With over 500,000 STEM graduates in America each year, let alone the 4.7million STEM graduates coming out of China (see this), finding the right person for your IT roles can be a daunting task involving reading hundreds of resumes. The number of applications for each role may depend on the size of your company and how far you advertise the role, but that opens up another problem.
Chances are high that you don’t simply want people who are applying simply because they are in the local vicinity. This might be great for entry level positions, but if you are looking for top IT staff who are going to fill more experienced roles you will need to look further afield to find the best people. And that’s without looking at the need for short-term or temporary staff at all levels.
So, what can a company do? Obviously talking with top IT recruiters is going to make life significantly easier as far as the selection process goes, but before that there are some steps to look at to ensure that you are going to be hiring the right person for your role.
Have a Clear Job Description
If you are replacing an employee who is moving on creating a clear job description can become difficult. In every role positions flex and grow to suit an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. If you have an extravert in the role currently you may find that the way they work is very people originated, but that doesn’t mean that “must be good with people” is actually part of the core skills required to do the job. Being able to break down the position into it’s key parts is a significant skill, and although an IT recruiter can help you work out exactly what skills you need, if you can have a clear understanding in your own mind before you meet with them then the process will work much better. Although, in saying that, be willing to take on the advice of the recruiter if they suggest that it will be unlikely to find two particularly skill sets in many qualified people.
Have a Clear Understanding of the Workflow
While a job description is more a bullet point list of skills that the person will need to have to complete tasks in the role successfully, you also need to know how the role works within the whole company. Who is the role reporting too, who reports to the role, does anyone rely on the work that is undertaken? Can this role cause everything to grind to a halt? Are there aspects of the job that crossover into other roles? Part of the reason to developing a clear understanding of how work is assigned within the role and then what happens once work is completed is to get a better understanding of what other skills are required, what sort of personality would best fit, and possibly even use this as a chance to revaluate how the role functions and take the opportunity to streamline and improve systems.
Have an Idea around Career Progression
Even if the role you are recruiting for is only a temporary assignment, consider the ‘what-if’ that could happen if the person filling the position turns out to be a superstar and you want to make them a permanent member of your team. Although you know exactly where the role could take your employee isn’t a normal requirement, in the ever changing world of Information Technology going through this exercise yourself gives you the chance to quickly revaluate if your company is actually working as efficiently as it could. Long gone are the days where a person would start in the mailroom and work there way up to CEO, if indeed that ever happened outside of the movies. Nor do we see people saying in the same career for their entire life, let alone in the same job with the same firm. Knowing what options are open for an employee to move sideways or upwards within a company gives you more bargaining power and potential to develop a uniquely stable environment.
Qualifications or Experience?
Of course, you can have it all, if you are willing to pay for it. However, for many companies they are really looking for someone who can walk in the job and start running with minimum introduction to the role.
So, if you are looking at someone as a longer term prospect, particularly if the role is entry level, then the experience you want may not be directly related to the role, or the industry. A recruitment company will help you look for a particular skill set made from a balance of qualifications and experience, but if you are able to ask them to look outside the box a little you may find that the best potential employee is a new graduate with no IT experience but spent their weekends through high school building battle bots, or had spring break job working as a salesclerk in an electronics store. Even if you are looking to hire a programmer, these skills can indicate a passion for the industry that can’t be taught at university.
Case in point is the recent competition held to find the best of the best in computer coding. The test covered a wider range of topics that simply computer language, looking at graphical content and security concerns as well as the more expected topics of mathematics, engineering and, of course, coding https://www.zdnet.com/article/us-tech-students-slaughter-peers-in-russia-china-india-in-coding-test/. Understanding the specifics to do the job is a requirement obviously, but often in the hiring process people get bogged down in what really are more ‘nice to haves’ than an actual requirement to complete tasks.
Hiring the Hirers
Whether you have an HR department or not, engaging the services of a specialist IT recruitment company with a strong reputation in the industry helps get you access to the top IT recruits. Although there is still a strong desire to work with a local firm so that you can have a face to face meeting, modern technology means that this isn’t such a strong requirement anymore. However, you do want to work with someone who you can develop a relationship with, that will take the time to understand your business needs, and not just send you random recruits to try and earn a fee.