IT Talent Bandwidth IS Limited. What Should You Do About It?

For managers who have been convinced by the struggling economy that great IT candidates have been and will remain plentiful, here's a piercing wake up call. In December 2010, The Conference Board reported that online job postings for computer and mathematical occupations were up 56% from the year prior. Meanwhile, TechServe Alliance released its IT Employment Index reporting IT sector job growth for the 13th consecutive month and CareerBuilder found in its annual job forecast that of companies in hiring mode, 26% plan to add IT jobs to their rosters.

Employers Beware
What's the message behind the numbers? The moment for strategic technology hiring is here. Rather than doing more with less as the Great Recession demanded, IT organizations now have the opportunity to add critical skills and resources to their teams. However, making the right hires in an environment that is swinging from an employer's market to a job seeker's market is a challenge. Very few employers have the kind of big hiring bonuses and generous perks recruiters could leverage in the heydays of IT hiring, and it is unlikely that we will see these types of incentives returning.

To help employers seeking highly skilled technology professionals in this time of transition, STAR BASE Consulting offers three important recruitment tips to ensure that businesses hire talent that meets their technical requirements, their budget parameters and their team culture.

Tip 1: Refine Recruitment Processes
After the last few years, expanded budgets could throw any "resource-starved" manager into a hiring frenzy. To ensure that good hiring choices are made, , STAR BASE recommends IT leaders and hiring managers build a priority system for all resource needs. Determine exactly what your top hiring priorities are and focus narrowly on filling those needs rather than getting distracted by the many needs that fall further down the list.

In order to make smarter, better hiring decisions, it's also important to communicate frequently and clearly with your recruitment partners. Whether in-house HR teams or outside recruiting firms, everyone should be on the very same page in terms of resource needs, requirements and timelines for hiring. Poor communication among the hiring team will prolong the hiring process and can result in sub-par hires, which is something no IT leader can afford.

Finally, it's important to be rigorous in your search and recruitment methods despite the rush to bring on new talent. While gut instincts are important in hiring, the best hiring is methodical. Screening should be thorough, interviews well planned and assessments used strategically. Remember, those who skip important steps often come to regret it when new hires turn out to be less than they expected from a slapdash recruitment process.

Tip 2: Be Open to the Possibilities
As the competition for IT talent increases in 2011, the ranks of highly skilled job seekers will undoubtedly be thin. It will be extremely hard to find candidates whose skills, experience and goals perfectly align to a requisition. For employers who don't have time to wait for ideal candidates to appear, STAR BASE recommends considering strong candidates you ruled out before. Don't immediately discount candidates you have previously declined if their skills and experience are well matched. Take the time meet them again. It's surprising how often a candidate who was a poor match to one position is the right hire for another opportunity in the same company.

Another mistake employers can make in the hiring process, especially in technical work, is over emphasizing the importance of experience in terms of calendar years. In some companies, particularly those where employees had to juggle a multitude of tasks and fulfill a variety of roles, the depth of experience may be greater than that of an employee in a more structured and linear environment. Sticking too closely to a particular number of years experience may mean missing out on candidates whose skills and talents are equal to those with slightly more years on the job.

Tip 3: Get Hyperlocal with Recruiting
While globalization has been the rage for years now, STAR BASE urges businesses to consider the hyperlocal trend for recruiting purposes. Rather than leveraging recruiting resources and job boards that aggregate talent from across the globe, focus on the talent in your own backyard. Get hyperlocal with recruitment by refining job recruitment spending to your core region (be it county, city or even district).

Working with IT experts that have a more local/regional approach will also allow you to leverage their local networks, their databases of local talent, and their unique understanding of the local business and technology community.
With Gartner predicting IT spending to rise by 5.1% in 2011, the competition for IT resources will only escalate. Businesses should be making decisions to strategically bolster internal teams now. Postponing the recruitment of high priority resources could very well mean having to hire from a depleted talent pool.

As you look to bolster your team of innovators, it's good to remember that the recession did give employers some long-term advantages. Most job seekers are focused on the core benefits of a job — stability, growth opportunities and structure — rather than big bonuses and perks. In the spring of 2010, Towers Watson produced its Global Workforce Study of 22,000 workers around the world. According to the study, for workers today "the desire for security and stability trumps everything else right now in part because employees see security and stability as a fast disappearing part of the deal."

The high value employees are placing on security and stability should be a very welcomed change to many companies who have spent the past decade finding ways to hold onto valuable employees and encourage loyalty among staff. It's also a trend employers can take advantage of before talent pools begin to shrink. Those that determine their crucial talent requirements now and take the appropriate steps to secure those resources with strong job opportunities can anticipate mutually beneficial employment relationships with skilled, high-demand professionals.

Contact STAR BASE to help with your recruitment needs today. Call 513.245.0400 or e-mail




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