Tips For Snagging Hot IT Hires: Improved Handling Of Peopleware
2, 2000 -- To compete successfully
in todays business world, most companies rely on sophisticated
computer hardware and software. They also need skilled information
technology (IT) workers to use it.
finding talented IT professionals is tough hundreds of thousands
of IT jobs nationwide are going begging. And turnover rates are
edging toward 20 percent: IT professionals who dont like their
jobs feel no qualms about looking for new ones. And theyll
often boost their paychecks on their way out the door.
is the number one issue for managers today, particularly given the
role that people play in solving virtually every problem," said
R. Ryan Nelson, director of the Center for the Management of Information
Technology (CMIT) at the University of Virginia McIntire School
colleague Peter Todd, a professor at the University of Houstons
College of Business Administration, Nelson has studied issues of
recruiting, hiring and retaining IT workers. The two business professors
have identified best practices that offer common sense guidelines
to harried IT and human resource managers. (See 10 Tips for Recruiting,
Hiring and Retaining IT Employees, which is located at the bottom
of the page.)
qualities are key in the hiring process: communication and speed.
Because the labor market for IT employees is so hot right now an
employer must communicate interest quickly and clearly to a job
candidate or the candidate will move on to the next job offer.
communication and speed also are important. IT managers must communicate
their needs clearly to human resource officers, who may need to
move faster and pay more for IT hires than theyre
hiring IT employees can be frustrating and expensive, the alternative
is worse. Failing to hire needed employees puts companies at a competitive
disadvantage and can lead to lost business opportunities.
out of people in the information age would be like running out of
iron in the iron age," said Nelson, who coordinates the McIntire
Schools masters degree program in Management Information
Center for the Management of Information Technology promotes research
and education in the management of information technology through
a program that brings together business and higher education.
magazine has ranked McIntire's masters degree program in Management
Information Systems one of the top such programs in the country.
Charlotte Crystal (804) 924-6858
Tips for Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining IT Employees
of these common sense suggestions boil down to one word: communication.
To hire and keep IT employees, managers must communicate with current
employees, with those who can help identify potential employees,
with job candidates throughout the hiring process and afterward,
with new employees. While these tips are especially important for
responding to the current labor shortage in the IT field, they can
also be applied to a broad array of professional service businesses.
Develop partnerships and widen the candidate pool
For entry-level employees, establish contacts with faculty and career
officials at colleges and universities. For higher-level employees,
widen the pool of talent from which you draw. Get in touch with
recruiting agencies and employment agencies. Consider aptitudes
and competencies as well as specific technical skills -- some job
descriptions are so specific they discourage good candidates from
applying. Investigate nontraditional sources of labor, including
older workers and military veterans, through contacts at senior
centers and public affairs or community service offices on military
bases. And dont forget current employees as sources of referrals
for new employees.
Keep in touch Maintain ties to people you offered
jobs but who went elsewhere and those you interviewed but didnt
hire. Also, stay in touch with employees who leave. They might consider
returning in the future or recommending a future CIO.
Hire from inside Consider hiring people from inside
your organization who know your business and corporate culture and
who would like to upgrade their career opportunities by learning
Work with human resources IT people are not experts
in personnel issues nor are HR staff experts in IT. The two groups
need to work together. People in information technology must educate
the human resources staff about the pressures of the IT labor market,
including multiple job offers and the escalation of salaries. HR
should support the hiring process and take care of the details;
IT should make the decisions.
Sell the organization Develop an interview process
that sells your organization to the job candidates as much as it
assesses them. In todays labor market, prospective employees
have options and need to be courted. Think of the process as a dating
game, especially with younger candidates.
Bring the work to life Give people a chance to get
to know your organization and the kind of work theyll be asked
to do. Show them around so they can see the stimulating work environment
your company has created. Introduce them to coworkers. Show them
Involve peers Encourage a wide range of employee participation
in the interview and selection process. In particular, job candidates
peers can give a realistic view of work life in the organization.
They will also be good at assessing candidates fit with particular
work groups and may elicit more candid views about the organization.
Follow up After the interview process is complete,
follow up with the candidates as quickly as possible. Keep them
informed as the decision process unfolds to ease the uncertainty
of waiting. Open lines of communication may also let you know about
other offers the candidates are entertaining.
Make decisions quickly Offers need to be made as soon
as possible after the interview process has been completed. Delay
signals uncertainty and in the current labor market is likely to
lead candidates to accept other job offers.
Follow through When an offer is made, follow through
with answers to candidates questions, providing the information
they need to make their decisions. Be sure to deliver on your promises
even after a candidate has accepted an offer. Otherwise, your hiring
problem may become a retention problem.
Peopleware: Managing IT Human Capital, by R. Ryan Nelson, McIntire
School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, and Peter A. Todd,
College of Business Administration at the University of Houston,