5 hiring tips when recruiting IT talent

James Milligan, Global Head of Technology at Hays

COVID-19 has driven up demand for IT talent. As organisations plot their road ahead, IT hires are crucial to their plans. But in a competitive market, how can you stand out to find and secure top IT professionals?

Throughout the pandemic, demand for technology talent has evolved. First, we saw a need for people with cloud-based skills who could deploy systems such as AWS and Azure to enable remote working.  This quickly shifted to cyber security candidates, then data analysts and data scientists who could take a predictive view of what would come next.

Now, organisations are thinking longer-term about their digital and technology talent strategy. According to findings in our new Hays Barometer Report, 46 per cent of IT employers have already returned to growth or rapid growth. Even those who are yet to return to growth are busy planning their path to a profitable future, which includes identifying the IT talent required to ensure their organisation will thrive once more. 

So, as employers think longer-term about their digital and technology talent strategy, here are five key areas to consider to help you secure top IT professionals today: 

1. Plan ahead

Lots of organisations, from large enterprises to public sector departments, had digital transformation programs in place pre-pandemic. However, they subsequently had to identify new priorities based on the changing needs of employees and customers.

These forward-looking businesses are coming to us with a planned approach. Some want to improve the tools they use to engage people while others are focused on improving virtual shop windows, websites or other channels of customer engagement that have replaced or augmented traditional human interaction. 

Most organisations now work in an agile or a semi-agile way, so they are looking for change management professionals as well as software developers to build and develop required applications.

2. Constantly evolve your recruitment processes 

To successfully hire top IT talent in a highly competitive market, organisations must evolve their processes quickly. COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of video interviewing and remote onboarding. However, many organisations still lack a cohesive remote onboarding process. 

If this describes your organisation, look to your IT department – most IT departments are agile, familiar with the appropriate technology and can assist in evolving the recruitment process. They are early adopters of new technology and they’re advocates of it. 

3. Look outside your usual talent pools

Organisations have become much more flexible in the geographies they will hire from. What remains to be seen is whether this will become the norm or if these placements are outliers within the market. 

In IT, based on the conversations we’re having with employers, it looks like we’re going to see a lot more talent placed into roles who are not geographically located near the office the role stems from.  

4. Welcome the cultural shift towards technology adoption

A lot of the time, when technology workers try to launch new systems in organisations, the change process is difficult as staff will not embrace it quickly. However, during this pandemic, people have been forced to rapidly adopt new technology, which has changed a lot of people’s view of adoption forever.

In fact, the pandemic has forced the biggest change that’s occurred across the world of work in our lifetimes. Collectively, we’ve demonstrated that organisations can pivot quickly. Behaviourally, users have demonstrated they are able to make rapid change, so psychologically they will be more open to new systems in the future.

5. Take time to reflect and retrain

Organisations have moved quickly and now need to revisit decisions made in early 2020 to ensure they’re robust. Look at your hybrid working model and make sure you are in a position where you can continue to operate and thrive.

The move to hybrid working will likely accelerate digital transformation, which means that technology professionals with legacy skillsets will need to retrain to make sure they have the skills required in this new world.

Finally, all organisations need to consider what this means for new entrants to the workforce. A large part of learning how to be effective in the world of work comes from observation, being mentored and getting real-time feedback. Organisations that have shifted to a remote model will need to consider how to manage this.

For more, download your free copy of Hays Journal issue 19.

About this author

James Milligan is the Global Head of Technology at Hays, having joined in 2000. In his role, he is responsible for the strategic development of Hays ‘ technology businesses globally.

Follow James on LinkedIn