Strategies to Hire “Right”

By Mark Paul


Today’s IT managers are kept up at night, haunted by the thoughts of how they are to accomplish large and complex IT projects in less time, with less money, and with fewer resources. The feeling of being overwhelmed and incapable is a feeling that runs deep in many organizations, as managers seek to keep up with the increasing and ever-changing demands of the IT landscape. However, the following strategies can help augment your team, to help you keep up with the work required and deliver quality projects efficiently and effectively.


I. Build a better business case.

When it comes to hiring IT staff, but senior management states little or no budget as a reason why hiring cannot be executed, mid-level managers need to prove to seniors why hiring would be beneficial to business operations. Through illustrating the following various benefits, this task can be accomplished.

Hiring additional talent can:

  • Eliminate capacity constraints, improving sales, service, and operational efficiencies
  • Improve productivity, decreasing the response time to problems in a network or application
  • Help meet deadlines, furthering the economic benefit of faster project implementation
  • Shorten the learning curve for new technologies, creating more efficient operations at a faster pace

Executives understand how small inefficiencies can add up and trickle through the entire organization, increasing costs and resulting in the loss of clients, revenue, and even internal staff. Hence, a proactive approach showing how hiring either full-time or contract staff will improve your firm’s ROI, through cost reduction or an increase in productivity and revenue. 

II. Streamline your hiring processes.

Many companies take too long to finalize hiring decisions and extend employment offers to shortlisted candidates. As the best IT professionals do not stay on the market for much time, inefficient hiring processes can result in losing out on top talent.

To ensure your company gets a hold of top talent as quickly as possible, the following processes help make hiring faster:

  • Having great job descriptions prepared for all critical positions
  • Creating a clearly defined candidate evaluation process, including systems for resume scoring, interview evaluation, and assessment testing
  • Providing better training to department managers on the hiring process (how to spot the best resumes, how to interview better, how to negotiate salary, etc.)
  • Preparing interview questions specific to IT professionals and having them ready before you ever need them.
  • Improving communication between your department and human resources to avoid bottlenecks
III. Start with the “Big Rocks.”In his book, First Things First, Stephen Covey describes an individual’s “big rocks” as the most essential tasks or projects to be completed with regards to meeting specific goals or achieving specific results. Placing the “big rocks” into a bucket first, allows you to fit “sand, gravel, and water” – those less-important-but-still-vital things – around the rocks, which help ensure the important things get done properly, and on time. In order to achieve this, organizations can do what the staffing industry calls, “backfilling.”

To start, assign the “big rocks,” or the most critical tasks, to the best employees. The smaller, routine tasks, which Covey described as the “sand, gravel, and water,” that distract the best employees, should be identified and thereafter, offloaded to short- or long-term contractors or low-level support. This way, the best employees are solely focused on the critical projects bound to bring your company success.


IV. Use Staff Augmentation More Strategically.

By analyzing your project load, in-house resources, upcoming projects, and capacity constraints, you can hire additional staff to further supplement your organization’s capabilities. This augmentation can:

  • Eliminate capacity constraints on your current staff by providing just-in-time access to additional technical resources
  • Shorten learning curves, as bringing in contractors with specialized skills allows projects needing those skills to be completed – without having to keep someone on payroll for the times those specialty skills are not needed
  • Increase staff to meet deadlines
  • Accelerate launches for new projects
  • Reduce the negative impact of system upgrades
V. Stop Going at it Alone.There is no need to take on the hiring problems of your company alone. Instead, partner with an IT staffing company of your choice to help you get over the obstacles blocking your ability to hire right. Just one hour with a staffing manager, to educate him or her about your company and its needs, is a simple step you can take to save significant time in the recruiting process. This time helps in achieving the efficiencies you seek, so your two-way conversation with the staffing manager should cover the following topics:

  • Your firm’s culture.

What kind of personality best fits at your firm? Do those who enjoy set parameters thrive, or are your company’s stars more the types who act first and apologize (if necessary) later? Are you willing to hire for attitude rather than skill?

  • What have other IT staffing firms done right? What have they done wrong?

For example, are you a financial institution that needs IT professionals with industry expertise, but your IT staffing firms keep sending you IT professionals with little if any, financial industry knowledge?

  • Competitive intelligence on salaries. What is the norm for IT salary expectations in your industry? How do the specific duties and responsibilities of this role add or detract from the salary norm?

A good IT staffing firm will be able to share salary benchmark for peer firms in your industry, as well as explain how your specific position may vary from the norm and the resulting implications.

  • Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your current team. What skill sets do you already have on your team? At what level? Where does this leave a gap in overall organizational knowledge and performance?

Your staffing partner can help you assess the best mix of capabilities and work styles to increase the productivity of your entire team by the addition of a new member(s).Sourcing, screening, and finally selecting and securing talented IT professionals is not an easy task. Managers must overcome a plethora of obstacles to equip their teams with the appropriate human resources the team requires. But regardless of the obstacles in the way, the effort must be made to ensure long-term success for the organization’s operations. IT is the core of attaining a competitive advantage, so having the right IT staff to develop that advantage should be the goal of any technology manager.




I am a Mastech Digital associate.

Mastech Digital is an IT Staffing and Digital Transformation Services company with a mastery in the art of finding the right talent for your IT needs in the most efficient way. Backed by robust sourcing practices and screening methodologies, our vibrant teams spread across the U.S. and India are able to drive high levels of staffing efficiencies for our clients. Beyond servicing the usual staffing needs efficiently, we have a habitual flair in finding ‘purple squirrels’ – those uncommon and specialized skill sets that are otherwise hard to source.

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