10 Tips for Recruiting and Retaining IT Pros

By Katherine Spencer Lee  |  Posted 04-10-2008

10 Tips for Recruiting and Retaining IT Pros

In a recent survey, 24 percent of CIOs polled by Robert Half Technology said finding skilled IT professionals is their greatest management challenge. Despite the economic downturn in some sectors, competition for the most skilled IT professionals--those with the right mix of practical experience and skills in the hottest IT segments--is still tight.

In another survey by Robert Half Technology, CIOs said it takes an average of 56 days to fill staff-level positions and 87 days to bring new managers on board. That's a long time to wait, with greater chance of project delays, frustrated end-users and lower employee morale.

In order to locate the IT staff members needed to keep projects on time and on budget, savvy companies are devoting greater resources and ingenuity to their recruitment and retention efforts.

Click to the next page for 10 tips to keep in mind as you fine-tune your efforts to find and keep the best and brightest.

Recruitment Tips

Recruitment 

1. 'Sell' the firm. You need to recognize the unique selling points of your company -- whether it's career growth opportunities, leading-edge technology, tuition reimbursement, corporate stability or flextime. Promoting these positives via the company's Web site, prominent social networking sites and corporate literature can go a long way toward recruiting the talent you seek.

2. Pay more than competitors. Companies are increasing compensation levels for new hires at nearly all levels of experience. You must pay slightly more than other firms to attract the market's best talent. Benchmark your current compensation against industry-standard ranges found in publications like the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide.

3. Make recruitment an ongoing priority. Waiting until you have a job opening to hire may be too late to secure the best candidates. Plan ahead for positions in which you foresee vacancies due to turnover, large workloads or upcoming expansion plans.

4. Involve your team. Ask staff members for referrals, as these people often make the strongest hires. Referral programs can be cost-effective and efficient.

5. Focus on entry-level employees. There are fewer available IT professionals with many years of experience; recruiting them can be costly and time-consuming. Instead, focus on hiring promising entry-level employees and offer them the professional development opportunities they need to grow. 

Retention Tips

 

Retention

1. Get flexible. While telecommuting and flexible-scheduling options were once offered only by the most progressive companies, they are increasingly more common as more organizations acknowledge the work-life balance needs of their employees.

2. Offer training. IT workers are particularly appreciative of professional development opportunities because the rapid evolution of technology mandates that they keep their skills sharp in order to position themselves for promotions and advancement.

3. Let them explore. Efforts to ensure employees remain engaged in their work can extend beyond the traditional realm of IT: Members of your department may welcome the chance to join cross-departmental teams that focus on company-wide initiatives, such as improving employee communications or exploring the best way to reach new customer groups.

4. Build a true team. Promote activities that build rapport among staff members. Employees who have friends at work--and have positive interactions with their managers and co-workers--are typically more satisfied.

5. Tackle burnout. Promoting realistic workloads, encouraging employees to ask for help and addressing morale issues immediately can help prevent employees from feeling stressed and unhappy.

Katherine Spencer Lee is executive director of Robert Half Technology, an IT staffing firm.

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