"I think having those talent agencies that we can pull from, we can be successful," he says.
Strategies for hiring success
Recruiters and IT leaders say the challenge of landing candidates who have the desired skills and who fit into the organizational culture varies depending on factors such as the timeline for hiring, the geographic reach of the search and the position's compensation package. The higher the pay, the longer the lead time and the broader the search, the better the odds of getting the right fit.
Even when employers can find people with the technology skills they want, they often hold out for candidates who also have broad IT experience, business acumen and soft skills such as communication and collaboration capabilities, says Stranger. He points out that companies of all sizes need that combination because their technology team members usually have cross-functional responsibilities.
But while that strategy can work well when filling conventional IT positions — networking jobs, for example — it often won't work for jobs in hot disciplines such as security and big data, where employees have the upper hand in the labor market, Stranger says.
John Reed, senior executive director of IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology, agrees. "Typically companies have a very specific profile in mind that they're looking for, and the more specific, the more difficult it is for them to find," he says. "It's the same for candidates. Candidates don't want to leave a job for something that's comparable; they want something better."
Reed says most employers and employees eventually find what they're seeking. But there has to be some give. Companies need to ease up on requirements, raise pay and lengthen their search times to land the right people. Many already do all three, he adds.
A worker's perspective
Robert Romig, a Dallas-based IT support specialist at law firm Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason, is well aware that tech workers are in demand but says the strong IT job market doesn't mean he'd quickly land a job he wants.
"If I was to unexpectedly lose my job tomorrow, I could have job offers lined up within two weeks, three weeks at most," Romig says. "But being able to find a job is not the same thing as finding a good job."
Romig isn't looking to move from his current position, but he regularly gets calls from recruiters and staffing firms. But they're not always offering something better. He says finding the right fit — a challenging position with the right compensation in the right environment — would likely take longer than a few weeks because he'd have to sort through postings and eliminate contract and temporary positions as well as ones that would be lateral moves.
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