Cray, the global supercomputing technology leader, has been partnering with ESP IT since 2011. ESP IT started working with Cray through Blaine Ebeling, Senior Software Manager. Blaine was searching for engineering consulting talent with very specific experience in Linux Systems. Throughout the years, we at ESP have learned about Cray’s particular technical needs and fantastic work culture, helping them find the strong, self-motivated engineers they’ve needed. In fact, many of the contractors we’ve placed at Cray have converted to full-time roles. Cray reaches out to consulting firms when they’re unable to find resources through their own HR recruiting staff – meaning the roles they send to ESP are especially challenging due to the competitive IT labor market Minnesota is experiencing. We’ve been able to deliver because we took the time to listen and truly understand the skills and traits needed to be a successful team player at Cray. Thanks for the years of partnership and the kind testimonial Blaine!
Are IT consultants your best solution to the talent shortage?
Demand for tech talent is fierce. The Twin Cities alone boast 164,500 opportunities for tech pros, and that number is projected to keep growing. Unfortunately, high competition also means that employers face high tech talent turnover. Though many have implemented retention-driven strategies and launched specific perks designed to hold onto these fleeting IT pros, reports still reveal a turnover rate of between 9.1% and 10.6% for employees in the tech industry.
That a gender gap exists in tech is an undeniable fact, though not a new revelation. Groups such as Girls Who Code and Women Who Code have made efforts to draw awareness to this issue, sharing research proving the number of women graduating from college with computer science degrees has dropped from 37 percent in 1984 to 18 percent today, along with other startling findings.
But an underlying question, the big “so what?” remains largely unanswered. As a result, many in tech are left wondering whether the hot-button issue has received more hype than it is worth.
Working with or in IT, you’ve undoubtedly encountered contract-to-hire. Since gaining popularity around 2010, these opportunities have been purported as “win-win” solutions for employers and employees alike, allowing individuals to contract with a company for a defined period under the mutual intention of considering a more permanent arrangement when the contract is over. But while many find this middle-ground arrangement to be the best of both worlds, others have concluded that perm-only or contract-only arrangements are their best fit. That’s why it’s important for both parties to consider the positives and negatives before pursuing a contract-to-hire arrangement. Who knows – after considering all the facts, you may find yourself making an unexpected choice.
Upon first establishing a need for tech talent, most IT hiring managers will begin by making a list of specific skills, traits, or experience levels that are most desirable. They may also make a list of skills and traits to be avoided. However, both lists can prove detrimental to their talent search, particularly in light of the tech talent shortage. Instead of blindly following traditional guidelines to filling a role or contract opening, we challenge you to consider why the following three qualities have made your “no” list. You may find that these often-considered “negative” qualities will lead you to your next great hire.
Pros and Cons to Consider Before Screening for Your Contract Needs
When a company finds itself in need of an IT pro, hiring managers and IT recruiters begin sifting through a variety of resumes – weeding out candidates based on predetermined requirements for the role they are hoping to fill. In the past, one such requirement has been a consultant’s acquisition of a 4-year degree. However, many new initiatives and developments in the world of IT have necessitated a change in that mode of thinking. While we certainly wouldn’t turn this prerequisite on its head (screening for IT pros without a college degree) in many cases it has become an outdated mode of elimination. So before beginning the search to fill your upcoming contract needs, consider these positives and negatives to an IT pro having or not having a diploma. Doing so can help you make an educated decision about what you’re REALLY looking for, and can help you find the best resource for your needs.
You probably know better than anyone that there’s a shortage of IT talent. The IT industry is constantly growing and evolving, and the unemployment rate in the tech sector is currently around 3%, so how do you get ahead of your competition to get the skilled IT professionals you need? It might surprise you, but the IT market and housing market currently have a lot in common. If you’re looking to engage the best IT consultants, you may need to start thinking in terms of buying a house and follow these 3 tips:
Ever wonder what a recruiter looks for when working to fill a job post? You know the basics of a good resume: bullet points, bolded titles, no spelling errors. But there’s a lot more to reading a resume and quickly assessing if the candidate should receive further consideration. Check out these 6 lines of questioning our recruiters use when they view resumes to find qualified candidates for our clients.
- Location. Are they local? If not, are you willing to relocate a qualified candidate?
- Education. If you require a specific degree, and it’s a deal-breaker, does the applicant have the necessary education?
- IT Skills and languages. What skills, languages, or technologies does the candidate highlight on their resume? How many skills and languages do they claim to be an expert in, and is it what you need? Or are so many listed that you wonder if they are an expert at any of them at all?
- Experience. Do they have relevant experience? Do they have a record of promotion on their resume? If not, why have they not been promoted?
- Past companies. Have they worked for good companies? Is the company culture at any of those companies similar to the culture at your company?
- Projects. What projects have they been a part of? Do they talk about their specific contributions to these projects, and are those contributions relevant?
This list is a good starting point for narrowing down qualified applicants, but keep in mind, the best applicant is someone who knows their limitations and what they still need to learn. Even if they don’t have everything you want, they might have what you need, and the potential to learn. If the candidate is able to pass this cursory glance, then dig deeper into their resume to find a candidate that is not only qualified but a great addition to your team.
Save your company some time and money by beginning your hiring process on the phone. Phone interviews can narrow down your applicant list and help you find compatible and qualified employees. However, giving a phone interview can be just as difficult as being interviewed over the phone. Take some notes from casting directors to conduct a great phone interview and be sure to do the following 3 things:
1. Prepare the set
Use a headset.Ever get a pain in your neck after a long phone call where you shoved the phone between your ear and your shoulder so you could ferociously take notes? A director doesn’t follow an actor around with a boom mic or push around a camera; he has a grip for that. So why should you do things the hard way? Instead, use a headset while giving phone interviews. This allows you to be hands-free so you can more easily take detailed notes about the phone interview. This will set you up to ask better, more pointed questions in your follow-up, in person, interview.
Seeing the resume of a potential hire doesn’t tell you everything about who they are as employees. You need to know what inspires and drives them. We’ve broken candidates down into three general personas that you will see while hiring to help you decide who will be best for your organization.
Who do you need?
Look at your current team. Focus on who would work best with the people you already have and consider if there are any areas that could be improved. Are there gaps that require an expert? Are you looking for someone to help the company grow from within? Or do you need to add young people to your team to start building your team of future rockstars. When you form the new position and write the job description, consider the traits you need the most.