We all know that recruitment costs are high; involving more than just the price of the advertisement and the time spent interviewing. If you get it wrong, you have to bear the cost of having the wrong employee; lost opportunities, lower productivity, and potentially lower morale in your team. However, recruitment is a key part of our capability strategy.
It's important, not only to the organisation, but also the wider profession, that we take recruitment seriously and get involved helping our HR departments to understand what we need and use both the IT and HR expertise available to fulfil that need. If we don't then we'll simply take the option of a short term fix to an immediate pressing problem, but fail to answer the bigger picture for the organisation.
Today, demand for IT skills is based more on the ability to apply and exploit technology in the business than on pure technical implementation and this gives us some different options when recruiting. We're looking for qualified, competent and current employees who can complement their technical knowledge with soft skills and business understanding to further the IT role as a business partner, not just the back office function.
Therefore, we must make sure we ask for exactly what we want – something we often fail to do. It's so easy to focus on the wrong skills, use the wrong language, and therefore put off people with the right skills for the role.
There is a shift towards a different way of working and therefore recruiting. It is very expensive to have full-time employees if you do not have a full-time need. Therefore some organisations are moving towards blended teams, average workload/workforce levels in IT more closely and leveraging external subject matter experts. This gives organisations flexibility.
While this works for some, for others, there is also a growing recognition that you cannot outsource understanding of the organisation and how it innovates. When recruiting, we should also ask ourselves; do we really need to look outside the business or is there a latent talent pool within our own organisation and networks? If there's talent, we can build on it and this is where career development within organisations can really come into play.
CPD gives people the opportunity to not only grow in the careers and fields they currently work but can also help them explore where they might be interested in moving to next. Alongside career development opportunities, some organisations are moving towards collaborative working; helping those who are interested in developing into another role through both CPD and collaboration with colleagues as they transition and learn.
HR departments have a role to play in this. HR and IT have not been natural bedfellows in the past, but if we work together we can empower IT professionals to set and meet their own goals, and give employers the opportunity to explore with their teams new ways of working that support both recruitment needs and professional development. One of the hallmarks of a true profession is that those in it continually develop and share good practice; both the HR and IT professions need to work together to meet these challenges.
Whichever option organisations choose to recruit, we believe that membership and chartered status from a professional body can really help recruiting managers to differentiate between candidates. Membership of an appropriate professional body, whichever body that might be, gives a very strong and clear message about an individual's attitude to their own career development and professionalism.
Individuals who choose to be a member of their professional body are demonstrating that they are prepared to invest in themselves, are self-motivated and engaged with their careers and adhere to a professional code of conduct. This is equally important for recruiters who need to know that their potential employee is up to date with their industry knowledge as well as possessing the required specific skills. Membership also means being plugged in to a network of other professionals, with access to the shared knowledge, experience and contacts.
Increasingly, we're seeing leading employers within the IT sector looking at professional membership as a way to find out what they cannot easily otherwise know through standard processes, and signing up to organisational membership to offer staff benefit to help retain, develop and attract talent.
All in all, the world of recruitment, not only in IT but across the board, is a rapidly-changing environment where the recruitment process is under pressure from all sides and CIOs and HR professionals need to work together to get the best result to suit their business.