Discovering your IT Rock Stars in these times of change

Information technology finds itself in a unique situation today. Not only has it moved from a support function to a more strategic and business function, technology changes and disruption are actually outpacing shifts in organisational business strategy.

The IT organisation sometimes finds itself needing to go beyond reacting or even proactively strategising for future business requirements – sometimes, it actually leads changes in business strategy. Organisations increasingly look for multi-faceted and cross-functional skills in both IT and business when they hire IT professionals.

Besides a holistic perspective on technology, they need to have a clear understanding of working with different platforms for different aspects of business. Managing the relationship between the technology components of information management, security, and integration, and their impact on business is vital.

From developers to project managers and CIOs, they now need to anticipate expansion of their technology offerings’ reach in new and radically different directions. Business-as-usual with niche offerings must be balanced with totally rewritten business strategy with some others.

Revisiting IT talent acquisition

Recruiting for such unorthodox specialists requires a different mettle of competency in recruiters too. They must understand technology and their organisation’s business to rewire the traditional thinking on the ‘ideal’ IT hire. This includes doing away with the checklist attitude of the recruitment process.

It means less finicky attention to educational degrees, and more to project experiences in various technologies. It needs close listening to their perspectives on the future of their capabilities. Many visionary professionals are self-taught in the emerging requirements, and may or not have the ideal formal degrees and certifications. Further, niche and emerging technologies do not allow for extensive experience in the traditional sense of time.

Another fact that the recruiter can be fairly sure of is that such talent will be happily employed, and would fall under the category of passive talent. Job listings and cold emails may not draw the required responses. The best strategy will require the recruiter to be a part of carefully identified and segmented communities. Success in such efforts will largely depend on the right networking, referrals and recommendations.

A detailed understanding of the requirement

The recruiter needs to intimately understand the industry, the detailed requirements of the role in relation to the technology and business outcomes, and the competitive positioning of such roles. This will help them widen the search and innovatively source the right candidates. Since the targeted audience will be unconventional and passive, they will need to authentically explain the opportunity, its potential and its future. Showing empathic understanding of the skillset and industry will enhance credibility, trust and genuine candidate engagement.

Moving away from mass campus recruitment

The spotlight on campus recruitment will shift from mass graduate or post-graduate recruiting. Investing and collaborating with colleges and universities to create learning programs specific to industry and organisation needs will create a pool of employable young talent whose energies can be channelised for mutual benefit.

By the same token, cross-skilling and up-skilling of internal talent will promote enormous employee engagement and retention, besides building a talent pipeline of motivated employees who understand and are aligned to the organisation’s culture.

Do they have the right shoulders for management responsibilities?

Of course, their tech competency needs to be unimpeachable. Additionally, what are the attitudes that make them the right techno-business professional who will need to shoulder management responsibilities too?

  • They are always ready for the job
  • They are self-empowered individuals
  • They are determined and win in situations that are less than ideal
  • They can multi-task and keep calm to excel under pressure
  • Discomfort does not dampen their enthusiasm

The needs of today and the future call for the best IT talent who make it their business to know what goes on in the entire business and are alive to how their team impacts the organisation.

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