Hopefully, you’re not experiencing what so many other employers are finding right now, which is an average of 28 days to fill an open position. But if you are, it’s likely you’re chasing down a dream candidate who doesn’t actually exist – or, at least, doesn’t exist in large quantities. Sorry to break it to you; we know it can be a tough pill to swallow. But the truth is, if your list of required skills, experience and qualities resembles the average family’s weekly grocery list, then you’re in trouble. Below, we look at why it’s so hard to find the perfect IT candidate.
Why Is the Perfect IT Candidate So Hard to Find?
In recruiting, the hardest-to-find candidates are often called “purple squirrels.” They’re the perfect candidate, fulfilling every single technical requirement while also being an awesome fit on a cultural level. But they’re called purple squirrels because they’re so elusive that they’ve, supposedly, never been sighted. Here’s why.
The Existence of Legacy Technology – It’s no secret that most people evolve their careers in alignment with technological trends. IT professionals want to stay relevant and knowledgeable in the industry, so they embrace lifelong learning and are quick to move on to new technologies.
The problem is that many companies – and even some whole industries – depend upon complex systems that were built with strong, time-tested technology. Some of these legacy technologies include C, COBOL, Fortran, and Mainframes. And with the massive influx of Millennials and the overall challenge of generation gaps in the workplace, it’s getting harder and harder to find the right people with skills in these “outdated” technologies.
There are two scenarios that desperately require professionals with these skills. First, as with any technology, you need someone to maintain and troubleshoot these technologies. Second, in the case that you want to upgrade the system and migrate all the data to a newer technology, you need someone talented in both technologies to ensure nothing is lost.
The Evolution of New Technology – Most companies recognize that cutting edge technology makes them more competitive on several fronts; it helps them attract customers who are looking for the next greatest thing, and it helps them attract top tech employees who want to work on with the latest and greatest technologies. In fact, BLS projections suggest that IT jobs will increase by 12% in the next decade – far above the averages of many other occupations.
Of course, the challenge is that companies wanting to implement these new technologies – like Swift, Mongo DB, Hadoop, Angular, Perl and more – exist in far greater numbers than the supply of talent it would take to assist them in that process.
Thus, it becomes harder and harder to find the people who have not only had the opportunity to learn these new technologies but also have had the time to apply them in real life scenarios.
The Passive Nature of Dream Candidates – Chances are, the dream candidate you’re looking for is already very happy in their current job. They’re likely well paid, and their current employer probably has a top notch employee appreciation strategy for recognizing and rewarding their top talent.
Plus, their impressive array of skills and experience means they’re never on the job market for very long. In fact, they’re probably never “officially” on the market at all – relying instead on their considerable networks for referrals and introductions in the case that they’re ever looking for a new opportunity.
To find these candidates, then, you’re going to need a well-connected network, competitive job offers, and a thorough understanding of what motivates these type of people to move from one job to the next. Use LinkedIn and industry events to your advantage, or navigate the marketplace with the help of technical staffing solutions.
The Limits of the Modern Recruitment Process – Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems in their hiring processes – and so do most staffing and recruiting firms. It saves a whole lot of time and effort in managing the influx of applicants and storing their resumes and other data.
One of the most valuable features of an ATS is the search feature. However, it can also be the most limiting. It’s all too easy to plug in a long list of requirements into the search and let the system filter through every applicant to find any matches. Sounds helpful, right? But if your list of requirements is unrealistically long, the ATS will filter far too aggressively, turning up a tiny talent pool that is hard to recruit from.
In our experience, there is so much top talent out there with outstanding skill in the key technologies employers need. These candidates are fast learners and can think on their feet, adapting to any new technology with ease. But because they can’t honestly list every required technology on their resume, they get skipped over without a second thought. It’s a predicament that only exists because we’ve automated the process so entirely.
Looking for the Perfect IT Candidate?
Let’s face it: We’re all looking for the perfect employee. We want to build our teams with the highest performers who are loyal to our companies and can contribute to our core business drivers. But that dream is just that: a dream. IT talent exists on a bell curve, and we have to admit that very few companies are able to recruit only from the best of the best. The good news is that there are plenty of candidates out there who are eager to learn and can truly help your company achieve great things.