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IT Staffing Firms: Dos and Don'ts

Teaming up with an IT staffing
firm will put you in front of
the right person.

by Mike Bryan

Thanks to the competitive nature of IT jobs, it's not uncommon to get sucked into the "black hole" of IT applications. You know the drill: You send off a cover letter and resume, never to hear from the company again. By teaming up with an IT staffing firm, you increase the chances of getting noticed and eventually scoring the job. IT staffing firms often work directly with hiring managers to get details of the actual job needs. A firm often has access and insight to ensure the candidate's resume and profile gets in front of the right person.

If it's your first time working with an IT staffing firm, you might not know what to expect. Luckily, with a little prep work — and some general etiquette rules — you can make the experience more efficient and profitable.

IT Staffing Firm Do's:

  • Choose a firm whose goals and priorities align with your own: Not all staffing agencies are created equal: relationship and reputation are critical. Research and work with one, two or three recruiters/firms that have a good reputation. Check out LinkedIn and ask for colleague referrals to find the best firm for you and your needs.
  • Be honest: Remember that a staffing firm isn't the enemy. Instead, look to a firm as your ally in helping you get hired. Avoid glossing over touchy subjects, like why you're leaving your current job. Be up front about your strengths and your weaknesses so the firm has a better chance at matching you not with just any job, but the right job.
  • Be flexible: The IT firm is working for both you and a number of IT organizations looking to interview candidates. The more willing and accommodating a person is will help in being considered for the opening. The more willing a candidate is to provide references in a timely manner, the better for them and the agency.

IT Staffing Firm Don'ts:

  • Rely solely on the IT firm: While it's true that a firm can help you get a job, it doesn't mean you should give up the search either. Continue checking out job boards, LinkedIn, career sites and using your connections for the best chance at identifying and applying for the job you want.
  • "Double submit": Don't apply to a company directly after a recruiter has made you aware of an opportunity and agreed to present you for consideration. Many companies will eliminate candidates from consideration who have been "double submitted" either by two agencies or by an agency and the candidate's direct application.
  • Waste time: The IT organization pays the IT firm to find the right candidates. If you're not serious about the job search or aren't ready to take on a new opportunity, don't play games and end up wasting everyone's time.

Best Practices

A lot of candidates have had bad experiences with agencies mainly related to lack of communication. If you've been burned in the past, you can pinpoint the right recruiter by asking plenty of questions. The best recruiters are more interested in the long-term relationship between you, the firm and the client, rather than quickly putting you in an ill-matched job. By coming prepared with questions and making sure you're ready for a new opportunity, you'll get more out of working with IT staffing firms — and hopefully, the job you want.


Recruiting the Best IT Candidates

Top companies vie for the
best IT candidates.

by Sunil Krishnamurthy

In today's recruiting word, the demand for quality talent far outweighs the available talent pool. This causes intense competition, as all the top companies vie for the same qualified candidates. In this case, recruiters often find themselves as salesmen. What makes this position better than all the other opportunities out there? Here are some tips on recruiting the best IT candidates:

Understand the Candidate's Motivators

In a candidate conversation, you need to understand what the candidate wants and what would prompt him to make a change. Different factors are important to different job seekers. For example, those that prefer permanent or full-time positions may be most interested in the benefits package, training & education opportunities within the organization or what kind of career growth a job offers. Others may care more about work environment/work-life balance, a team-oriented workplace, or just the lure of a larger, more stable organization. Of course, salary and compensation packages (such as a 401K, bonuses and flexible spending) are almost always a motivating factor.

For contract positions, the motivations might be different. These may include hourly rate and duration or of the contract or benefits the consulting agency offers. Others are more intrigued by the kind of work the position offers and the technologies and skills that they could add to their repertoire.

Once you have an understanding of the candidate's motivators, you can begin focus on those points during the conversation to make the opportunity more appealing and you will be in a better position to sell the role to the candidate.

