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Blackmere to Forbes: Avoid The 2021 Rush - Hire Top Technical Talent Now

Blackmere to Forbes: Avoid The 2021 Rush - Hire Top Technical Talent Now

It has been almost a year since most of us have felt free to be optimistic, but signs of a "spring thaw" are cropping up: a new vaccine, a new administration — change is in the air. The pandemic continues to impact individuals and families, but there is reason for hope. The economy has been battered, but many, including Morgan Stanley, are tracking an upward trend already underway and predicting strong growth in 2021.

Some of the factors contributing to the expected growth include the new economic stimulus package, people (especially women) returning to the workforce as children return to classrooms, fewer restrictions on travel and hospitality and increased consumer confidence and spending. Growth, of course, will create a need for additional staffing. Initially, companies will recruit to return to pre-pandemic staffing levels, but all signs suggest that they won't stop there.

As always, the scramble for technical talent will be especially challenging. Throughout the pandemic, the demand for technical employees has remained strong. In fact, in October 2020 the unemployment rate in technical jobs dropped to 2.8% from the September 2020 rate of 3.5%. To put it in perspective, the overall unemployment rate in the U.S. is 6.9%. As the economy recovers, you can be sure that technical talent will become even more scarce.

Warren Buffett is credited with saying, “Cash combined with courage in a time of crisis is priceless.” What those of us concerned with talent acquisition can learn from Warren Buffett is that, if you have the resources, now is the time to start recruiting and hiring that talent. Mr. Buffett also would want you to invest those resources wisely, so here are some considerations.

Choose the right talent engagement.

The needs of your organization should determine the type of talent engagement you turn to.

Direct hire is the most common way to bring new talent onto your team. It does come with disadvantages; for example, it can take a long time. HRDive reports that time-to-hire for tech jobs averages close to 45 days. Open seats represent lost revenue on a daily basis.

• Direct contracting gives you flexibility in terms of expanding and contracting staff and may save you the cost of benefits. Like direct hire, it also requires an investment of time in searching.

• Contract staffing, or working with a staffing consultant to access their established network, means you can expand and contract your team as your needs change. Typically you pay the consultant who pays the talent.

Work with a specialist.

Technical talent, particularly in cybersecurity, tend to be wary and receive frequent emails and calls from recruiters. They are not likely to respond unless they know and trust the recruiter. Don’t waste your money posting an ad on the job boards unless you are required to do so by regulatory agencies such as the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Engaging technical talent is a networking play that requires a high-touch approach.

While unemployment rates in technology remained low during the pandemic, there were technical employees placed on furlough. As is often the case in down economies, many of those professionals turned to staffing consultants, increasing those networks.

Choose the right consulting engagement.

If any option is best suited to meet staffing needs in this time of unknowns, I believe it is contract staffing with a consultant. If you’ve reached this conclusion, there are still more decisions to be made, such as the right type of consulting engagement for your requirements.

• Retained search has many advantages. A retained recruiter is 100% focused on your search and will act as a consultant regarding job scope, compensation, search strategy and other factors. Most retained search firms charge 20-30% of the annual compensation (base + bonus) for the candidate selected.

• Contingency search can be attractive because you only pay if you hire the contingency firm's candidate. Keep in mind that most contingency recruiters will be working on multiple simultaneous searches. Fees are based on a percentage of the annual compensation for the selected candidate and can range from 15-30%.

• Container search is a hybrid of retained and contingency, with both an initial fee and a contingent fee once a hire is made. As with contingency search, the recruiter will divide their attention among multiple searches. Fees are negotiable but will be comparable to those of contingency search.

Choose the right consultant.

Even if you are shopping for a staffing consultant to fill an immediate need, consider finding one who can be a resource for the longer term. A good consultant should be able to:

• Offer a talent pool that includes the expertise you need.

• Act as a true consultant to recommend options and solutions based on an understanding of your business needs.

• Deliver talent that is a good fit for your company culture.

• Help with regulatory compliance.

• Provide solid references.

I'm taking advice from Norman Vincent Peale and Tony Robbins to embrace positive thinking. I believe the pundits are correct about the economic rebound. That means, however, that the battle for technical talent will escalate in 2021. Now is the time to invest in renewing your recruiting efforts.


This article was originally published on Forbes and was written by Domini Clark, CEO of Blackmere Consulting. The original article appears here.

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