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How to Recruit for In-Demand IT Skills

How to Recruit for In-Demand IT Skills

By: Catherine Conlan

According to Computerworld’s 2015 Forecast survey of IT executives, almost a quarter of all companies expect to hire more IT employees this year. Is yours one of them?

If so, you’ll need a plan to recruit the best of these coveted employees, including candidates with these three in-demand IT skills:

DevOps. The term refers to software developers who can also manage operations –including the server infrastructure that keeps company websites and applications online and running reliably, says Shayleen Stuto, talent coordinator at TechnologyAdvice.

“Having a strong DevOps team not only gives a company a solid core of experienced software engineers. It also reduces IT staffing costs and tightly integrates a company's products with the infrastructure that hosts them.

Web applications. Since 2011, web application skills have continued to be in high demand, says Moses Sison of Switch.co. Skills include Java, HTML and CSS.

Python/Django prowess. Some of the most in-demand and hardest to fill software engineer job skills include Python web application development experience or Django web application framework experience, says Vanessa Pean, Director of Talent at ScrollMotion.

IT Recruiting on Job Boards
Online job boards are always a good place to begin your IT recruiting. Sison says about 60 percent of his company’s candidates come from job ads.

It’s essential to market the awesome opportunities your company has to offer IT talent, says Sison.

This starts with a well-written job descriptions. When you sit down to write a job ad, be specific about the skills you’re looking for. Include a list of the attributes necessary to succeed in the role and those that are desirable in a candidate. And don’t forget to highlight what makes your organization special.

More Ways to Find In-Demand IT Skills
Courtney Muller, senior associate of talent at Novus, recommends spending time on a repository hosting service such as Github or other sites where developers share code and collaborate to find people with the skills you need. Holding discussion groups can be helpful as well.

“Hosting and participating in meet-up groups that support Scala and other technologies has been particularly helpful for our team to learn cool stuff from really interesting people and develop long-term relationships,” she says.

Tools such as TalentBin by Monster provide a comprehensive profile of technical professionals, including their contact information.

Recruiting IT Talent for Small Companies
Tech skills are important, but smaller companies may want to consider candidates with a broader background, says Kiyoko Fujimura, executive vice president of BuzzBuzzHome.

“As a startup with a lean engineering team of 12, it's important to us that every member is able to understand the end-to-end implementation of a project, not just the technical requirements,” she says.

Fujimura is constantly on the lookout for business-minded IT workers, people who she says “are looking to answer the question ‘Is the product I'm building actually solving the problem it's supposed to?’”

In your quest to find IT talent, also keep in mind employee referrals. “One of our best sources of candidates is our internal referral program where we offer employees $1,000 if they refer the successful candidate,” Fujimura says.

“Our team will also attend events, sometimes even wearing t-shirts that say ‘We're hiring.’ That usually makes us stand out from the crowd.”

How to Assess IT Candidates
Knowing how to assess a candidate’s IT skills will be a good match for your company can be challenging, particularly if you lack a technical background. One option is to bring in a tech employee who is on your staff to do a technical screening of candidate resumes. This person can also assist with conducting the more technical portion of the in-person interview.

During the technical interview, it’s not uncommon to ask the candidate to solve an IT problem using a whiteboard to explain their coding solution.  Companies such as Prove It! and Brainbench can help you assess a candidate’s technical know-how.

Finally, don’t forget to offer a level of compensation that is in line with the competitive recruiting landscape.  This is especially important for small businesses that must compete on compensation in 2015.