According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT job growth is up over last year, with a solid, growing demand for IT and Software Engineering professionals. The actual expansion has varied throughout 2015, but overall IT job growth is averaging 7% over 2014 and 17% more than 2013. Good news for all concerned. Yet a recent CompTIA survey reveals that 68% of executives say they expect to face either a challenging or very challenging hiring environment for IT and Application Development positions this year.
Faced with issues like candidate drop-off and tight deadlines, hiring managers are finding many of these challenges daunting. Three of the most difficult tasks they face are shortage of available talent, lack of a clearly defined hiring process, and selecting the right candidate.
Finding and Acquiring Top Talent
Every hiring manager struggles to find qualified talent, and many aren’t able to land highly-skilled applicants because most in-demand candidates are quickly snatched up with lucrative offers. You’ll need to act quickly when it comes to recruiting. This idea runs counter to how most hiring managers operate, so if you want to be the one who lands the best talent, don’t sit on resumes or referrals for more than 24-48 hours before responding.
A Clear and Comprehensive Process
Many managers are unclear as to where they can find the best talent. Though your company may have processes in place for sourcing, interviewing, and hiring for open positions, these processes may not find you the best candidate, or may not have you searching for the best candidates in the right places. Take a good look at your hiring process to determine if it’s broken or outdated. Hiring managers must adapt to the changes brought about with a lower unemployment rate and smaller candidate pool by pushing for a more effective recruiting process. A proactive, up-front, and quick hiring process will do a great deal in lessening or removing this problem.
Hiring the Right (or Wrong) Candidate
If you’ve done a round of interviews and still aren’t sold on any one candidate, continue looking. You will spend far more time and energy handling the consequences of a bad hire than you’ll save by quickly filling a vacancy for expediency’s sake. Hiring mistakes are costly and deflect attention away from the higher task of getting your projects done.
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself deciding between two or three qualified applicants, avoid a bad hire by paying attention to the core details of a good hire and seek out the desirable traits that make a good employee:
- Accountability: Employees can be smart, likeable and talented but, if you can’t trust them to do what they say they’ll do, you and everyone else will constantly waste time and energy checking up on their work. Ask candidates for examples where they have been accountable for their work.
- Flexibility: If a candidate isn’t comfortable with the unknown, he or she won’t be a good fit. To test for flexibility, establish a scenario that has a set of rules but introduces a variable that means one of the rules must be broken.
- Passion: Unfortunately, true passion is in short supply; many people are working for a paycheck, not because they love what they do. The good news is that passion is pretty easy to gauge when you’re hiring someone.
- Communication: New hires need to be able to communicate important information, ideas, and challenges effectively. Don’t just rely on the interview, make sure to review writing samples as well. Resumes and Cover Letters are a good place to start.
- Your gut instinct! …When in doubt, go with your gut. Ultimately you can’t be too afraid of making the wrong decision. Trust your gut and make the hire.
As the economy continues its upswing, there will be even more talent acquisition and retention challenges to deal with. If you want to face your biggest ones head on, you’ll find that the secret to your success can be found in the details of your hiring process.