By Alex Marsh, Principal Consultant at RedRock Consulting
There are currently two trains of thought around the skills shortage: the first is that there are simply too few talented individuals with the right skillsets to fill the roles available. The second is that these individuals do exist, but employers are, quite simply, not willing to pay top dollar to attract these candidates to their business.
Regardless of the route you take, the destination is the same – the IT industry is growing faster than the supply of talent can keep up.
The result is predictable from a supply vs. demand perspective. As supply remains constant and demand skyrockets, employers are having to redevelop their recruitment and retention strategies to not only attract the talent they need to grow, but to keep them on the books once they’ve been hired.
So, what are the biggest challenges IT employers are facing in their hiring process?
A long lead-time
Problem: From interview to job offer, there’s a huge gap – particularly with smaller businesses. SMBs and start-ups are often in periods of unmitigated growth, so they’re far more motivated to make the perfect hire. Unfortunately for their recruitment efforts, this “blue sky thinking” means companies will take their time to find the best person on the market… not the best person for the role.
Other companies, however, offer comparable salaries and are far more open to hiring someone quickly. In today’s recruitment landscape, there’s no time for umming and aahing.
Research has shown that the best candidates are on and off the market within 10 days. According to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends report, however, the average time to hire for a business is closer to a month.
Solution: The most effective way to sidestep this issue is to already have a network of potential interviewees in place before your job posting even goes live. Through effective networking at industry events, business leaders should develop a wide range of contacts. Reach out to these people in the first instance and invite them to interview.
Further, set internal deadlines for decision making. Minimise the number of people involved in making that decision, and make sure these people are aware this is a priority. There’s nothing more off-putting to a candidate than a company that can’t make a decision.
Finding good quality / qualified candidates:
Problem: Anyone who’s posted a job advertisement on Indeed or Totaljobs has seen this issue (though it’s no fault of the platforms). Job posters, quite simply, get bombarded with applications from unqualified candidates with the “nothing ventured, nothing gained” motto. Further, with fewer candidates on the open jobs market at one time, the supply becomes further constricted. The truth is that the majority are already in gainful employment.
Solution: There are two potential solutions. The first is to be constantly looking for new people to join the team, putting the hiring strategy at the top of the priority list – but this is time consuming, and more of a scattergun approach. The second is to pay above market rates to better attract the top-quality candidates.
Competition from larger organisations:
Problem: Unless you’re Tim Cook reading this article (say hi, Tim!), there’s always a bigger company out there – one that can afford bigger salaries and better benefits for candidates. It creates a challenging environment for smaller organisations looking to compete for the same talent pool… but it’s not insurmountable.
Solution: Thankfully, Millennial talent is not as salary-oriented as it’s Baby Boomer counterpart. This is where smaller organisations can begin to compete. Offer flexible working, a more individualised career path, and the opportunity to lead on certain projects (where appropriate). Many view smaller organisations as an opportunity to hone their own skills. From the candidate perspective, it’s an opportunity to turbocharge their own career path – learning more and doing more than they would be able to in a bigger business.
If these strategies seem time-consuming, it’s because they are. If every business focused exclusively on hiring the best talent, they would have very little time left for their day-to-day. Success is no longer guaranteed from putting an advertisement in the local paper or sending a few tweets. With a global pool of talent, the strategies for pursing these specialists needs to change in tandem.
At RedRock Consulting, we go far beyond ‘bums on seats’. We use our exclusive network to find the best possible talent to fill your vacancies and help guide our employment partners through the process with our decades of experience. Why not get in touch and find out how we can help you?