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Winning the IT Talent War (Op-Ed)

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Daniel Pollock, senior vice president at the IT recruiting and staffing agency Modis, contributed this article to BusinessNewsDaily's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

The war for IT talent is raging. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.1 million new jobs in professional, scientific and technical services will be added by 2020 — with these sorts of statistics a qualified candidate can have multiple offers from a number of different companies during the job-seeking process. If you're a small- or medium-sized business looking for talent, a standard, online job posting just won't cut it in a jobseekers' market. By knowing your business goals and what sort of individuals you need for specific roles in your organization, it will help make the hiring process as straightforward as possible.

Whether you're a busy tech start-up or a small financial company, an efficient IT staff is non-negotiable. As mobile development and cloud computing gain importance as standard IT practices for businesses, every company — small and large alike — is seeking the best talent to keep their organization up to speed with larger competition. In this fierce market, it's easy for small businesses to get lost in the shuffle, but there are many factors that may appeal to the techies of today when it comes to finding a new position. Beyond just salary, small business owners should be thinking about how to keep themselves competitive amongst other potential employers in order to land top talent. 

Here are a few things to consider when hiring IT professionals for your small or medium business:

Know the value of the position

Being in-tune with the value of the particular position you're working to fill is very important when making hiring decisions. Is this a position that requires trained industry knowledge, or one that can be filled relatively quickly, or one that will involve a certain level of hard-to-find expertise? Is the position a long-term need, or project-based? Once that element is determined, you can move forward knowing how much time to invest in the hiring process and which positions may be best filled by a permanent addition to the team, a temporary employee, or a contract-based professional.

Make compensation competitive

As a small- or medium-sized-business owner, you must be clear on what sets you apart and makes you a better employer than your larger competitors. Keeping this in mind, it's important to be cognizant of the going rates for the hottest jobs in the IT market so you stay relevant and competitive in your offers to jobseekers. That said, salary is not the only thing that will attract talent — you should also be prepared to consider offering other benefits as well. Those benefits may include stock options, the ability to work remotely, or an endless number of other creative perks that could put your offer in the lead.

Pull the trigger for top talent

IT is a fast-moving industry, and those top talent candidates are not going to wait for you to make a drawn-out decision. In this jobseekers' market , there's no time to waste; if a candidate has the talent you're seeking, and they're open to your company, make the hire!

Offer Variety

One of the draws of a small business is that employees will typically have more room to perform a wider range of tasks than those who work for large companies. Entrepreneurial-minded individuals want to know they'll be able to play a larger part in the entire business. During the interview process , make sure candidates are aware that they won't be pigeonholed into just one role and will have room for growth.

Know what motivates

This particular talent pool is especially concerned with enjoying and being challenged by the work that they do, so it's important to make sure that their projects are particularly interesting. In many cases, IT professionals jump from job to job because they will see a project to completion and then look to find a fresh opportunity when they feel that they are no longer challenged at a company. The work has to be consistently compelling for them as it relates to their goals, or they won't hesitate to leave. Once someone has joined your organization, be sure to engage in frequent discussions with your employees to make sure they're getting all that they want out of their position and are being challenged frequently.

Making a new hire always requires a great deal of consideration, but it's especially true for your IT department when considering both technical skill sets as well as cultural fit. In a small business, each employee is a crucial moving part in the machine and every new team member matters as you try to make the best decisions for the company.

Although IT professionals have an array of job options right now, knowing and promoting the value of your business can make all of the difference in attracting the best of the best, regardless of your organization size.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.