Here’s why a collaborative approach is critical for closing the tech talent gap, and many are partnering with outside resources to hire, manage and support their contingent workforce.

Keegan Banks, Vice President, Harvey Nash USA

April 5, 2022

5 Min Read
colorful blocks representing talent recruitment
tomertu via Adobe Stock

Today’s companies need to be agile in the face of rapid change, especially when it comes to tech implementation. To do so requires a robust talent pipeline that can be scaled up or down as projects develop and evolve. However, more than two-thirds (69%) of digital leaders in the US are unable to keep pace because of a lack of talent.

For companies in every sector, a collaborative approach is critical for closing the tech talent gap and many are partnering with outside resources to hire, manage and support their contingent workforce. While this may seem like an issue for human resources, tech leadership has an important role to play when staffing decisions are made on IT projects.

According to an IEEE study, 97% of tech leaders found that their teams were working more closely with HR leaders on initiatives related to workplace technology, health protocols, employee productivity and mental health. The same should be true of the recruiting process.

Hiring for Tech’s Unique Needs

When it comes to identifying tech talent, which differs from project to project, using a partner with a dedicated delivery team can help bring in the right people for specific roles. A generalist recruiter may not understand that a Java developer for one organization can require different skills than a Java developer for another. But a dedicated team can be more strategic and effective because they:

  • Have deep knowledge of the specific company based on a collaborative relationship that is not one-and-done

  • Understand the tech skills needed for each particular project and have relationships with the right talent to fill the roles, as well as re-engage them down the road

  • Are well-versed in the unique industry requirements, which can differ between healthcare, financial services, technology, government and other sectors

Data Informed Decisions Make Better Hires

Treating the search for tech talent as a simple in and out transaction is not an effective long-term strategy. Instead, to build a robust pipeline partners need to tap into business intelligence to meticulously collect data on each requirement over time. When done the right way, the process can be labor intensive so many leaders forgo it due to lack of bandwidth. Ultimately, this hurts them down the road when they need to scale up staff for an important project.

A dedicated account team can help. By working closely with the client contact responsible for hiring contingent labor, and thoroughly tracking all activity through the requirement life cycle, they gain a robust understanding of the company's needs and preferences. This immersive relationship helps create comprehensive profiles on tech managers, projects, teams and skills utilizing feedback and performance analysis. The data includes information not found in the job description and may include why a candidate was selected or rejected, results of their skills vetting exercises and testing, and details outlining the “ideal” candidate. Once a candidate is hired, the data can include how they performed on a specific project, if they fit in with the company and team culture, and more.

Building Credibility and Trust with Candidates

Personal touch-points and frequent check-ins are important to most candidates and employees but especially contract workers in a remote or hybrid environment. Dedicated account teams can help with some of the heavy lifting by staying in contact with candidates throughout the process -- starting with recruitment, maintaining it throughout the engagement and continuing after the project is completed. Over time, they will develop relationships built on trust and understanding with candidates, making it easier to engage them in the future.

When new hires don’t work out, it can often be because expectations weren’t set or communication wasn’t clear. This is especially true today. Great managers may not lead well in a remote world and skilled employees may falter without in-person interactions. A trusted account team can serve as an intermediary, helping each side approach the situation with grace and understanding, hopefully with a positive outcome for all.

The Best Candidates May Not Be Job Hunting

There’s a lot of talk about employees quitting their jobs and seeking new ones. However, a June 2021 Indeed job search survey found only 10% of survey respondents were urgently looking for a job. Tapping into the remaining group who are not actively searching for new opportunities is critical. These passive candidates are currently employed but would consider a new job if it was the right opportunity.

An account team that emphasizes relationship building with candidates will have access to this valuable group of workers, who are appealing for a number of reasons. They’re considered to have a good work ethic. They’re often seen as top performers by employers, and even by themselves. According to a recent survey, 77% of passive candidates rated themselves as above average. The survey also found them to be more critical of their employers than active candidates, making them open to recruiting efforts.

A Good Partner Will Set Tech Leaders Free

Employees, especially contract workers, are increasingly less impressed by brand name and more likely to consider a job that meets their priorities. This can mean different things for different people. Perhaps it’s the project, flexible hours, culture, management style, pay, incentives, team members or any combination of these.

Keeping detailed intelligence on individual candidates is a monumental task and one most HR and tech leaders don’t have time to compile and track. But a good partner can provide greater visibility and access to contingent workers and help with day-to-day management once on the job. This frees up tech leaders to focus on higher level initiatives including developing strategic plans, improving operations, reducing costs, pursuing innovative projects and ultimately delivering value to the company.

About the Author(s)

Keegan Banks

Vice President, Harvey Nash USA

Keegan Banks is Vice President of Client Delivery at Harvey Nash USA, a full-service talent recruitment firm specializing in technology positions. Banks is responsible for developing and optimizing recruiting strategies with the overarching goal of improving candidate and client experiences. She has an unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction and is a driving force behind the company’s success and growth. Banks is also committed to advancing women in both the recruiting and technology industries and makes it a priority to support, coach and mentor young professional women.

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