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4 Tips to Find and Secure Top IT Talent

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As you talk to job candidates, you may have noticed a shift in their attitudes. They are in high demand and they know it. This shift is forcing employers to look for innovative ways to identify and retain the people they need to grow.

Here are some ideas for finding hidden GEMS – talent you may have overlooked in the past.

G. Get away from the elimination mindset and move to a discovery mindset.

Over time, human resources teams and hiring managers have developed a habit of scanning resumes for things that eliminate candidates, such as an employment gap or lack of experience in a specific industry or niche. Now is the time to take a second look at candidates you may have dismissed in the past. Review resumes with a more qualitative eye, broadening your scope to include people who may not be a perfect match but are within an acceptable range. Along these lines, make sure to check for any bias or resistance in the selection process that may be eliminating otherwise qualified candidates. Do the math; often the cost of training, relocation or reasonable accommodations is less than the losses incurred when a position remains unfilled.

E. Evaluate candidates based on attitude and potential as well as skills.

For years, skillsets have been the sole focus of IT recruiters and hiring managers. However, an independent study that tracked 20,000 new hires found that when new hires failed, they failed for reasons such as poor attitude or social skills – not lack of technical skills –90 percent of the time. If you’re not finding candidates with the exact mix of skills you’re seeking, try looking for people who have a positive attitude and the potential to be successful with a few months of training or mentoring. Make sure that you don’t dismiss shy types or those who have difficulty communicating, since they are likely to work hard to overcome their limitations.

M. Maximize the value of your existing staff.

Most organizations have at least one employee who is underutilized or misallocated. We’ve all heard stories about athletes with lackluster careers who went on to become stars once they landed in the right position on the right team. Look around your organization for bright, energetic people who might thrive with some additional training and new responsibilities. You may find a diamond in the rough who has not yet found the right environment in which to shine. And by hiring from within, you’ll be improving morale and motivation company-wide.

S. Select your best employees to help you attract new ones.

Unfortunately for you, your IT candidates are likely to have several offers from other companies, so you want to do whatever you can to connect with them on a personal level. One way to do this is to select a trusted employee to greet candidates when they arrive for interviews, show them around and escort them to their first interview. Perhaps this person can even take them to lunch. If possible, match candidates with reports who are similar in age and have something in common, such as a degree from the same school, similar skillset or hobby. Of course, before your employees speak to candidates make sure to advise them about questions they legally can’t ask candidates and have them refer any questions about pay, hours, contracts and benefits to the hiring manager.

If you’ve tried any of these tactics, let me know your results. The talent gap affects us all, and I will continue to share my ideas for improving our ability to locate, hire and retain IT talent in the future.