That's especially true for IT pros; the technologies and skills necessary to succeed are constantly evolving, perhaps more so than in most industries. So what should you be thinking about now? We asked IT recruiter Paul DeBettignies, head of Minnesota Headhunter, for his take on some of the top hiring trends on both sides of the interview table.
1. Social Media Profiles Aren't A Fad.
The use of social sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook by recruiters isn't new. But it has intensified of late, acccording to DeBettignies, as skilled IT talent has become tougher to find. Yes, updated social profiles will lead to more unsolicited -- and sometimes unwanted -- interest from recruiters and hiring managers. But it will help cut down on irrelevant inquiries, too.
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"IT pros could help themselves if their LinkedIn profiles are complete and their Twitter bio says, "Minneapolis, MN" and "Software Engineer" or ".Net Developer," DeBettignies said by way of example. "While this will may lead to more inquiries from recruiters it also may weed out the unnecessary ones."
2. Resumes: Not Going Away, But No Longer The Calling Card.
The age-old resume hasn't gone bye-bye, according to DeBettignies, but it's taking a back seat to newer methods of introducing yourself to potential employers. He's observed this shift both in working with his own clients and at other tech companies, too.
"A resume is not needed for an initial inquiry," DeBettignies said. "Send me a summary, a link to a portfolio or well-written LinkedIn profile. GitHub or other repositories [are acceptable], too. This allows me to get to know a candidate better, faster than a traditional resume."
That said, you'll still need a current, polished resume in many hiring situations. "At some point I would like to see that, too," DeBettignies said. "I don’t think the resume is going or should go away. It is a necessary evil."
3. Look Within First.
If you're downright miserable in your current position, or perhaps working for a company careening toward bankruptcy, your job-hunting strategy might aptly be summed up as: "Anywhere but here." But the best opportunity might be right in front of you, or at least down the hall. That's because more tech employers are finding strong returns by investing in their own people in lieu of external talent searches, according to DeBettiginies.
"With the tight [IT] labor market many companies are looking to train or do continuing education with their current employees to get the skills needed," DeBettignies said. Don't pass up on training and education programs offered by your employer; they could be your next step (or two) on the career ladder, he said. "Take advantage of education programs, ask to attend classes and conferences, get certification."
4. Learn The Language Of Business.
"iOS, Android, Ruby on Rails, Java ... everyone is talking about computer languages," DeBettignies said. "The best language you can learn is the business side of things. You don’t need to speak like you have a MBA but being able to talk with users, clients and C-level executives is priceless. This is a skill not easily outsourced or offshored."
5. Meet With Prospective Employers Even If You're Not Job Hunting.
Just because you're not actually on the job market doesn't mean you can't meet with people or organizations that you might someday like to work with. (There's also the general career wisdom that it's often easiest to find a good job when you don't actually need one.)
"If I were an IT pro I would on occasion meet with companies I one day may want to work for," DeBettignies said. "This can be informal at tech events, user group meetings or one-on-one at a coffee shop."
For IT Hiring Managers...
6. Prioritize Skills In The Job Description.
If you're writing job descriptions that just laundry list a dozen or more required skills, consider a modified approach for finding better talent matches: Prioritize programming languages and other knowledge into tiers. This helps both you and prospective employees.
"I am seeing, particularly with startups, tech skill requirements being listed in terms of 'must-have,' 'nice-to-have,' and 'would-be-great-to-have [as extras],' versus the long 14-item wish list," DeBettignies said. "This allows for a better understanding [of] what the job entails."
7. Develop "Talent Pools."
Much like pro sports teams keep tabs on players and farm systems in other organizations, some businesses do the same by creating "talent pools."
"Larger companies have been doing this for a number of years and it is now trickling down to startups and smaller tech companies," DeBettignies said. "The idea is 'always be recruiting' -- that while an Android developer may not be needed today or this month we know that we may need two or three more this year, [so] be constantly creating relationships with new developers and staying in touch with ones previously spoken to."
8. "Too Busy" To Recruit? Prepare For Mediocre (Or No) Talent.
"A number of startup CEOs are saying they do not have time to recruit. Which is insane," DeBettignies said. "They say between writing code, running the day-to-day business and raising funds they do not have time to recruit."
Make time, or suffer the consequences of a talent shortage.
On the flip side, DeBettignies offers some final words of advice for IT professionals: Because some executives and hiring managers aren't actively meeting with prospective additions to their teams, the burden's on you to take the first step. Don't sit around waiting for the phone to ring.
"Managing one's career, including thinking about new opportunities, is a must," DeBettignies said. "The idea of waiting to be contacted is obviously reactive and will cost you in the long run."