IT hiring is broken. Here are 3 ways to Fix IT.

The best job candidates aren't always the ones who put the right keywords on their resumes. These techniques will help you better sift through the applicant pool.

Editor's Comments: This article by Patrick Gray was originally published in 2016 however, It seemed just as relevant a year later. IT hiring is broken and the skills gap is simply allowing us to see this through the lens of desperation. I agree with the author that 'candidates are frustrated by shopping list job postings which don't reflect the actual work.' How did we get into this situation? How do we get out? The authors some excellent common sense tactics.


I have yet to meet anyone involved with IT hiring who is happy with the process in its current form. Candidates are frustrated with "shopping list" job postings that don't reflect the actual work, hiring managers struggle filling positions they don't quite understand, and IT leaders end up struggling to find the talent they need.

Even the tools of the hiring process are horribly broken. I've seen job listings that demand "over ten years' experience" in a dozen complex technologies, several of which didn't even exist ten years ago. Hiring managers receive so many applications that automated tools are employed that rely on keyword searches, dumping qualified candidates and selecting the applicants who pick the right keywords rather than having the right skills. So, how do we fix this?

Cost must match benefits

One of the core challenges is that hiring for technical fields requires a technology-savvy recruiter. This isn't just someone who knows the difference between Java and JavaScript, but someone who can tease out a candidate's ability to think logically and translate requirements into systems and applications. The cost of a failed hire can be quite steep, not only in terms of salary and benefits, but when combined with the cost of the hiring process and formal and informal training, can easily exceed six figures per candidate. Yet, hiring entry-level IT staff, some of whom will ultimately be our next generation of IT leaders, is usually left to the lowest cost, least effective process.

At a minimum, we need a collaboration between IT and HR that ensures the right candidates are making it through the initial HR screen. Rather than spending 30 seconds vetting the job description HR wrote, randomly sample a dozen applications, including a mix of rejected and accepted applications, and ensure that the first filter in the process is working effectively. If it's not, and the position is of any importance, consider hand-reviewing applications. While a stack of résumés may seem daunting, you can likely separate the chaff from the wheat with a minute invested in each résumé. Even with a few hundred applicants, isn't selecting someone who might spend years in your organization worth an hour or two in a conference room with a couple of people on your team? Read the whole article

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