Looking for the right IT Professionals? Avoid the common pitfalls in your resourcing strategy.

“A company’s employees are its greatest asset and your people are your product”, Sir Richard Branson.

Wise words from Mr. Branson and this resonates with me personally because my job is to manage a business that focus’s on placing people, specifically IT professionals, into companies for short and long-term contracts.  I know the positive impact that great people can have on an organisation’s success. Conversely, I’ve seen when the wrong people are placed into organisations the detrimental impact this has on projects, teams and delivery.

It’s not to say these are ‘bad’ people but very often they are not the right fit.  Or more specifically, they lack the technical skills or specific technical acumen required for some digital transformation, IT driven change programs or more operational IT projects. The problem is often squarely linked to the resourcing stage of the process i.e. unequipped recruiters that don’t speak the right language or have an IT background and therefore can’t properly screen candidates. It leads to poor candidates getting through screening which leads to, at best, delays in recruiting or, at worst, the wrong candidate slipping through the net.

5 Tips to Selecting your Resourcing Partner (and the pitfalls to avoid).

  1. Partner wisely:
    • The selection of the right resourcing partner is a fundamental success factor in your company’s demand management and resourcing strategy. They are not all created equal. The reality is that many resourcing companies are utilising relatively junior salespeople more focused on targets and commission than ensuring you get candidates with the right skills and credentials, and are a cultural fit (one bad apple spoils the bunch). They’re usually not specialists and have a little bit of knowledge across multiple sectors but no real domain expertise. Screen your recruiters and resourcing professionals and establish their technical capabilities. Don’t get me wrong, there are many great resourcing partners in the market but evaluating their ‘tech’ credentials is paramount – it’s a different language.
  1. Speak the language:
    • Following on from the ‘partner wisely’ recommendation, it’s always valuable to partner with a resourcing partner that has IT People placing IT Professionals. You want to ensure that technical people are screening for technical roles. It’s the difference between a candidate being able to bamboozle a resourcing professional with a one-sided conversation littered with technical ‘jargon’ than a really meaningful and in-depth validation of skills and experience. It’s not to say the former won’t get ‘caught-out’ later in the process but it does improve the speed and quality of the screening process.  And, importantly, it means you’re not putting the wrong candidates through to interview stage and wasting the time of your IT leadership team.
  1. Look for Flexibility:
    • It’s important to find a resourcing partner that understands your business and demands (and often irregular demands) this places on your human resource requirements. Challenge your resourcing partner on their approach to full-time and part-time placements. Push them on their willingness and ability to service the long-term but also those Ad Hoc (unexpected) support engagements.  Set expectations early.
  1. Do they eat their own dog food?
    • It’s often valuable to see if the resourcing company is part of a larger company or group i.e. an IT Solutions provider. If so, is the resourcing body also responsible for hiring IT professionals into this business. It falls along the lines of “if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me”. This gives extra credibility to their claims about the quality of the candidates they source and how robust their screening process is or isn’t.
  1. Gut feeling:
    • Now for the intangibles. You can check your resourcing partners credentials, their subsidiaries, their references (and you should definitely do this) but sometimes it’ll simply come down to a gut feeling about them.  They’ll be partners and, importantly, they’ll be responsible for bringing your company’s product (to re-quote Mr Branson) into your organisation. This impacts your company’s performance, reputation and culture. You’ll sometimes rely on your gut instincts to let you know if you trust these people, do they share your values etc.  I recently listened to a presentation about putting customers at the heart of your business and the presenter showed a slide that sums it all up. “Respect is earned, honesty is appreciated, trust is gained, loyalty is returned”. These are the building blocks of a long and mutually beneficial relationship but, like most relationships, you’ll follow your initial gut feeling and that’s not a bad thing.