Finding the Right Recruitment Recipe
With so many candidates to choose from, it's like searching for a needle in a haystack, and CIOs must be increasingly wary of the wildly varying quality of candidates as they sift through the huge piles of incoming job applications. Consider that Hedges is getting as many as 50 applications for positions that used to attract 10 to 15 applicants, and you get a picture of the minefield a CIO must navigate to find the right person. "It's like going into a major department store," says Kasey Bevans, CIO of Balfour Beatty Construction. "You get overwhelmed by the massiveness of it all."
To add to the challenge, the tenuous state of the economy is not only limiting the salaries and perks companies can offer prospective IT workers--it's forcing CIOs to explore new (read: cheaper) ways to attract the talent they need, such as Hedges' university outreach.
See also: Do's and Don'ts for IT Staffing
In Bevans' case, that has meant cutting back on her reliance on recruiters, whose services she says are unnecessary with so much talent on the market today. Instead, she's focusing on personal recommendations, especially from contractors who've worked with numerous companies and thus can point her toward top talent in hard-to-find places. "In many cases, we're going out there and trying to find people who already have a job, and steal them away," says Bevans.
Bill Rogers, CIO of printing press maker Goss International, has opted to keep his ear to the recruiting scene during these challenging times, even as he relies on recruiters less to meet his current needs. Rogers says he wants to stay abreast of what kinds of skills are most available, where the shortages are and what the recruitment trends are looking like, as he fully expects time to be of the essence once the floodgates open. "When the market comes back and I need people, I believe I'm going to need to [hire] rapidly," Rogers says. He says he believes that having those connections with recruiters--whom he'll use again more heavily when things improve--will help him get to the best people before they're snatched up.
Meanwhile, Rogers is trying to take advantage of a market rich with IT talent by shoring up specific areas of perceived weakness, like security, where he lacked an expert in choosing products, evaluating threats and administering security procedures. He was able to find someone he felt he could entrust with his company's entire security strategy. "I spent all this money on anti-virus and anti-spam and all sorts of other things," Rogers says. "I just needed someone to pull that all together and make sure we're spending money in the right areas." As a bonus, thanks to the economy, he was able to find the level of expertise he sought at a discount.