What’s Gone Wrong With IT Staffing Agencies?
By Mike Hanes
For years we were lulled into a false sense of security when it came to our IT backgrounds and technology-driven economy. Not too long ago, it was widely accepted that if you had any IT literacy and general understanding of SQL, Java, Lotus, or Unix, finding a position was relatively easy to do. We became familiar with ‘buzzwords’ that could be woven into a resume and instantly lend credibility where none was necessarily due, especially when few actually understood the lingo. Lately, we’ve had a rude awakening.
Not only are positions in the IT world being cut right and left, many of those positions being vacated are then staffed with lesser paid, unqualified personnel. The qualified IT professional is finding it harder and harder to find a company that is willing to pay for their expertise, and companies looking to hire are often disappointed with candidates thrown their way via technical staffing agencies.
Why Are Technical Staffing Agencies Missing the Mark?
To understand what’s going on here, you need a basic understanding of the IT staffing/recruiting process. In a typical firm, there are account managers, recruiters, and sometimes those who are referred to as ‘researchers.’ The hiring company contacts the staffing firm’s account manager with a particular requirement in a candidate. The account manager relays the specific requirements to their recruitment specialist, who filters through their employee candidates to search for the right fit. Ideally speaking, this would work just fine. The problem exists when:
- the account manager and the recruiter don’t have any technology experience and/or don’t possess an understanding of what technological projects may involve,
- account managers and recruiters are subject to a placement quota, often with limited understanding of IT language,
- time constraints placed on recruiters to fill quotas result in ‘resume slamming’ a hiring company, and actually tweaking a candidate’s resume!
With qualified candidates difficult to find, technical staffing agencies often spend quite a bit of time just trying to locate them. Things like thorough screening, reference and background checks slip through the cracks. It seems that some firms’ main concerns are with billable hours and placement fees when they should be focused on actually partnering with, understanding, and serving a hiring company’s true needs.
What Does The Hiring Company Need To Know?
A hiring company looking for a new hire needs to be satisfied that a potential employee meets their requirements. They need to know that what they are looking for is exactly what they’ll find, and not just a gamble. Hiring companies are often too busy to adequately screen resumes. IT managers may go from meeting to meeting all day long and are still expected to get project work done. They don’t have time to waste explaining technological details to staffing firm account managers who don’t understand the language. Screening candidate resumes that should have already been screened is a further waste of time.
A hiring company also needs to know that the IT staffing agency has taken the time to make sure an IT professional’s salary expectations fall in line with the range provided to them. The IT professional’s references need to be checked to ensure they have all the experience claimed on their resume. The hiring company needs to know the recruiter matched recent relevant experience with their requirements and matched the IT professional with the company or team culture.
Quotas are a necessary evil, no doubt, but clashing agendas between account managers and recruiters can cause many IT staffing/recruiting agencies to operate on less than an ethical level. No one is served when:
- a) unqualified personnel are sent to a company needing staff, or
- b) when a true IT professional is overlooked due to a lack of technical understanding by the recruiter.
IT staffing agencies with technological experience and training put the right candidate in front of the right company. The right technical staffing solution shouldn’t necessarily be measured by the highest placement percentage. Personnel warranties and technical skills testing are successful strategies for accountability, a better unit of measure. Make sure that when you decide on an IT staffing/recruiting agency to fill your staffing requirements, you’ve chosen a company who desires long-term results.
Copyright 2009 Mike Hanes, ProVisionTech Group All Rights Reserved
Mike Hanes, Founder and President of ProVisionTech Group, a division of Resource Advantage Inc., is a Dallas IT solutions provider offering highly qualified IT contractors/IT consultants and placement of IT candidates for projects and data centers. ProVisionTech engages the best Dallas technical resources on demand. Mike believes that to serve the customer in the best possible way, both sides of the staffing equation need to be addressed. You can’t afford to make a mistake, call ProVisionTech Group today for the highest quality Dallas IT staff and employment opportunities available. Call 972-200-7171 or go to: www.provisiontechgroup.com
For your Free Report – 5 Things You Must Know Before Hiring An IT Consulting/Staffing Company, go to www.yourtechnicalrecruiter.com