describe the imageAt this point everyone in our industry is aware of the historically low levels of unemployment in IT. The competition for skilled IT workers of all types has been hot for a while now and shows little sign of abating, particularly in areas like project management and development. Salaries are on the rise and some of the perks and benefits being offered haven’t been seen in years. While hiring overall in the current economy still seems sluggish and many job seekers report multiple rounds of interviews and long hiring processes, sometimes months, in the IT world good candidates don’t last on the market more than a few weeks, sometimes they’re gone even faster.

With all this going on, an IT professional might say “why would I need to work with a staffing firm? Isn’t that for when I’m out of a job and the market is bad?” While that may be many people’s first thought, it couldn’t be more shortsighted. Yes, it is true that a staffing firm can be your best ally in a tough job market, but they can be just as helpful in a hot one. Consider the following things that working with a staffing firm can provide you:

  1. Access to the best jobs at the best companies. Because of long-term relationships with many of the leading technology companies or departments, staffing firms often know about available positions or new projects that will mean increased hiring at key firms before they are publicly posted on job boards and company web sites. If you’re working with a good IT staffing company, you don’t need to monitor job openings – combing the information to find the position that best meets your needs and career aspirations – they do it for you. Develop a good relationship with your recruiter, let them know exactly what you are looking for and what it will take for you to change positions, and then let them go to work on your behalf. This is a good idea even if you are currently between assignments and have “plenty of time” to look on your own, but it is almost an imperative if you are currently employed. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to advance just because you are too busy to find it yourself!
  2. Knowledge of what employers are looking for. Anecdotally we all know what IT skills are hot – programming; mobile application development; project management; etc. – but a good IT recruiter knows exactly what positions are available that utilize these skills and what combination certain employers are looking for, and sometimes what they’re looking for isn’t what’s on the Top 10 lists, or at least not yet. You may be in higher demand than you think, especially if you haven’t been out looking for a few years. Working with a skilled IT recruiter may help you uncover hidden or unexpected job skills that may put you in the driver’s seat more than you may have realized. Just as you’re an expert in IT, recruiters are expert in matching the right talent to the right job. Work with a professional, an expert; it makes sense in any business situation!
  3. The opportunity to enhance or develop a hot skill. Temporary or project based assignments can be a great way to learn new skills or technologies or to beef up your experience on a skill set you already have some knowledge of. Perhaps your company had one or two projects that gave you exposure to something new that you liked but there is little opportunity for more. An IT staffing firm can link you with employers who will value your transferrable skills and are willing to give you the opportunity to further develop them on a discrete project. Again, it’s all about developing a great relationship with your recruiter, being honest about what you do and don’t want to do, and what you’re really looking for in terms of career advancement and development.

When unemployment is high and positions scarce, it seems obvious to people that they need help and should work with a recruiter to get the best results but the same holds true when you’re in a sector or industry that is experiencing very low unemployment and where competition is fierce for good performers. Don’t be overwhelmed by the time and effort required to search for the best openings, by too many offers, or the wrong offers. Don’t go it alone. Call us, we’re here to help.

Jerry Brenholz
President and CEO
ATR International


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