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Finding the Right IT Talent

Depending on the source, unemployment rates in the Information Technology (IT) segment of our economy are well below 5%.  While much of our economy is trying to figure out ways to create jobs, the IT sector is figuring out how to fill vacant positions with qualified talent.  With near “full employment,” IT leaders are recognizing that there is better than a 95% chance that they will need to find their next employee by looking at those already working in other organizations.  How then do you find this talent?

Across the country, the past 2 decades have seen the dramatic rise and influence of Human Resource departments in companies both big and small.  While the necessity and value of HR departments cannot be debated, what can is their effectiveness in proactively recruiting top talent, especially IT professionals.  Reality is that IT professionals rarely make a career change by moving into an HR recruiting position and HR people, for the most part, have no desire to have an in-depth understanding of what IT professionals do.  Meanwhile, HR people network in different groups than IT people.  Many of the best IT professionals simply don’t interview in the manner HR people have been trained to expect.  And let’s face it, most HR recruiters don’t have the time to network proactively with candidates, let alone IT professionals.  Therefore, when a critical IT position becomes available, IT leaders often find themselves on an island, equipped only with the people they know and some resumes HR received in response to a job advertisement.

Getting Off the Island: When the need arises to hire a new employee or a team of new employees, IT leaders need not be stranded on the island to fend for themselves.  Hiring top talent, especially top talent that is already working for another company, takes time, effort and patience.  Geoff Smart and Randy Street in their book Who: The A Method for Hiring cite research from CEOs who identified the best sources of talent.  At the top of the survey is your personal and professional network.  Every manager, regardless of whether (s)he works in IT, must continuously be networking with other professionals in the industry.  While networking requires an investment of time, the dividends you receive in terms of being able to hire quality, productive employees will make you “wealthy” in the world of management.  Therefore, if you are managing a team of programmers or developers, you should always be networking with programmers and developers, so when a vacancy arises, you already have a pool of talent to draw upon for your next hire.  Likewise, your personal network of friends, family and acquaintances can be called upon in a time of hiring need.  When you have a vacant position, ask everyone in your personal network who they know, either directly or indirectly, that can help you find that next exceptional employee.  You will be pleasantly surprised how the “six degrees of separation” will help you fill your next vacancy.

Calling For Help: After personal and professional networks, Smart & Street’s survey cites staffing or recruiting firms, like MISource, Inc., as the next best way to find “A” talent.  Why?  The answer is simple and no different than why your personal and professional network is the best way to find top talent.  Fact is, each day, MiSource recruiters  are building networks of professionals within specified industries.  In the IT world, recruiters at staffing firms are the ones building relationships with those candidates who are currently working in other companies, the candidates that represent the 95% you will need to draw upon for your next hire.  Therefore, as an IT leader, you must be willing to call out to a staffing firm for help.  Our ability to connect our expansive network of IT professionals with your vacant position makes the investment well worth the money.  If you have any doubts about the value of MiSource’s expertise, perform a simple Internet search for “cost of a bad hire.”  Among the 110 million results, you will find countless studies pinpointing the cost of a single bad hire in a range from tens of thousands of dollars to over $1 million.

The good news for IT leaders and IT professionals is that job security, for now, looks very positive.  Governments across the country recognize the needs of the industry, as political leaders beg for more funding of technology education in our colleges and universities.  Until the supply of qualified IT professionals catches up with the ever increasing demand, IT leaders will need to be resourceful, both in their own networking efforts and in budgeting for the services of staffing firms, to help them fill their vacant positions with exceptional talent.

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