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7 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring IT Talent

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Currently, the most significant success barrier most sectors face is a stifling lack of IT talent. According to Gartner, a lack of qualified team members directly halted the adoption of 64% of new technologies.

With the continuing digital shift in the workforce, competent IT specialists are in higher demand than ever, yet there is an ever-widening skills gap. Korn Ferry found that, by 2030, the U.S. could lose out on at least $162 billion in revenue per year if nothing changes.

This means recruiters need to rethink how they scout top talent. There’s no room for missteps or blunders. One wrong move can cost a company massive amounts of profit. Unfortunately, many recruiters haven’t caught up with the shift in hiring, leading to avoidable mistakes. Let’s look at seven instances where tends to fail.

1. Focusing too much on your own needs

It’s easy to become self-absorbed when hiring IT talent. Companies are often so laser-focused on what they need that they rarely pause to think about what their potential candidates might need.

You can think of it using the “fitting a square peg into a round hole” analogy. Recruiters have to consider more than just the fact that a candidate sounds right on paper. Will they mesh with company culture? Are they looking for non-financial motivators? If something isn’t right, don’t try to fit the talent into the job opening. There will be others.

2. Hiring for KPIs

Some companies are handing out bonuses for finding and onboarding new talent. While this can be a good incentive, the truth is that it can also be a hiring disaster.

For example, hiring someone to close a KPI often means that the talent gets left behind once the quota is filled. It’s sadly common for nobody to take an active role in talent development when KPIs are the primary focus.

3. Overlooking candidate expectations

This is a massive problem that the current hiring market has shone a glaring spotlight on. Previously, when companies believed candidates should be courting them, most felt little need to cater to what the talent might expect or need.

However, in this new market where the talent has more power, it’s a mistake to assume candidates will just “take what they’re given.” Top talent has plenty of options, and they won’t simply stay out of need or obligation if their work situation is different than advertised.

In a December 2021 poll by SHRM, 65% of executives said they were “extremely concerned” about their company’s ability to recruit new talent.

Part of this problem is that many organizations don’t have compelling, accurate employee value propositions. When it comes to IT recruitment, this is a death knell for a , because there is such a shortage of qualified talent.

Related: Stop Asking Job Candidates to Prove Why They’re Right for the Job

4. Over-communicating

Becoming like the clingy friend or significant other in your potential hire’s life is the quickest way to destroy any rapport you may have built.

There’s a fine line between staying in touch and smothering your talent. states that you should constantly be in contact to “keep candidates warm” throughout the process. However, most experts say it’s best to stick to a single, meaningful daily reach-out unless there’s a specific need for more. Talent won’t appreciate a constant stream of calls, texts and emails. Doing this can sour your candidate’s perception of the company.

Instead, during the initial contact phases, ask how they want to be contacted (phone, email, text, etc.) and how much information they’d like. This is an easy way to inform your communication strategy and signal that you’re thinking of the talent as a person.

5. Using money as the only motivator

Is money a powerful motivator? Absolutely. However, it’s not as important in today’s hiring market as it once was. Qualified IT specialists can pull substantial salaries anywhere. What else can your company offer?

Get to know your candidates. Find out what’s important to them. Do they have longstanding family obligations that require regular time off? Do they like spontaneous travel? Do they want easy access to health or fitness programs? Do they thrive when they’re given specific responsibilities?

Understand that most workers aren’t looking for their careers to be an integral part of their self-identity. The idea of a “fulfilling career” doesn’t hold much weight anymore, so the siren song of a high and basic benefits package is no longer enough. Take the time to discover what other things motivate your talent, and see if your company culture meshes with them.

Related: 6 Ways to Diversify Benefits to Attract Top Talent

6. Being inflexible

The Covid-19 digital pivot has permanently transformed the way we work. Now that employees understand how to effectively work remotely, most expect employers to deliver a certain level of flexibility, even if they have to return to the office.

There’s no place for rigidity in today’s hiring market. This applies to how, when and where your talent works, but it also applies to the rest of the recruitment process. Understand that the “rules of recruitment” may not apply in the same way they used to, especially since companies are often trying to attract top talent instead of vice versa.

Decide ahead of time which requirements are negotiable and which aren’t. Be open-minded to flex time, telecommuting and hybrid work. HR consulting expert, Rey Ramirez, told CNBC that companies that don’t offer flexibility are missing out on up to 70% of qualified candidates, which can be truly disastrous for businesses.

Related: 3 Ways to Fill Your Talent Pipeline as Tech Workers Ditch the Coasts

7. Lacking true diversity

It’s no secret that diversity in the workplace is critical to corporate success. However, candidates note which organizations are only giving lip service to the cause and which put action behind their words.

This goes deeper than gender and race. For instance, some companies may hire a superficially diverse range of people, but then candidates find they’re all Americans with old money connections and Ivy League degrees.

True diversity means looking holistically at a candidate’s qualifications, motivations and personality. Talent comes in all forms, and there are far more important traits than a college degree or a specific background.

Companies need all the help they can get in finding the broadest possible talent pool, especially for IT recruitment. There is intense competition across all sectors, and it’s no longer simply about who can shell out the biggest salary.

If your company falls victim to any one of these mistakes, there’s no way for you to reach your full potential as an organization. Businesses and talent both deserve the very best, but the only way to achieve this is to avoid the mistakes outlined above.


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