hiring information technology contract employeesIT unemployment trends have often bucked overall national numbers throughout the recession and recovery, and hiring forecasts for IT in 2012 suggest that competition for experienced IT professionals with in demand skills (e.g., Java, .Net, mobile and app developers, software and system engineers) will only grow fiercer. As my colleague Jeff Monaghan reported in Are You Prepared for the Coming IT Staffing Crisis?, the number of US employers reporting difficulty filling open IT positions jumped from 14% in 2010 to 52% in 2011. This trend mirrors what we are seeing at ATR and what we are hearing more and more often from our clients. It is getting tougher and tougher to find the right people and many companies find that their IT positions linger unfilled for months.

With this in mind, I think our new e-guide, 9 Must-ask Questions That Will Guarantee a (near) Perfect IT Contractor Hire, is especially timely and hope it will be useful to our clients, friends and the readers of Staffing 360. Whether you are looking for a contractor or an FTE, recruiting on your own or working with an IT staffing firm, the guide provides practical advice based on ATR’s nearly 25 years’ experience recruiting IT talent nationwide. I want to draw your attention to Questions 9 and 5 because I think they are particularly important to consider in this competitive market and can provide a real advantage to those firms that “answer” them well.

“Are you ready to move quickly?” (Question 9) and “Did you put enough thought and effort into the job description?” (Question 5) are closely related because the way you answer one affects the other. If the answer to Q5 is yes then it is much more likely that the answer to Q9 will be yes as well. In a tight labor market the ability to act decisively can mean the difference between getting the right candidate or not. Companies cannot afford the luxury of taking months to search, or worse wait, for the perfect candidate. Developing a thorough and thoughtful job description, as Q5 advises, will help you to not only attract better qualified, more suitable candidates to choose from, but to also act more quickly and confidently in making hiring decisions.

Everyone develops a job description with the perfect candidate in mind and sometimes you find that 100% match. But it’s much more likely that your choices will be candidates that fit 90% of what you hoped for, in a tight market maybe even less. It’s critical to understand which 10% you can do without or provide training for; you want to be able to identify the right person, if not the perfect one. If you’ve interviewed someone that you like, and you think will be a good fit culturally too, you should move more quickly than not to make an offer, otherwise you may find they’ve been scooped up by someone else. The upfront investment, spending the time to really think about what you need and communicate it clearly, can give you a real edge in finding and hiring the right candidates.

As a provider of information technology staffing services, the idea for 9 Questions came about in part from conversations with our clients and the things they ask our advice about. I am a lifelong “student” if you will, learning from both my clients and colleagues across the industry and I am committed to giving back and sharing whatever I can that someone might find useful. I also believe that we learn, even as we share; putting our thoughts and experience into words was a good reminder and an opportunity for us to continue to focus our efforts on what we know works. I hope you find it helpful. 9 Questions is the first of several e-guides that we plan to publish in the coming months. We’ll be covering contractor retention, IT outsourcing trends, and interview techniques among other topics in future guides. If there is a question that you want answered or an issue you’d like to know more about please let us know.

Download 9 Must-ask Question That Will Guarantee a (near) Perfect IT Contractor Hire


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