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4 'impossible' IT hiring scenarios (and how to beat them)

Sharon Florentine | May 7, 2014
Finding top tech talent remains one of HR's biggest challenges. In addition to a lack to skilled IT workers, budget constraints, geography and urgency, unrealistic expectations can make recruiting seem like a battle you can't possibly win.

Scenario 1: Salary Budget Is Below Market Rate

This is a common scenario, especially for well-known industry giants that rely on their reputation and history and don't keep their pay rates competitive, write Williams and Vecchio in the report.

This is where education and data can really make a difference, the authors say. Stakeholders who've been with the company for a long time may not understand what competitive pay rates are, so discussing the realities of competitive compensation rates and packages is critical, Williams and Vecchio say.

"Every study we've researched reveals that while salary isn't everything to a candidate, it can be a deal-breaker," says Berkowitz.

"Employees are only willing to take so much as far as pay cuts. But we also know that quality of life and work-life balance considerations are extremely important," Berkowitz says. Stakeholders need to know that candidates are looking at benefits, cultural fit, flexibility, and work/life balance. Therefore, it's important to discuss the following:

 

  • What attracts candidates to a larger brand versus a smaller one?
  • How does your compensation compare to competitors?
  • What added value can you emphasize if pay increases are not possible?

 

Scenario 2: Brand Recognition Fails to Attract the Right Talent

This is similar to the first scenario in that many enterprises with well-known, desirable brands assume their reputation is enough to attract and keep top talent, write Williams and Vecchio. But while that may be enough to lure talent, it may not be sufficient to keep it if compensation, benefits, culture and engagement aren't emphasized, Berkowitz says, leading to problems of turnover and attrition.

"Candidates are not looking at the brand alone. They look at the job itself, the work-life balance, benefits, culture, and salary," say Williams and Vecchio in the report. "In effect, [stakeholders] are expecting you to ask candidates to take a step down in order to accept a position," the authors say.

In this case, asking questions like, "What are the actual day-to-day role requirements? What experience level is truly needed? If there is a gap in pay scale, what can you do to make it up?'" can go a long way toward bridging the gap between expectation and reality, the authors say.

"There's a huge disconnect between the consumer brand perception and the employment brand perception," says Berkowitz. "While senior leadership may think, 'Well, everyone wants to work here,' that may not be the case once someone's brought on board and realizes that they aren't satisfied with the salary, the benefits, the culture -- it can be completely different once they're 'on the inside,'" he says.

To overcome this challenge, education and data become crucial once again. Be able to show hiring managers and stakeholders that there are tools in place that can help them understand what the talent market and candidate pool looks like, write Williams and Vecchio. And be prepared to ask questions like these:

 

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