IT Hiring In 2014

Is the IT Hiring in 2014 crazy out there, or is it ME?  Don’t answer that. We all have seen the comics that compare BigFoot and UFO sightings to recruiting a Java Developer.  Many days I’d bet my chips on the UFO sightings.


I’m also a java developer

Why?  Here are the 2014 top issues facing all organizations involved in IT Hiring in 2014:

  1. Availability- 99.9% of them are currently employed or under long-term contracts.  That number may be off, but not by much.
  2. Much of the work that they are doing is pretty fun- Companies have budget for new projects.  Most employees are pretty happy with their current employer if they are paid fairly
  3. Timing- The average time that a Java developer is available after they start looking is about a week.  This assumes that they don’t turn down opportunities while they are waiting on the perfect one. Then maybe 10 days
  4. These folks are picky– Some only want to work close to home.  Some insist on all/part telecommuting.  Vacation?  You’d better have a minimum of 3 weeks – year one.
  5. Visas- Many of the people with these skills are on H1B visa’s.  We can discuss why that is over lunch.  If you are limited to US citizens and green cards, as many of our clients are, the pool of talent is probably cut by 50%.

CareerBuilder’s recent survey indicates that over 40% of IT and Engineering candidates turn down offers. Here are several reasons with possible solutions:

  1. Salary.  It better be in line (ie. on the high side) right out of the gate.  Don’t play games with money or promise ‘bonuses’ instead of a market salary.  Most consider bonuses as a future financial carrot, not part of their guaranteed income.
  2. Competition from other employers.  I conducted my own survey with friends with top skills.  Java engineer and .Net developer.  We had them post their resumes online and asked them to measure their results.  The Java person’s voice mail was full in 2 hours.  The .Net person took 20 hours for his voice mail to be full.  Both received in excess of 50 recruiter job description emails.  This IS the current reality.
  3. Benefits.  This is a big issue these days.  People ask about this much earlier in the recruitment cycle, sometimes on the first interview.   If you don’t have a robust benefits plan, especially the employee cost of family health care, you’d better have another perk to offset this, or have a salary that is 5 to 10K over the average.
  4. Location Location Location.  People want to work closer to home.  Most are dealing with ‘work – life balance’ issues and adding a 3 hour total commute is a deal breaker.  You can help overcome this if you offer some/most Telecommuting.  Offering flex work hours is a MUST.


So, what’s a Hiring Manager to do?  Options for IT Hiring in 2014

Budgets and cost per hire are very important.  If you have your internal recruiters not also involved in HR functions, that could be one solution.  Separate the functions with different people.  Recruiters need to locate active and passive candidates all day every day. Though, with budgets in mind, time to hire is equally vital.  If it takes 4 months to fill an open IT position, what does that cost?  If you are working current IT staff the additional hours, please let me know.  This department is a great place for Peak recruiters to entice top talent from.  Of course we never ‘fish from the same pond’ with companies that have contracts for our services.  Too many hours plus tasking employees to do other work that is not in their career growth plans, is fantastic ground for headhunters to obtain candidates.

Here are some options that should provide assistance:

Contingency Staffing – Jacki’s 2 Cents worth

First of all, using a bunch, over 2 contingency firms is not going to deliver in the long run.  It is not hard for firms to determine the number you are using.   The tools that we use to locate candidates can also locate job descriptions on our competitor’s career pages.  Yes, we do check.   If a hiring manager has a search out to more than a few firms, it would not be practical for contingency firms to allocate a lot of recruiter hours for long. Search firms and recruiter compensation are only received when candidates are hired. When your positions are too competitive, recruiters must move on to the next, hopefully easier, opening where receiving payment is a better bet.  *That or risk starvation.  And Contingency recruiters like to eat, a lot.

Best bet if you are using contingency search?  Align your staffing needs with 1 or 2 contingency firms. If you share this information up front, they will know that the odds of getting a placement is good and thus worth the extra work effort involved.  Also provide some easier positions to fill too.  Throw us a bone.  You will have us dedicated and scrambling to lock into the right talent resources since we are in this boat together. *See risk of starvation above.

“Contained” Search – The Cross Breed

Contained Search is a new and interesting approach.  Basically, the hiring company is putting some skin in the game.  Usually that is a non-refundable fee paid up front.  The hiring company is buying agency recruiter focus plus also demonstrating good will to their staffing partner.  The hiring company is acknowledging the complexity and effort required with their open position and the staffing firm is able to expend extra expense on these types of searches because they are reducing  the financial risk.   When a suitable candidate is hired, an agreed upon contingency fee percentage is due.  It also balance the relationship between hiring company and staffing firm.  Partners

Contract Recruiting

Engaging the services of contract recruiters is very popular.  Most Fortune 500 companies use contract recruiters at some point. Mid-sized and smaller firms are starting to engage them because their current HR team does not have the extra bandwidth, or experience in recruiting or in hopes of reducing search fees from other methods.
The great thing about contract recruiters, from the hiring company’s view, is that you are buying their total focus.  You are also buying their network of people and their best recruiting practices.  The contract recruiter knows that they are there to deliver and the duration of their assignment depends upon results provided.  They don’t get bogged down in internal politics and can sometimes dance through sensitive corporate situations because they are not employees.

In a nutshell?  Contract recruiters are a great option if you have IT openings or have positions that are unrelated (Finance Manager, NOC engineer, Engineer and help desk….).  This strategy can also provide a level, monthly recruiting expense.

Retained Search. It’s not just for Executives Anymore

Most firms use Retained Search to hire Executives that are vital to the success of the organizations.. We also know with the 2014 IT candidate shortage that hiring these people can be just as vital to your organization.  

Do you think I’m just trying to sell you swamp land?  If you want to determine current competition for the talent that you need, just visit and type in a few position key words. Right now, today, there are a minimum of 2270 Java positions open in Atlanta.  All hot technologies have thousands of urgent current openings. These numbers do not include all openings as many positions are not accessible by their search engines.

So what is your best approach when you really need to hire these people and you don’t want to work 80 hours a week?  Engaging a firm on a Retained basis could be the best decision.  Why? Your company needs dedicated research and focus for these positions. Having someone who is well-connected in the technology world, both from a relationship perspective and also a depth of technology understanding is vital.  They need these skills to effectively sell your position as a good career next step to people who are not actively looking.  Headhunting 101.

Peak’s Specialization and “Secret Sauce”

These types of searches require a lot of ethical ‘sneakiness’.  We have extensive current relationships and deep, ninja level digital internet skills. If you are not comfortable executing paragraph long Boolean search strings, understand x-ray search and things like the differences between Google vs. Bing results, then you could be missing identifying ‘deeply hidden passive’ candidates.  Many of these candidates do not put their private information on the internet for all to see.   Well, Peak has ways of ‘seeing’ them and identifying the top professionals in the country.  We like the hunt and we are pretty good at it.

Are you ready to get started?   Are you open to considering a newer approach to reach the best and the brightest?  
Let’s meet.   Feel free to reach out:

Call or Text me at 404.402.9556


Jacki Neal
Jacki loves solving the worlds issues over lunch with industry professionals. She is a self proclaimed non- recovering technology junkie and Diet Coke addict. As the owner of an INC 500/5000 Staffing and Placement firm since 1997, she has helped her clients grow by locating Top Talent to join their teams. She has been known to totally blow the Peak marketing budget by 'grabbing' a bus and taking 75 clients and employees to see Jimmy Buffett. Funny, how relationships change when you see executives in grass skirts.
Jacki Neal
Jacki Neal
Jacki Neal

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