How To Fill Those ‘Impossible’ IT Roles

How To Fill Those ‘Impossible’ IT Roles
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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.

Desk picture from Shutterstock

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.


  • You forgot the option that’s most popular with businesses these days, fill the role with 3x 457 visa holders for the same money.

    • shameless copy / paste from another article here on LH.

      (from me)

      i applied for a job through a mate (manager) that required the following

      Level 3 Network Support VMWare vSphere, Citrix, Cisco IOS, EMC VNX SAN ITIL Exchange, SCCM, Lync, Team Foundation Server and Windows server 2012 2008 desktop virtualisation
      as well has high availability and a few other things.

      I withdrew my application after i was informed that the salary had dropped to 60k.
      the role was deemed as not fillable, so they went to hire 457’s

      it isn’t impossible, or a shortage, the 2 previous things mentioned are artificial, as you can cry these things, and get a 457 or 2 easily

  • Agree with providing training.

    There used to be a poster at my work that said “What if I train my staff and they leave?” followed by “What if I don’t train my staff and they stay?”

    • That’s gold.
      I used to many many years ago work at a place that wouldn’t train people because they would supposedly just leave.

  • Asking for impossible experience.

    Eg.: Wanting 6 months experience with oracle 10i (it was a while ago when I last needed to apply) when the package had only been released for less than 2 months

  • I dont get how so many people are so horrible at recruiting. When I was working I routinely had to help with the ‘hiring’ process to get spots filled. I had no trouble at all but was disappointed how many people thought interviewing was difficult and that wanted someone else to read the resume for them. I found a lot of the people we ended up hiring were in the ‘filtered out’ bucket by recruiters and HR.

    Now im on the otherside looking for just short term contract gigs while working on my startup stuff I seem to be in the same ‘filtered out’ bucket a lot unless I actually talk to the person doing the decision then its not hard to get on a short list.

  • Another big one.. Don’t lie about what the job entails. I took a job a few years ago thinking it was a simple Desktop / Helpdesk role.. Turns out they knew my skill level was well above that and they hired me anyhow.. I took the job because HR companies don’t seem to see value in ppl other than what their job title said before (don’t get me started) … they were offering me $28/h on a contractors wage for HelpDesk L1, l2, Win 2008 Server Engineer, VMWare Engineer, Exchange Engineer, SAN Engineer, ITIL, and SCCM. As you can tell.. I left in 2 months after discovering this.

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