Struggling to Fill Your Open IT Roles? Agile Hiring to the Rescue!

by placers on May 19, 2015 in Staffing, Workforce


By Outside-In® Team Member Zach Werde

Have you been struggling to staff your IT needs? Have you been staring at the same open job for weeks or months on end? You aren’t alone! Many hiring managers and internal recruiters/HR staff face a great deal of difficulty in filling their IT needs. After all, this is what created the $27.8 billion IT staffing industry that exists today and keeps people such as myself gainfully employed. The single largest hurdle that I see each day in my job is that hiring managers and internal recruiters are simply too “set” and too “rigid” in their hiring strategies. Having just a little bit of flexibility will go a long way. And that is where I introduce my concept of “Agile Hiring.” What exactly is Agile Hiring, you ask? Agile Hiring, simply put, is having basic flexibility in your search. In IT, there tend to be a lot of rigid requirements.

For example, a hiring manager wants a degreed person, with a certain type of certification, who has a very specific amount of experience, who comes from a specific industry, and is available for a permanent position at a certain amount of money. It may turn out that there are only five degreed people in your area who have the certifications you need, and if three of them don’t have the right industry experience and the other two are not available in your salary range, then there is no one for you to interview. I see scenarios like this day and day out. However, there are several different ways to approach this dilemma.

Let’s take a look at the example above. How can we fix this? How can we turn a position that has no candidates to interview, into something that has viable candidates? Most importantly, how can we do this while keeping the critical requirements in tact so that the hiring manager gets the resource they need and deserve? I say, there are a TON of ways to tackle this problem! For example:

Is relocation available? If so, we can turn our search from a local one to a national one. This is one simple way to quadruple (or more) your pipeline.

What if a strong candidate appears who does not have the certification requirements, but the candidate is willing to get these certifications? If your position has been open for six months, at this point, it’s time to consider making the right candidate if the right candidate is nowhere to be found.

Instead of exact industry experience, would you consider comparable industry experience? Perhaps you are a large retailer, would you consider someone who at least comes from an industry with high warehouse distribution, such as in the manufacturing industry? It may not be the exact same industry, but the tech stack and business intelligence platform of a manufacturer are going to be more comparable to a retailer than say, someone from the financial industry.

Is your position urgent? Is there a huge gap in your organization because this position has not been filled, and yet the position has been open for a long time? You are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t consider bringing in a contractor as a band-aid until the right match can be found. Or, would you consider implementing a temp-to-hire instead of a direct hire? Opening up to contractors will increase the number of available applicants relative to only looking at direct hire candidates.

Could we slightly adjust the years of experience requirement? We may be able to find someone very good who only has 2 years of experience as opposed to the 5 you require, and they meet every other requirement. Even if it takes them 2-3 months to ramp up, that’s still a lot faster than doing what you’ve been doing and waiting another 6 months for the perfect candidate to magically appear. This person may even have a lower salary requirement and save you money! Or, could we go the other way? What if we find someone who has 7-8 or even 10 years of experience? This may require to readjust the salary, but it is an option could help increase your candidate pipeline.

The point is, it all depends on your specific needs and situations, but there will always be small tweaks and adjustments that can be made to your required criteria to generate excellent and qualified candidates and get these hard-to-fill positions closed! You’d be surprised how often I speak to a hiring manager who has had a job open for 6 months and it’s all because no qualified candidates are being considered because the hiring champion is not thinking outside the box. I’m not talking about doing a major re-organization or coming in guns blazing and changing the way you do business and hiring; I’m talking about making your hiring process agile, and being flexible to make the tiniest of changes to your process and get these positions filled. If you can make these simple adjustments, you will be surprised how quickly you can fill your needs and how satisfied you will be with the talent when you finally get them in the door!

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