing it?

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