The executives at Robert Half Technology are road warriors, and one benefit of travelling to different geographies is hearing from tech leaders across North America. It enables us to get a really good picture of the unique technology climate for businesses in many markets, as well as observe the common tech themes appearing in most areas of the country, regardless of industry or company size.
Managing projects in an environment with more work than qualified candidates is one of the common challenges that plagues IT leaders. While employment trends constantly ebb and flow, the need for technical professionals continues to be a bright spot in our economy. Technology brings innovation, competitive advantage, productivity gains and improved customer service, but those benefits can be fully realized only when you have the IT pros to deliver the projects.
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Don’t wait to hire the perfect candidate for a job
Many managers make it harder on themselves and their teams when they interview for an open position — then hold off on hiring a really talented person, choosing instead to wait for an idealized candidate. They’re looking for the one who checks every single box for a particular job: One who has the latest technology experience, brings the perfect blend of technical and soft skills, and fits within their allocated salary range. The problem with this approach is that the person might not ever come along, leaving tech positions open for prolonged periods of time.
There is certainly a lot to be said for being thorough and patient to prevent a hiring mistake. However, there are many ways to accelerate your process while reducing the issues associated with a prolonged candidate search.
- Don’t compound the problem. An unnecessarily long job search takes a toll on your team if they’re required to pick up the slack while a needed role remains open. The increased workload leads to employee stress and burnout, and that potentially leads to employee turnover, which only exacerbates hiring challenges.
- Don’t wait for a flawless candidate. When you interview qualified people but continue to search for that perfect one, you risk making great candidates lose interest in the role. Even worse, they may talk about your slow, frustrating hiring process to other technology professionals in their network — and dissuade others from even applying to your company. The tech community is still pretty small, and news spreads quickly.
- Simplify your hiring process. Look for ways to streamline your hiring methods. Eliminate unnecessary steps, and commit to moving quickly when you find a candidate who can be successful in the job. Conducting proper due diligence in the candidate evaluation process is important, but frankly you won’t really know what type of employee you have until they are in the role. We've all heard stories of candidates who knocked it out of the park in an interview but turned out to be mediocre performers, while others who were potentially a stretch for the role turned out to be terrific hires.
- Know your needs vs. wants. Revisit your job description and summarize the critical skills for the job vs. the nice-to-haves. Focus on those candidates who bring the critical skills to the role, and consider the rest icing on the cake. Remember, if they have the basic skills to be successful in the position, an investment in training and mentoring can be the answer to building their skills over time.
We all want great employees who bring the best skills to the table. As a manager, you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with, so it’s understandable to want to keep looking for the ideal candidate to join your team. However, an overly cautious search for that “unicorn” employee can create a needlessly long process, as well as stress for you and your staff.
Streamlining your hiring process, creating a manageable list of required job skills and moving quickly when you find someone who can perform the job tasks are steps to successfully get that job filled. And you’ll be one step closer to delivering the projects on your to-do list.