Recruiting Is Something That IT Leaders Need To Start Thinking About Again

IT Leaders Need To Think Differently About How They Will Do Recruiting In The Future
IT Leaders Need To Think Differently About How They Will Do Recruiting In The Future

It’s starting to look like the economic winter just might be getting ready to thaw. Once this happens, IT Leaders realize that they’re going to have a massive task added to their already overloaded plate – recruitment.

During the economic downturn IT workers were staying put because they didn’t know what was going to happen next. Additionally, firms stopped hiring except for the most critical functions. When things start to pick up again, this will all change. Are you going to be ready IT Leader?

The Problem With The Way That IT Recruits

We all need to remember that recruitment is really a game that we are playing with our competition – we want to get all of the good talent in order to boost our firm and our competition wants to do the same. On top of all of this, who among us has ever been trained on how to properly do recruitment?

The good folks over at Forrester Research realize that we need some help and so they’ve done some research for us. Their conclusions just might surprise you a bit. They believe that there is something that we need to start doing if we want to be successful in attracting the right kind of talent: we need to diversify our talent pool.

The Way That IT Recruiting SHOULD Be Done

Right now all of us pretty much do the same thing when we want to fill a position in our IT department: we start looking at other firms who do what we do in hopes of finding an IT professional who is willing to leave and come work for us. This has worked for a long time because there have been so many people working in IT. However, with outsourcing and the Baby Boomers starting to retire, this isn’t going to keep working much longer.

Instead, Forrester tells us that what we need to do is to expand the pool of talent that we recruit from when we go looking to fill a position. This means that we need to start looking at college students and non-IT business professionals as potential sources of new recruits.

College students have always been an underused resource. The reasons are many, but more often than not it boils down to the simple fact that it takes time to guide them when you give them a task – you can’t just “fire and forget”. Sometimes poor management of college students results in poor performance and this can leave a lingering sense of frustration that causes IT Leaders to shy away from working with college students.

Non-IT business professionals, sometimes called “super users“, are a fantastic under-tapped resource. This resource has both the technical and business knowledge that can prove invaluable to any IT department. Providing existing employees with an opportunity to rotate into the IT department can be a win-win situation: you get the talent that you need and the employee gets a brand new career track.

Final Thoughts

What are we really looking for when we go to fill an IT position? We’d really like to find candidates that have three things: technical skills, business knowledge, and interpersonal skills. The ponds that we’ve been fishing from for these types of workers has just about dried up. In order to meet the staffing challenges of the future, we’re going to have to start fishing in other ponds.

Rethinking about how we attract, develop, and then retain college recruits can pay huge dividends. Who wouldn’t want to hire someone that they already knew and who they had groomed for a specific role in the organization? Likewise inviting non-IT business professionals to join the IT department solves staffing problems and breaks down internal walls.

Learning to do a better job of fishing for new talent will mean that you will have found a way to transform yourself from an IT manager into a true leader.

Questions For You

Where do your new hires come from – other IT companies? Have you used college students before? How did that work out? Could you list 5 “super users” who work in your company right now? How many of those would be interested in working in IT? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

They say that the world is becoming a smaller place – I think that they just might be right. IT Leaders are starting to realize that coming up with ways to staff their teams so that they are diverse is quickly moving from being a political nicety to now becoming a business necessity. Does anyone have any suggestions on how best to go about doing this?