Demand for IT talent is at an all-time high. IT is an organizational core requirement, and the growth of new products and solutions will continue to demand the best IT talent. According to Sci-Tech Today, "hiring the best talent and creating a diverse workforce is a top priority for businesses — and is arguably one of their biggest challenges." Why? Because employee turnover is costly and time-consuming. It hinders business growth.
While most IT recruiting is done by HR and middle management, leaders have to provide the recruiting framework for the IT team. “They should focus on more than headcount,” says Samuel Bright, Forrester’s IT staffing and careers analyst. “The CIO has to articulate a vision.”
Successful leaders review recruiting metrics to see firsthand whether their vision and strategy are being implemented, CIO reports in the article “Questions to Answer Before Recruiting IT Staff.”
“When CIOs look ahead and think about what’s going to make them successful in their jobs, deep down most of them know it’s successful staffing. But they don’t have the guts to fight for what they need,” says David Foote, president and chief research officer for Foote Partners. “Most CIOs aren’t looking at the staffing problem in a portfolio kind of way. They wouldn’t let their systems deteriorate the way they’ve let their staffing situations decline. They’re putting themselves at risk.”
Offering support to the recruiting team cannot be undervalued. As you get involved with the IT recruiting process, here are three key considerations to overcoming hiring challenges.
- Right skill set to help with business growth: The right candidate may not fit the traditional mold of his or her peers. This means finding tech innovators — a mix of big thinkers and focused implementers. The Harvard Business Review advises changing your recruiting strategy to find talent who have the right skillset to help with your business growth, rather than the people who simply meet your most basic education and experience qualifications. “Businesses should open themselves up to applicants whose nontraditional backgrounds mean they could bring new ideas to the position and the challenge of improving” your business, HBR writes. IBM addresses its talent shortage by creating “new collar jobs,” which prioritize skills, knowledge, and willingness to learn over degrees and the career fields that gave people their initial work experience.
- Ability to collaborate with others: The right candidate is a collaborator who is involved in business conversations not because it's a requirement but because they want to be. They're also open to working with IT partners who can effectively provide user ready IT and offload tech enablement tasks. With the support of an IT partner, a newly hired IT innovator is empowered to brainstorm, test, and implement IT-driven business solutions. A collaborative person readily coordinates with others, believes that the team can accomplish more together, and seeks to share responsibilities and ideas.
- Open to training in tech and management: Despite the demand for IT employees, skills gaps exist in areas like big data and analytics, security, developers familiar with legacy tech, and more, according to CIO. A candidate who is willing to close the skills gap and commit to training in tech and management comes to you with ideas and not the other way around. It’s mutually beneficial for both company and employee. It’s beneficial for your organization in the long run to have employees who are invested in enhancing their careers. The employee is challenged to learn something new, and will bring that newfound knowledge into the workplace and share with her colleagues.
What’s going to make you successful in your job as a leader is hiring the best people to work for you. Think outside the box when it comes to recruiting. The best candidate isn’t always the best on paper.
Read our other posts in this series on IT talent here.