7 Secrets Every Hiring Manager Should Know

We recently asked our recruiters what advice they’d give to IT candidates if they could say anything. Hiring managers, now it’s your turn.

In most areas of IT, whether you’re seeking a web developer or network administrator, you have stiff competition for the best candidates.

You may be trying to attract and hire tech professionals on your own, or working with an IT staffing agency – whatever the case, there are steps you can take to expedite the hiring process.

I spoke to three Robert Half Technology recruiters (they’ll remain nameless!) and asked them, “If there was one piece of advice you could give a hiring manager, what would it be?” Here are seven things they had to say:

  1. If you find the right candidate, hire him (or her). Hiring managers often want to compare their top choice to other candidates, and this is understandable. However, all of the recruiters I spoke to said it’s risky in a candidate’s market and can cost you the candidate you liked initially. Said one recruiter: “Understand that good talent is hard to find in this market, and the top talent will be getting multiple offers, so try to streamline the interview process or you’ll lose great candidates.”
  2. Don’t hold out for a unicorn. More than likely, the perfect candidate doesn’t exist – and if she does, she’s one of a few and may be beyond your budget. “You won’t always find a candidate with every single skill set and personality trait you’re looking for, and hiring your ‘perfect candidate’ right now may not even be the best option,” pointed out one recruiter. “The candidate you hire needs to fit a role months from now as well.” In addition, if a candidate has many of the qualities you’re seeking, consider developing his skills in the areas he needs to build.
  3. Get the job description right. A recruiter I spoke to said, “If you don’t know exactly what you want, let me know up front and let’s work together on figuring out what you need. If we have to change the job description halfway through the process, we’re back to square one.” Robert Half Technology’s senior executive director, John Reed, suggests making two lists when creating a job description: One with the technical skills required, and one with the soft skills necessary for success on your team.
  4. Provide timely, detailed feedback. Recruiters know how busy you are and that you may not like getting emails or calls requesting your thoughts on a candidate, but there’s a reason they’re reaching out: “We’re not trying to be annoying,” said one recruiter. “We just want timely feedback on the candidates we work with so we can make the best placements and get you the person you want before he or she accepts another offer.” (This is true for candidates you interview without the help of a recruiter, too.) In addition, be detailed: “The more specific feedback we get on a candidate or the job you’re looking to fill, the faster we’ll fill your position,” said a recruiter. “It just saves everyone time.”
  5. Give candidates a chance. The recruiters I spoke to suggested taking the time to meet with candidates, even if they don’t fit every item on your checklist. “We evaluate a large number of candidates,” said a recruiter. “Of those, some weren’t a fit, weren’t in the salary range, or did not have the necessary skills. The candidates we send you are typically worth interviewing if they’ve made it this far into our screening process.”
  6. Pay the market rate. All of the recruiters I spoke to mentioned this point. “Not paying market rates can cost you far more than the money you think you’ll save initially,” said one recruiter. “When you hire someone below market rate, you risk having them eventually leave for a better offer." You also may miss out on top tech talent. Check out Robert Half Technology’s 2014 Salary Guide for information on starting salaries for over 70 IT roles.
  7. Skip the extra “culture fit” interviews with other departments. Most recruiters felt this was an unnecessary step. Why? Said one recruiter: “I’ve already met with you, visited your company to get a sense of your firm’s culture and recommended a candidate to fit your specific company culture.” A bonus of this step? You further condense the hiring process.

IT hiring isn’t likely to get any easier in the near future. In addition to these suggestions, here are some great tips about streamlining the technology hiring process.

Have your own tips for recruiting IT candidates? Leave them in the comments.