Like everything in the tech industry, IT hiring moves fast. HR professionals often find they have to recruit and woo skilled candidates in a matter of days, not weeks, if they want to win over top-tier talent. Meanwhile, what works today for your company may not have the same results tomorrow. Predicting your tech needs ahead of time can be exceptionally difficult. A project that seems innocuous on its face may suddenly reveal a tangle of complications, which means you need to allocate a lot more resources than you previously thought. Additionally, a new innovation or release may suddenly make your existing software, hardware and configurations outdated in a matter of seconds.
For this reason, IT hiring strategies need to be developed with built-in flexibility — the ability to scale up or scale down as your needs shift with projects. The traditional process of examining your company’s goals and then developing a new internal role to fit won’t always work in this kind of rapidly changing environment. A rigid hiring plan paralyzes industries where responsiveness is everything.
That’s where a unique plan — one that includes the use of external vendors — provides a welcome relief. For many businesses, outsourcing IT to vendors allows them to be more flexible and cost effective with their work assignments. But managing those vendors comes with challenges of its own, which is why strategic partnerships sometimes make more sense. The hiring strategy outlined below will help you to clearly identify your staffing needs and create a unique hiring plan that makes sense for your business needs.
Analyze Your IT Roadmap
The first step of traditional hiring planning still holds true: You should evaluate your goals and create a detailed plan to get there. Part of your objective as an IT hiring manager is to filter your company’s larger objectives through the lens of information technology. These goals will set the tone for recruiting, in-house staffing, vendor management and other more scalable solutions.
Perhaps your goal is to develop to a fully articulated security plan, identify priorities and then implement them throughout the course of the year. Or maybe it’s to migrate your physical servers to the cloud or even something as simple as upgrading the software for some of your core operations. Regardless of the tasks you plan to accomplish, your staffing will need to be robust enough to meet your goals, yet conservative enough to be cost effective. And that’s exactly why your next step should be to gauge your current resources and staffing.
Assess Your Current Resources
You can’t make a plan if you don’t know where you’re starting from. That may sound obvious, it’s so critical to your hiring success. Your hiring plan must be built out of a solid knowledge of your current staff and an understanding of where there may be challenges ahead.
In particular, you’ll need to be realistic about your existing IT employees, their skill sets and how much they can actually accomplish in a set period of time. It’s natural to underestimate the number of man-hours it will take to accomplish a project, but that can lead to employee burnout, budget problems and other issues. Signs of pending trouble include increased turnover, employee fatigue and missed targets. Some indicators are more obvious than others, however. Subtler signs of burnout include an uptick in complaints — both internally and on the client side — as well as lower-quality work and lapsed deadlines. Signs of plunging morale like these could be a tip-off that you need to hire up, fast.
Consider a Flexible Hiring Strategy
In the current era of remote work and ever-more-specialized technology, internal staffing isn’t the only solution for IT hiring. In fact, many teams find a large in-house IT department to be a pretty poor remedy for their technology needs. Such teams cost vastly more to train and manage — and may not have the specialized skills needed for one-off projects. Or, on the flip side, some organizations find they can be much more effective when they hire a small internal team to handle core operations, moving more routine tasks off to an outside workforce.
For many businesses, the practical solution is to outsource these functions to an external vendor. Vendors offer financial savings, but they can also increase a company’s responsiveness. Flexible hiring strategies like these allow companies to scale IT resources up or down as it suits their business needs, rather than turning to a revolving system of staffing and layoffs.
Yet a digital rolodex of vendors, each with only a partial window into your company’s objectives, poses its own set of challenges. In this situation, it’s often necessary for team members to dedicate much of their day to vendor management. In fact, implementing such a strategy may mean that you need to completely revise your thinking around the role of IT in your company. If you do choose to keep an internal team, their function may evolve into one that is much more managerial than technical — something to consider as you build your hiring strategy.
Don’t Rule Out New Alternatives
Juggling a handful of vendors can be, well, a handful. Often internal staff finds they are doing so much work managing these vendors that they might as well be doing the work themselves — except they don’t have the specialized knowledge that such vendors have to offer.
This is exactly the reason all-in-one (AIO) IT partnerships exist. AIO IT offers an alternative to your alternative hiring strategy by consolidating the work of IT management and vendor oversight to a single source: your AIO partner. Rather than burdening existing team members with the task of vendor communication and management, AIO partners provide a selection of crucial IT functions themselves — and take on the role of vendor management for highly specialized projects, as well. IT partnerships like those offered by Taylored are so successful that some businesses find there’s no reason to enlist an internal IT team at all — or they’re able to pare down internal staff to its most essential team functions.
Whether you decide to go for an internal team, a hybrid or a strategic partnership, your hiring strategy must be specifically tailored to your needs — both now and in the future. In the long run, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution to IT hiring, but whatever you can do to ship faster and more frequently will mean the difference between a flash in the pan and a shining new star.