15 Crazy Recruiting Strategies from Resourceful CIOs

Coding class for kids.

Technology executives know all too well that finding highly skilled talent for their IT teams can be very challenging in today’s tight hiring market. So, when you do find an impressive candidate who is interested in joining your IT organization, you need to move fast —and even get a little creative with recruiting strategies — to secure that hire before the competition does.

Looking for ideas? Robert Half Technology recently surveyed 2,500 chief information officers (CIOs) and asked, "What is the craziest recruitment strategy you've used to hire IT professionals?"

We’ve listed below some of their most interesting answers. Yes, they’re extreme, but they do show the lengths to which some CIOs have gone to attract top tech talent:

1. Welcome to the no-pressure zone

One CIO reports that an in-demand candidate was told, “You will never face any kind of work pressure and you can work according to your own convenience.”

Of course, with a promise like that, we can’t help but think this tech employee is going to be sitting poolside during the workday a lot.

2. John Hancock would be envious

Signing on the dotted line is a profitable endeavor for tech pros who join one small firm who took part in our survey. According to the company’s CIO, “We are a small organization, so we don’t offer any particular benefits. We just offer a signing bonus of more than $10,000.”

Ummm … just $10,000?

What’s the salary range for IT pros in your area? Use our Salary Calculator to find out.

3. How about a little culture with that coding?

One CIO is making sure tech hires have an opportunity to look at more than just source code every day: “As a perk, we offer them free entry at museums.”

That benefit sounds terrific, but don’t most museums offer free-admission days? (Sorry, we had to ask!)

4. Come on and take a free ride

Another CIO makes getting around easy with its offer to provide top tech hires with generous access to some wheels. “We provide a company car to the candidate for his or her personal and professional use,” says the CIO.

This offer makes getting to the museum from #3 easy — and pretty much anywhere else within driving distance.

5. Data plan, schmata plan

According to another CIO we surveyed, “The recruitment strategy we use to hire a skilled IT employee is paying their Internet and cell phone bills.”

We can definitely see how that would be liberating, especially for those IT pros who like to binge-watch their favorite Netflix series on their iPad and Facetime on their iPhone simultaneously.

6. Mine, all mine

A CIO told us, “I actually gave [our new hire] a personal office. Other techs work in a cubicle.”

Impressive. But private offices are hard to come by in many of today’s workplaces. So, we’re wondering whether this business lost a huddle room in the transaction.

7. Working 9-to-5 — or not

“We provide a flexible work schedule. They can come to the office anytime according to their own convenience,” explains another CIO we surveyed.

Hopefully, they didn’t hire anyone who finds work to be an inconvenience.

Here’s how to implement a strong telecommuting program.

8. Aim high

“We provide a good compensation package and pay 20 percent over the median for the position,” reports one CIO, who adds, “Money talks. If you are not going to compensate them properly, they are not going to take the job. So, make sure that you compensate them properly to get a really good employee.”

Good point – which reminds us: Have you been to our Salary Center?

9. Future promotions are closer than they appear

We learned from another CIO that the “most extreme strategy” they have used to recruit a highly skilled IT employee was offering them “a fast-track promotion, a salary hike of 25 percent, and [the ability] to work at their own convenience.”

Where have we heard that last one before? Oh yeah … see #1 and #7.

10. Tahiti? Alaska? The Caribbean? So many choices

Ever wanted to take a month-long cruise? Well, if you’re a highly skilled tech pro who works for this CIO you can: “In our IT department, we gave 30 days of vacation within the first year.”

11. Would 365 days off be asking too much?

How about the prospect of having access to “unlimited vacation days”? At least one CIO we surveyed is prepared to offer that to recruit top tech talent.

12. Hello? That’s opportunity knocking

According to one respondent, “The most extreme recruitment strategy that we have used is going to someone’s house to speak to them about employment.”

Do you think this CIO came to the door with balloons, a camera and a big check?

13. Now, don’t you worry about a thing

When we saw this comment, we had to wonder if the CIO’s business was logistics or hospitality: “We provide accommodations, relocation amount, free company car and PTO (paid time off) to skilled IT employees.”

14. A little extra cushion sure is comfortable

Why wait until the holidays or an annual performance review to get a bonus? The end of every month is way better. This CIO says, “We provide compensation like a monthly bonus of approximately $1,000 to highly skilled IT employees.”

15. More time for precious moments

We admit our hearts felt a little bit warm and fuzzy when we learned what benefit this CIO offers to tech employees: “Maternity and paternity leave beyond the guidelines.”

For many IT professionals, that might be the best perk of all.

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