Access Assess the Candidate's Interest

After you present the opportunity spotlighting the main motivators for the candidate, you can begin to assess their level of interest. Ask them straight: "So, how do you feel so far, based on the information we presented to you?" You should might get a positive interest response, especially if you targeted the position based on their motivating factors. If you find that their response is lukewarm, this should prompt further questioning to determine other potential motivating factors (or a possible change in their criteria). Ask questions such as, "What other factors are important for you in a new position?" or "What are the plus and minus positive and negative points per your search criteria that you see in the position I just presented to you?" What they don't like about a position is a significant factor – it's an opportunity to either retool your search or present selling points that might overcome their objection. This is where the "Selling" part of the job opportunity comes in and you have to make sure you have all of the information and tools you need – from the job description and skills, to the benefits, perks and any other factors – to effectively "sell" the job opportunity to the candidate. Let Encourage them tell you to share how they're feeling and go from there.

Use a Gentle Professional but Firm Approach

Approaching the conversations with a gentle, honest but firm hand presents a professional front. It's important to keep in mind that you may cross paths with these candidates again and building a professional & trustworthy relationship will open doors to networking opportunities and will help you differentiate yourself from the competition. It's important to be judicious and mindful with your time spent on conversations with candidates – especially those who are passive and are not really looking for a new position - although these candidates might definitely be tapped at a later date if their situation changes and could be a good investment of time. Occasionally a hard sell might work in these situations, but you should evaluate these on a case-by-case basis.

In today's recruiting world, the ability to sell an opportunity to a candidate is an extremely important skill for any recruiter, especially with candidates getting more savvy about picking between their multiple options. Show the candidate why the position is unlike any other – and blow them away with your understanding of their key motivators.  Do these things properly and you'll consistently be recruiting the top IT candidates.


Hudson Predicts Future IT Recruiting Trends for 2014

Businesses need quality IT talent to
undertake workplace challenges

By Kristyn McIntosh

It's safe to say that technical professionals are in demand right now. Businesses across all industries need quality IT talent to undertake operational, technical, and upper-level challenges in the workplace. In this fast-paced world, Hudson's IT recruiters understand the potential opportunities and challenges the industry faces. Here are some of the IT recruiting trends our recruiters foresee in 2014:

Increased Opportunity in Social Media

Social media has greatly increased opportunities for recruiters in the IT field, especially with the upsurge of LinkedIn and Twitter. LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools recruiters have at their disposal. With just the click of a button, a recruiter has the candidate, company, and basically an entire resume right at their fingertips. In the next five to ten years, it's likely that LinkedIn will replace job boards and become the one-stop shop for recruiters — and candidates.

Increased Competition

In today's marketplace, the demand for experienced developers (with such skills as .NET, Java and more) is higher than the available talent pool. This creates intense competition for quality talent that isn't changing anytime soon. While the language and required skills may grow and develop, the story will stay the same. The need for skilled talent will only continue to increase as the technology advances.

Contractors vs. Full-Time Positions

Recently, IT recruitment has experienced a significant shift towards contractors instead of full-time positions. Bigger companies have begun to realize the value of bringing on contractors for a particular project. At the same time, midsize to smaller companies have begun to focus on building a positive employer culture and keeping candidates on for full-time, longer-length positions.

Hudson IT recruiters know and understand the complex and dynamic industry of information technology. Their combined experience and industry knowledge make Hudson a great choice for businesses seeking recruiting solutions for all their IT needs.  Be sure to check back for more IT recruiting trends and the latest industry information.


How to Write an Effective IT Resume

Getting your foot in the door starts
with an effective resume

By Kelly Cavanaugh

The current job market is competitive for everyone, but perhaps even more so for IT professionals. Getting your foot in the door starts with having an effective IT resume. To put together a resume that attracts interest - and accurately reflects the complete range of your knowledge and experience - keep these tips in mind.

What to include

Unlike resumes for most professional jobs, an IT professional should include a "Technical Summary" at the top of his or her resume. The Technical Summary should be short and concise, including such vital information as:

  • Technical certifications
  • Knowledge of operating systems, hardware, networking/protocols
  • Experience with programming/languages, database and Web applications
  • A brief description of the key technical skills you used in each of your jobs, so employers see your current skills and understand the depth of your experience with them

Many programs and applications serve as keywords that should be part of your IT resume. A review of most technology job boards will give you a good idea of the types of skills and credentials most often employed. Be sure to include those keywords most relevant to your experience (don't add programs or applications you're not familiar with, because your claims will catch up with you later on).

A "Career Summary" is also important, since employers want to know the IT professional they hire works well with others, has some interpersonal communications skills and is capable of understanding the company's strategic goals. Eliminate the outdated "Objectives" section, using your Career Summary to note your professional achievements and your goals, briefly and concisely.

