5 Solutions For Attracting IT Talent in Competitive Markets

Quality talent is hard to come by in any industry and even harder when it comes to information technology. This should be no surprise as Gartner and other associations have asked CIOs and IT talent acquisition has been highlighted as a major barrier for 2016, 2015, and years previous.

According to Gartner CIO Agenda Report, October 2015, CIOs must think about talent as a platform and innovate with it, leading to a greater focus on strategies such as working more closely with universities on internships, co-designed courses, etc.

This is especially true in Canada and in small markets like Winnipeg where there simply aren’t enough IT professionals with the right level of experience, training, and skill sets. What can SMBs (small-to-medium-sized businesses) do to remedy this? Here are five approaches that might help you meet your needs.

1. Increase the Visibility of Your Job Post

A myth that many hiring managers and talent seekers seem to believe is that if someone is employed and not unhappy than they aren’t actively seeking new job opportunities. Indeed released a report called The Science of Talent Attraction in which they claim:

The belief is that passive candidates typically don’t visit job boards or career sites, but they are willing to hear from recruiters about that life-changing role. This is why many talent acquisition organizations invest heavily in outbound recruiting, or sourcing.

Science of Talent Attraction Ebook

Image Source: Indeed – The Science of Talent Attraction: What Makes Candidates Click

This means that employed IT professionals are still looking at job post sites like Indeed, professional networking sites like LinkedIn, and other places that you can either post your job opportunity for free or for a fee. You can post in appropriate LinkedIn groups for free from a personal account or take out a paid job posting on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Workopolis to get further reach. Be warned though as with the free postings, not everyone that applies will be the right fit and if you’re hiring multiple people, paid job posts can get expensive quickly.

Make sure to optimize your company website to highlight your job postings as well as promoting on social media. Add a call-to-action button on your website’s homepage that leads to your current career opportunities and pin a careers message to the top of your social media accounts. Use the channels you already own and have invested in before reaching out to more paid services. This can extend to reaching out to business partners and industry associations to see if they will share your job posting or seeing if they know anyone who might fit the role you are hiring for. Project management, business analysis, and various IT fields have national associations that may have a branch in your city that will post your career opportunity.

It also seems to help if you go beyond just posting the bare minimum of job details. Add in some staff testimonials about why people like working at your company and highlight some of the perks that come with the job. Post some pictures (or videos if possible) of your office and corporate family events to give potential candidates a sense of what it is like to be a member of your team.

social recruiting stats - glassdoor

Image Source: Glassdoor – 50 HR and Recruiting Stats 2015

2. Offer Staff Referral Bonuses

Right in line with leveraging the channels you already own, you can offer you team referral bonuses for referring anyone who turns out to be a good fit and gets hired. Many people maintain the connections they’ve made at past jobs, workshops, and universities or colleges. It is less costly than hiring a recruiter and fairly low effort.  You can post the referral opportunities  on your company’s intranet or send out a company-wide email with the details. Employee referral programs have seen a lot of success for many businesses in speeding up the hiring and training process, retaining employees for longer, and providing higher quality candidates. Here are some supporting stats:

Source: Recruiter – 10 Employee Referral Program Fast Facts

3. Start a Student Program

If you’re not an IT company than this won’t work for IT hiring but you can apply it to whatever your business specializes in. Check out our Students and Recent Grads page as an example.

If you work with your local universities and colleges as a Co-op Employer you can help further students’ learning as well as easily seeing if there are any opportunities for future hiring of those that are motivated and skilled. It allows you to create a connection with educational institutions so you can reach out with future career opportunities. There are also tax benefits and other business benefits involved. See another blog post we wrote about the subject: Student Co-Op Programs Benefit Students, Employers, and Universities/Colleges.

More benefits of co-operative education for employers:

  • Co-op students are an ideal source of manpower to fill temporary human resource needs during staff leaves or for short-term projects.
  • Co-op programs offer year-round access to students employing co-op students can reduce future recruiting costs — co-op employment aids in the vetting of students for future hiring of motivated and skilled employees.
  • Co-op students can help create a bridge between the employer and the student’s academic institution, and employers can provide valuable feedback about course curricula and content.
  • Employment of co-op students gives a supervisor the opportunity to mentor bright and enthusiastic students, as well as the chance to take part in the training of their future colleagues.

Source: CAFCE – Benefits of Co-operative Education for Students, Employers, and Institutions 

4. Outsource Your IT Needs or Look Into Staff Augmentation

IT Outsourcing

One solution is to find an IT service provider who can fill in the gaps your company has in its IT infrastructure. Outsourcing your IT has many benefits including:

  • less micro-managing which frees up managers’ time;
  • trusted results, choose a provider with a proven track record;
  • scale to your needs exactly, don’t over-burden an employee or leave them with nothing to do.

People generally think of Managed Services when they think of IT Outsourcing but  If you can outsource your IT needs to a provider, there is a no need to invest time in trying to find the right candidate and you can get right to working on the projects you’d planned on hiring and training someone to do. However IT Outsourcing isn’t the answer for every business and it may not work for the specific project or need that you have.

Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation is another service that many IT companies provide where you can submit a Request for Resource (RFR) and contract the work out to someone for an agreed upon amount of time (6 months, 12 months, etc.). This a good way to fill gaps on project work where you may not need the person permanently. Staff augmentation is also a really good option when you need to have someone who is a proven A-player or has very specific skills to come in and lead a project. As opposed to IT Outsourcing, the work is still yours and the person just works with your team as an additional resource.

The roles that we generally get RFRs for are:

  • Delivery Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Software Developer
  • Business Analyst
  • Systems Analyst
  • Architects

Contact us if this seems like something you’d want to know more about.

5. Hiring a Recruiter

Hiring a recruiter can be costly but in a bind sometimes you need to bring on board a senior IT professional or someone with a specific skill set that you simply can’t wait for the right person to apply or outsource the need to another firm. Recruiters also have a lot of experience with building relationships with professionals and once they understand your company; the interviews they line up should be a fit for personality and values, not just skill level and experience.

Another option is investing in LinkedIn’s Recruiter Tool which allows one person in your organization to become a recruiter and search LinkedIn profiles for candidates based on work experience, seniority, and education level. However, this tool does take some time to discover appropriate candidates, is a bit pricey, and not everyone likes getting unsolicited InMail to their LinkedIn accounts so use wisely.


Science of Talent Attraction Ebook - inbound

Image Source: Indeed – The Science of Talent Attraction: What Makes Candidates Click

Hiring for IT is difficult and there is no one-easy-fix that will get you all of your dream candidates crowding at your door but if you do a collection of things to enhance your job posting and invest a bit of time and money into your recruitment you will see it pay off in the long run. Hopefully this post has given you at least a couple new things to try to work into your recruitment efforts and if it has please share on social media or leave a comment below and let us know what you liked.


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