Welcome to the latest post in Robert Half’s Thought Leader Q&A series, which features insights from the experts who have made our company a great place to work and a premier provider of talent solutions.

This week we feature John Reed, executive director of managed technology solutions at Robert Half, who also leads the managed creative solutions, enterprise technology solutions and national technology accounts teams.

John earned his bachelor’s degree in public affairs and administration from the University of Oklahoma, but his lifelong passion for technology led him to a career in computer hardware and technology supply sales. In 1998 he brought his technology expertise to Robert Half where he has been at the forefront of building Robert Half’s talent solutions portfolio as an account executive and division director before moving up to market manager, regional vice president, senior vice president, district president, senior executive director, and executive vice president. He assumed his current role in 2017 and leads four technology-focused groups that provide project and talent solutions for large enterprises and strategic clients.

Here’s what John had to say about his passion for technology, Robert Half’s technology evolution, and even his favorite productivity tip.

What inspired you to become a leader in technology recruiting? 

Early in my career I saw how technology was shaping the future of our economy, and as a manager I experienced the challenges of recruiting high-quality technology professionals. So I thought it would be a good career move to explore technology recruiting.

When I joined Robert Half, I knew immediately that technology would drive our success. I wanted to be part of that. While my early career was focused on our technology staffing business, my career led me to roles with increasing responsibilities focused on strategy development and execution for both our Talent Solutions and Managed Solutions businesses.

How has Robert Half evolved to meet the needs of technology employers and job seekers?

When I joined Robert Half 23 years ago, our technology practice was just a few years old. Today we have a full spectrum of technology-focused managed solutions and services designed around our clients’ needs. We built teams of technology specialists who can help clients identify and access the right resources to meet their business goals. We have consulting expertise that Protiviti, our global consulting partner, brings to the table. And we pioneered the use of AI that helps recruiters match candidates and clients. What we’ve built is very sophisticated and unique in the technology staffing industry.

What are the biggest challenges facing technology leaders today?

The number one challenge for our clients is finding the technology talent they need to meet their business objectives. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for college-educated technology professionals is less than 2%, and there just aren’t enough qualified people to meet demand. 

Companies are also struggling to re-imagine the way they work. The rise of remote work during the pandemic made companies realize they need to provide employees with the tools and technology to keep them productive and secure while working virtually, for the long term.

In the current hiring environment, how can companies compete for technology talent?

Employers need to be more flexible about who they hire and where their employees can work. Candidates want remote and hybrid work options. Companies that offer remote work can tap into a much bigger geographical pool of skilled candidates. Hiring managers should also consider non-traditional candidates and people who may not be a perfect match to their requirements. Be open to other options and you could find some great additions to your team. 

What career advice do you have for the next generation of technology professionals?

Read a lot. Follow industry thought leaders and stay on top of current trends to shape your career for the future. It’s also important to work with a professional recruiter who can point you in the right direction and let you know which industries are hiring, roles that are in-demand, salary trends and other insights that job-seekers may not have access to.

What’s your favorite productivity hack? 

I turn off the alerts and notifications on my phone, computer and all my devices. It’s a small thing but it helps me stay focused.

What cause are you passionate about?

I’m the father of two young professional daughters so I’m passionate about creating equal career opportunities for women. Before the pandemic I promoted women in business at speaking engagements and media interviews. Today I coach, mentor and network with professional women to help them fulfill their career goals.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

My top priority is spending time with my family. My wife and I recently relocated to Santa Fe, and we’re spending more time outdoors and going on walks. I also hold season tickets to the University of Oklahoma football games – go Sooners!

Follow John Reed on LinkedIn.

Meet other Thought Leaders at Robert Half, such as Randi Weitzman and Jeff Weber. And be sure to subscribe to the Robert Half newsletter for future installments of our Q&A series and to discover more unique stories, experiences and perspectives on the latest hiring trends.