How To Fill Those ‘Impossible’ IT Roles

Is there a vacancy in your IT department that hasn’t been filled for months? These tips can help you get someone into that seat.

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Last week, we reported on a study by job ad site Indeed on vacancies that have remained open for three months or more, and IT pro roles were prominent in the list. That’s good news if you happen to have those skills, but what if your department has been trying to fill one of them for months? We gathered some tips from Indeed senior vice president Paul D’Arcy on how to fill those more complex roles.

Offer Decent Pay

An obvious point first: if you’re not offering a competitive salary, you’re not going to have any chance of attracting a decent recruit. While IT salaries in Australia are currently relatively stable, in-demand areas will always command a premium.

Provide Training

One problem with that skills shortage is that it paradoxically can provide a disincentive for employers to train their staff in specialised skills, because there’s a risk they will just use those skills to jump to a higher-paying role elsewhere.

“With many IT and software roles, companies in Australia are playing a game of musical chairs,” D’arcy said. “The talent is jumping from company to company because the skills are so transferrable — and that can provide a disincentive to invest and train.”

That’s a short-term view, however. “What we find smart companies doing now is finding the right people for the capabilities and providing training and more skills for them,” D’arcy said. That makes more sense than simply sticking your head in the sand.

Have Realistic Expectations

It’s also important to set your expectations correctly. “It’s not uncommon for hiring managers to want everything — they want very specific experience,” D’Arcy noted. This doesn’t always make sense — you can’t hire someone with five years of experience with Windows Server 2012

Advertise In The Right Places

“The number one requirement is making sure the jobs are in front of the right candidates,” D’arcy said. “Increasingly, people look online, so post jobs in a way people can find them.” As well as job boards, remember to utilise social media — sharing a link on Twitter or LinkedIn will potentially reach people who aren’t actively looking.

Use The Right Job Title

Advertising a job without the appropriate title is likely to reduce the number of responses. “If you’re using a job title that’s not normal, it won’t do as well,” D’arcy said. He nominates an extreme example of a sales role that was advertised as “bread territory management”.

Be specific about technical descriptions too. An SAP developer has very different skills to an iOS developer. “Don’t use a broad term like project manager for a specialised role,” D’arcy said. “An ERP project manager is very different to one working in an architectural firm.”

Make The Job Description Attractive

“Writing a good job description is vital,” D’arcy said. “Many people write them as boring technical documents. A job description is a marketing document telling the story of why people should apply.” Don’t settle for being prescriptive; make the job sound appealing. For an ERP project manager, we accept this will be challenging.

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