When it comes to attracting top talent, many small companies stand out to job candidates by virtue of their recruitment strategies as well as their unique company culture and company brand.
Yet in the realm of IT recruiting, these same companies often struggle to compete.
How can small businesses succeed in the competitive IT recruiting arena? Monster posed this question and others to a panel of staffing experts who shared their insights:
Monster: How can smaller companies compete for top IT talent?
O’Leary: Newer technology is always a draw; work-life balance programs help, too. Other tips can be to target resources who live closer. Commuting is low on the list of most employees and with gas prices heading upward I would try to take advantage with remote work or targeted recruitment of local resources.
Deriot: By offering involvement in strategic decisions, by paying more and having their business built on interesting products.
Daley: They can compete for top IT talent in a couple of ways: by being in an emerging technology field or highly coveted field like video games development or smart phone technologies, if not in production, at least in R&D. Also by offering competitive compensation, particularly in those industries where dramatic future growth is forecast.
Monster: What IT needs should smaller businesses consider outsourcing – what skills are best kept in house?
Daley: Cloud computing has opened up a whole world of possibilities for moving technology functions offsite, alleviating the need for servers and business applications to be owned by smaller companies. I believe that the user experience should never be outsourced as these are the essential touch points that the world has with a business.
O’Leary: That is a good question. It depends on the needs of the company. Many factors can drive to this model but results vary on expectations of the solution, delivery and execution. The right partner is key. If a firm is small, some operations are easily outsourced if it’s an on-demand requirement versus one that is 24x7 critical to an operation. Recruitment would be a good one to outsource if a firm didn’t have the bandwidth for a full team. You would pay on an as-needed basis so this can be a very manageable option, for example.
Deriot: This is highly dependent on the company strategy and background. I don’t believe there is one recipe that fits all. This is where smaller IT staffing firms can differentiate themselves, by not coming in with a pre-set agenda to push their one-fits-all business model, but by leveraging their ability to listen and agility to customize solutions. This may bring awareness to smaller company owners on a variety of solutions they didn’t imagine possible before. Sometimes, it is better to have some non-core business jobs covered by contractors taken care of by a staffing company that provides and assure the continuity of the services. This leaves the business owner and their employees free to focus their energy and knowledge on the key challenges of their business.
Monster: Is there demand for job candidates who have both IT and business experience?
Daley: Most definitely, this is the case as hiring managers try to maximize headcount by hiring professionals who have business-specific domain expertise and an ability to be hands-on in the client company’s IT environment.
Deriot: Yes, we have noticed this trend, even though it is not replacing all other profiles.
O’Leary: Business experience is certainly an added bonus for some; with more complex systems, it is becoming a required skill in many cases. Within certain industries candidates are more attractive who have prior knowledge of how and why a system operates and its effects “downstream” on each part of an organization. To do that you must have an ability to operate in both worlds. Technology professionals with this ability are in high demand, versus those who are more of a technical resource.
Monster: Can small companies leverage candidates with hybrid experience in IT and marketing or business?
Deriot: Yes, I do believe that smaller companies need more agile and flexible profiles, as their resources are more limited. An IT candidate who also brings some field experience or business processes is a plus to accelerate integration, deployment and interactivity between users and developers.
Daley: It depends on the company and the role of IT within that company. For example, if a candidate is hired to get a network up and running, that task would be critical-to- business and whether or not the candidate has hybrid experience in other functional areas may never come into play.
O’Leary: I think that would depend on their needs. If the timeline to deliver a product is key to your company being solvent, I think experts are needed. That is not to say there aren’t people who have changed careers and have dual backgrounds who couldn’t help. I just wonder if those candidates would be willing to go back to revisit a skill set that they chose to leave behind?
Learn more about IT recruitment trends:
Volt Workforce Solutions
As president of Volt Workforce Solutions, Tom Daley is responsible for Volt’s global talent acquisition operations through a network of locations in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia. Volt provides talent acquisition in all skill categories with a strategic focus on contingent/temporary placement, professional search, Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), workforce management programs and payroll services. During three decades at Volt, starting in 1980, Tom has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth to one of the world’s largest staffing organizations. In 2001, he was named as an executive officer of Volt. Tom is very active in national staffing and has served as a member of the board of directors of the American Staffing Association since 2002. He was elected an officer of the ASA board in 2010.
Frederic Deriot is a results oriented leader and strategic developer with a successful background growing business units as well as elevating organizational performance through skillful restructuring. Effective in boosting P&L profits and impacting service value recognition, he believes in Customer retention and diversification in order to grow sales revenues. He is the CEO of Segula Technologies USA (ex Kenda), a $30 million, 300 people, IT engineering and staffing company, which is part of the Group Segula, a private company in engineering consulting of $600 million. There, he is boosting recruitment and sales by increasing focus on Clients and candidates, as well as rejuvenating the vision and ambition for the company. Prior to that, he was Director of North America for Altran Group, which included 6 different consulting businesses (Altran Corp., Arthur D. Little, Control Solutions International, Imagitek, SEA and Synectics.) Frederic is also a member of CCEF, a worldwide network of Commercial and Trade advisors for French companies expanding internationally.
Terry joined Sapphire in 1996 as a technical recruiter in our Woburn, MA office. After quickly learning the Sapphire process, Terry became one of the top producers in the Northeast. His immediate success resulted in an opportunity to further market-share for Sapphire. Prompted by Senior Management, Terry moved to Philadelphia in 1998 and established a local Sapphire branch. To date, Terry's start up holds the distinction of being the fastest growing branch among the Sapphire network of offices. As a result, Terry was promoted to Branch Manager in our Boston, MA office. The re building project began in 2002 and by the end of 2005 the Boston office became the number one office in the network. As a result of his continued success in every role he has held Terry was promoted to Regional Manager overseeing Boston, New York and New Jersey markets in 2009. Terry has instilled a sense of leadership and trust among his teams, along with a solid commitment to client service and a focus on quality. Terry graduated from Northeastern University with dual majors; he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Human Resources.