Weekly Word on the Street: Hiring In-Demand IT Pros

by Jim Staats | Aug 24, 2012

Takeaway of the week is that while it may not appear that way to long-term unemployed IT pros, the job market for experienced and highly-skilled technical professionals remains red hot without any signs of easing up - emphasis on the "highly-skilled" part. That's right, the skills gap remains a thing which explains why overseas outsourcing snaps up some roles and others don't always go to the most well-suited candidates.

Finding the Needle in the Haystack

Talk the tech talk. Trumpet the perks. Glorify the culture.

These are a few of the tips one tech hiring guru offers up as ways HR and IT managers can collaborate to recruit top IT talent.

In a recent article for InformationWeek, John Reed, senior executive director at Robert Half Technology, provides a half-dozen key ways the leaders charged with snapping up the best IT pros the job market offers can succeed.

The not-too-subtle theme of Reed's commentary is that human resources and IT management must work together as a team.

Some other tips include:

  • Speak the language of the IT candidates - Educate the non-technical HR person with the knowledge necessary to delve into technologies with candidates.
  • Go beyond compensation - In a competitive market, the enticing offer isn't all about the money, but also about perks such as funded transportation costs and flextime.
  • Know the culture - HR reps not only must talk the talk, but know and understand the organization's day-to-day culture to effectively describe it.
  • Move swiftly - Ditch the lengthy search process for a speedy screening process so as not to miss that gem of an IT pro.

Sourcing Out Amid the Cloud

Global outsourcing may dip as a means of taking advantage of today's hot technology trends as one of those trends rises, says a new industry report.

Companies will still spend money and time on overseas outsourcing to compete in a skills gap world, but it won't be relied upon as heavily, states the report, "2012-2013 State of IT Outsourcing," by IT staffers Bluewolf, as noted in a recent InfoWorld article.

Apparently, unemployed IT pros in the U.S. need not fear the overseas competition as much as the growing presence of cloud computing, according to Bluewolf.

Per the report, "Cloud as a delivery model - which can be implemented in weeks, modified on the fly, and abandoned just as quickly - is gaining momentum.

"Businesses are leveraging the cloud to outsource applications (Salesforce, Google Apps, Eloqua), data storage, and even the management of entire data centers to third-party providers."

Report findings also state that 73 percent of companies outsource at least some application-related functions, from application development to hosting. More than half of the firms included in the report are outsourcing infrastructure-related functions including IT security, networking and data center operations.

One of today's biggest tech trends - mobile development - is a big spot for outsourcing, too. Nearly 40 percent of all outsourced app development tasks are for Web or mobile devices. Although companies plan to increase outsourcing here in the coming months, only four percent of these types of jobs are going overseas, per the report.

Other hotspots for outsourcing include database admin tasks for big data, network operations and data recovery services.

A Good Worker is a Well-Tested Worker

Finding and keeping talented workers is a struggle no matter what the industry, but it's even more of a challenge in the IT industry.

As one of the key speakers said at the recent XChange 2012 conference in Dallas this past week, a thorough examination of technical candidates is a must in a field where skills development plays as big a role as enthusiasm for the job in determining future success.

In an article for CRN this week, Terry Booton, president of Advanced Marketing Instruction in Atlanta, was quoted as saying in his conference presentation, "If you make your (hiring) decision based on an interview alone, you've got only a 14 percent chance of success."

Booton touted the importance of defining what makes up the key qualities for a particular role being recruited and then matching prospective individuals with that role through extensive testing for background, character and other attributes.

For the in-demand candidates who pass such testing, it's important for employers to tout their benefits, including flex time and other attractive options to retain the chosen workers.

As for how employers can go about finding the next in-demand worker before he or she is too in-demand, Booton suggested IT managers should keep a database of prospects and produce monthly newsletters along with the standbys such as newspaper ads, technical journals, job fairs and social media.

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