Hiring for the Future: Finding IT Talent Who Can Thrive in Challenging Times

The pandemic changed many things, including how businesses focus on their hiring needs. COVID-19 ramped up the benefits of remote work, and they lasted even after the lockdowns ended.

Virtual meetings also found their place in business during this time. Even the board of directors for significant corporations ended up in virtual meeting rooms. Although hiring IT talent has been a practical concern for major corporations for many years, the pandemic brought it to the forefront for even those businesses lagging in tech sophistication.

Hiring good tech talent has always been challenging, but the market is even more competitive today. The need will only get more essential as businesses face more challenges. The right hires can drive critical change and growth.

The reality of hiring tech talent is changing. It is up to businesses to change to meet that need.

Facing the Skills Gap

Part of the problem is the transition to a more digital work environment has left a significant skills gap in the tech industry. There is a discrepancy between IT professionals’ technical knowledge and what they need to do critical jobs.

According to a report by McKinsey, there are significant skills gaps exist in seven areas:

  • Platforms and products
  • Data management
  • Cybersecurity and privacy
  • DevOps
  • Customer experience
  • Cloud
  • Automation

Of the 1,500 senior executives who participated in the McKinsey survey, 87% admitted to being unprepared to address the skills gap. To bring in top talent, businesses need to address two areas. The first is the work environment must be attractive to potential hires. Second, HR professionals must take extra steps to find talent with the most potential.

Setting the Stage to Hire Quality IT Professionals

Companies need to remember that in a competitive market like IT, the potential employees are interviewing the business as much as the other way around. Hiring managers need to know how to accentuate what is positive about the company to pique their interest.

Consider these tips for creating an environment conducive to hiring the top industry talent:

  • Keep the technology current – Nothing says “pass” quite like outdated systems. If you have the newest technology, spotlight it.
  • Offer flexibility – A 2022 study conducted by Deloitte shows a flexible and hybrid work environment is one of the top ways to attract tech talent.
  • Focus on the purpose of the job, not the work – Create a compelling mission and vision for the position. The Deloitte survey also found that new hires are looking for a job with a purpose.
  • Let them drive career progression – IT professionals want to chart their career paths and look for employers that offer learning and growth opportunities supporting their goals.
  • Create mentoring programs – If you team new hires up with senior-level tech employees, you give them the opportunity to learn from the best. This is especially effective if you already have some heavy industry hitters on staff. Have bios for potential mentors on hand to accentuate the benefits.

With the stage set, the next step is to consider where to look for top tech candidates.

Finding the Top Tech Talent

A diverse and innovative hiring strategy will give you access to more potential talent choices.

Look at Internal Candidates

A practical place to start is by looking at the current talent to see if upskilling might offer a solution. These employees already know the business and systems. Building up internal candidates is also something that is attractive to potential hires. They want to see growth potential.

Focus on Soft Skills

Based on the current skills gap, any businesses bringing on new talent may have to train them anyway, so why not think about soft skills that can be beneficial in the available role? For example, time organization and work ethic are absolute necessities in today’s remote business world.

Some other critical soft skills to consider include:

  • Leadership
  • Good communication
  • Effective problem-solving
  • Collaboration
  • Project management

These are non-tech skills that can ground a successful employee. They are just as critical as tech expertise.

Technology is a fluid industry, so tech skills become stale every couple of years. Training is always going to be a priority. You can’t train someone to have good character, though. If you prioritize that, you might find a diamond in the ruff.

Hire Based on Potential

You widen the IT talent pool if you eliminate the need for very specific tech skills. Zero in on tech skills that are in the ballpark. Consider whether they have the potential to meet the needs of the job with a little upskill training.

Top talent with elusive skill sets often will focus on the big tech corporations, such as Microsoft or Google, before anyone else. By widening the market, you draw in those with potential by offering to expand their skill sets.

Look to Social Media

It is not unusual for tech workers to use social media sites as portfolios that showcase their abilities. Reach out to them to see if they might be interested in changing jobs.

Use social media to learn more about those who apply, as well. You can communicate first with them on the platform then ask to direct message them and introduce yourself. Point out the company’s social media pages so they can get a better feel for the environment, too.

Creating Experiences for Potential Candidates

The normal IT recruitment process may not be enough to get the best talent on board for your business. You need to create an experience before you hire that makes them want to be part of the company. Making an impression on them might be the best way to take them away from major tech companies like Google.

Let Them Behind the Scenes

Don’t just bring them to a stuffy HR office for an interview. Have them meet you in the heart of the company so they get a feel for the culture. You might offer a tour of the office and allow them to see the technology up close before starting the interview.

Be Transparent

Tell candidates everything they need to know to make an informed choice and be willing to answer questions. Be open about the job responsibilities, the start date, and the benefits of working with the company.

Discuss the workplace requirements with them, as well, such as:

  • Are there remote opportunities?
  • Are there set days they must work in the office?
  • What is the remote structure like, and what tech do they need at home?
  • Is that provided to them, or are they expected to supply the necessary devices for hybrid or remote work?

Also, show them that diversity and inclusion are essential for the company.

The better experience you offer them during recruitment, the more likely the top talent is to consider your business over other, more obvious choices. You must sell your company to them the same way you might a product to a consumer.

Consider Outsourcing to IT Staffing Agencies

Start your talent search with an agency. IT staffing agencies in Denver have access to some of the country’s top talent and can narrow the search for your business. They do the leg work, such as background checks and initial interviews so that you can concentrate on business. Then, when they have a short list available for you, you can focus on getting them on board.