What's of most interest to recruiters and hiring managers are your specific achievements as an IT professional. Some technology job applicants mistakenly choose to list everything they've ever worked on, which translates into an unmanageable amount of detail and a resume of such length few people will ever take it seriously. Focus on what is relevant to the position you're applying for.

For an effective IT resume, think in terms of results. What positive outcomes did you generate while leading or actively participating in company initiatives? Did you improve an operational process? Shorten the time-to-market for a new product? Save money through the use of different technology?

Include specific challenges you faced in your previous IT positions and describe how you overcame those challenges. If you can include performance figures in your IT resume (dollar figures, percentages, etc.), so much the better. Hiring managers look for examples of ROI they can envision taking place in their own companies.

Finally, information about your educational background is needed, but not in any great detail (don't include high school attendance, for example). Be sure to list degrees and professional certifications and leave it at that.

How to present your resume

Try looking at your current resume through the eyes of a recruiter. Does it seem too long or too short? Do you use three words where one or two might work instead? Just as we're all in the habit of scanning content online, hiring managers scan resumes for relevant information. If they don't find any in the first few seconds, chances are they will simply move on. Other tips:

  • Keep your summary paragraphs short and to the point.
  • List activities and results in bullet-point format.
  • Avoid use of personal pronouns like "I" or "me" or "we."

What's the proper length of a resume? This varies, depending on the number of jobs you've had and the extent of your professional experience. If your content is meaningful and relevant, don't be afraid to go to two or three pages. Just remember - there's no need to include your entire work history. Focus on information that's relevant right now.

Before submitting your resume

Putting your IT resume together in a presentable format isn't the end of your responsibilities as a viable job candidate. It is critically important that your resume be free of all typos, misspellings, mistakes in grammar, etc. Proofread the finished product carefully. Then give it to two people for review. Make whatever changes are necessary and then proofread it again.

Also make sure the information included in your resume is consistent with your social media profiles. Prospective employers will likely check your Facebook page and LinkedIn profiles (at the very least) and any significant discrepancies in your work history or technology background will serve as a red flag (and a strike against you).

Finally, don't make the mistake of thinking "one size fits all." You're applying for a variety of IT positions, so it makes sense to take the time necessary to customize your resume so it's of most interest to different employers. Anything you can do to set yourself apart from your fellow job-seekers is a point in your favor.


How to Pinpoint Sources of Superior Talent

Sourcing superior talent involves
the use of innovative channels

Contributed by Mike Hosmer, Hudson IT Recruiter, Chicago

One of the issues in assessing the source of superior talent is that it can be difficult to pinpoint precisely where their application originated. For example, digital footprints can be misleading; someone who applied to a company directly via its corporate website may have first heard about the opportunity through their networks or via a job board and then looked up the website. Asking the question: 'Where did you first hear about this role?' is necessary to create a reliable source of hire data.

Hudson IT believes that the quality of hiring is largely influenced by the skill of the recruiter. However, sourcing superior talent today involves the use of innovative channels tailored to the role. These include a strategic long-term approach to talent-pooling and exceptional skills in using emerging online channels with a global reach, such as LinkedIn. The best recruiters are those who can put themselves in the shoes of their ideal candidate — and use the insights this process brings to get closer to them.

If you think your sourcing channels could be improved, consider:

  • Reviewing source of hire reports to understand your starting point. What is currently working and what isn't?
  • Asking placed candidates where they first heard about the opportunity and ensure this information is uploaded to your ATS . Then extend the question to all applicants.
  • Identify your most business-critical and regularly recruited roles and build talent pools so that you move to a more proactive model.
  • Be open-minded. Take the time to look at the backgrounds of your high performers. We often find their experience doesn't live up to the expectations of hiring managers. Are you narrowing your field on the wrong factors?
  • Think about appropriate feeder roles (the job the right person may have been doing a year or two ago) and competitors who employ those skills.
  • Get social and make it easier for your networks to help you recruit.
  • Engage external expertise to review your existing sourcing channels and propose practical ways you can optimize these for your organization.
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Hudson is a global talent solutions company. We help transform the workplace and unleash the full potential of organizations and individuals. Our expert team and proprietary tools provide you with unique insights and services that help you maximize your success. Across 20 countries, we deliver a range of recruitment, talent management and recruitment process outsourcing solutions to get you and your business where you want to be.