Recruiting the IT worker of the future

Recruiting the IT worker of the future

Posted by John Stefanchik, Judy Pennington and Catherine Bannister on February 25, 2015

Advances in enterprise technologies are giving rise to improved opportunities, new business models, and innovation.

They are also creating IT staffing headaches.

As we examine in the 2015 edition of Deloitte Consulting LLP’s annual Tech Trends report, scarcity of technical talent is becoming a significant concern across many industries, with some organizations facing talent gaps along multiple fronts. This challenge is expected to grow: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that one million programming jobs in the United States will go unfilled by 2020.1

To secure the talent necessary to compete in an era of technology-driven opportunity, companies will need to recruit and, in many cases, cultivate a new type of employee—the IT worker of the future—who has habits, incentives, and skills that are inherently different from those in play today.

Given that competition in the talent marketplace for such workers is only increasing, HR leaders should consider taking the following innovative approaches to staffing:

Recruit differently. Increasingly, innovative companies are deploying unorthodox approaches to recruit fresh talent. For example, externships—training programs typically offered by schools and private businesses to provide practical experience in a given field—can put promising candidates to work quickly. They can also be used to vet the transfer of individuals within and across your organization—a “try before you decide” method that can enable both parties to understand aptitude, fit, and interest.

Similarly, some companies are hosting internal and external “hackathons,” day- or weekend-long competitions in which participants rapidly explore, prototype, and demo ideas. Hiring decisions can be based on demonstrated results instead of on resume depth and the ability to navigate a round of interviews.

Finally, consider training employees with no technical background—38 percent of recruiters are actively doing so to fill IT positions.2 Graphic designers, artists, cultural anthropologists, behavioral psychologists, and other backgrounds are building blocks for user experience, mobile, data science, and other desperately needed skills.

Light your talent beacon. An estimated 70 percent of Millennials learn about job opportunities from friends.3 Enlist your own people to help play a critical role in attracting the IT workers of the future by clearly communicating your vision for the IT organization, and investing in incentives to drive retention and referrals.

Look outside the organization. Though employee referrals can help attract top talent, they are only one piece of the staffing puzzle: Organizations should also consider participating in external talent ecosystems. Start by defining a crowdsourcing strategy that guides the use of crowd platforms to solve your organization’s staffing problems, and give employees permission to participate in crowd contests, on the job or off the clock. Additionally, identify incubators and start-up collaboration spaces that are looking for corporate sponsors. These situations often provide opportunities to co-locate workers with inventors and entrepreneurs exploring new ground. Finally, seek out briefings and ideation sessions with your vendor and partner community to harness software, hardware, systems integrator, and business partner thinking and research.

To meet IT staffing challenges going forward, HR may need to broadly shift its focus from people and policy administration to talent attraction and development. This will not be easy, but it will likely be worth the effort. By spending your energy attracting, challenging, and rewarding the right kind of talent instead of succumbing to legacy organizational constructs that are no longer relevant, you can help unleash the IT worker of the future in your business.

To learn more about the steps HR can take to recruit and cultivate top IT talent, check out Deloitte Consulting LLP’s 2015 Tech Trends Report.


John Stefanchik John Stefanchik is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP. As a technologist, he assists clients in tackling complex custom development and integration challenges.
Judy Pennington Judy Pennington is a director in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice with over 25 years of experience working at the intersection of people and technology.
Catherine Bannister Catherine Bannister is a director in Deloitte Consulting LLP with 20 years of experience delivering technology solutions to public sector clients. She is the chief talent officer for the Technology service area, with leadership responsibilities for 18,000 consultants in the United States, India, and Mexico.

1 Christopher Mims, “Computer program¬ming is a trade; let’s act like it,” The Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2014, http://online.wsj.com/articles/computer-programming-is-a-trade-lets-act-like-it-1407109947, accessed November 10, 2014.2 Lindsay Rothfield, “How your company can attract top tech talent,” Mashable, June 28, 2014, http://mashable.com/2014/06/28/attract-tech-talent-infographic/, ac¬cessed November 10, 2014.3 Rothfield, “How your company can attract top tech talent.

Recruiting: Renaissance or retreat?

Recruiting: Renaissance or retreat?
Posted by Art Mazor and Gary Johnsen on January 27, 2015

Talk to an executive or read the business journals and you’ll likely find that one of the most taxing and challenging issues facing organizations today is the attraction and acquisition of skilled talent. Confirmed in Deloitte’s 2014 Business Confidence Report, C-level leaders named the shortage of skilled workers as one of their top obstacles to growth. This was validated again in Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2014 report, which identified recruiting as one of the respondents’ topmost urgent needs. A clear majority (72 percent) of the 2500 leaders from 90 countries who participated in the survey realized and reported that recruiting is an urgent and important challenge for their organizations. Unfortunately, HR may not be ready to address this urgent need. Forty-three percent of those surveyed business executives pointed out that their HR function was not ready to answer this critical 21st century challenge. Even more, recruiting is perceived as underperforming by an overwhelming 65 percent of those same surveyed leaders. As distressing as these trends are, they could be reversed: Companies could address what ails recruiting and a recruiting renaissance could occur.

To understand where HR should begin to focus and start a recruiting transformation, we need to look beyond the statistics and trends data and witness them come to life in a real story — an actual candidate’s experience with the recruiting system and process. John’s (not his real name) story gives deeper meaning to the statistics and personalizes the struggles of the recruiting function, along with providing lessons and insights for recruiting leaders about the priorities and potential quick wins for recruiting transformation.

After 18 years as a military officer, John decided to transition to the civilian workforce. While he secured employment, his re-entry into the private labor force was marred by a number of recruiting missteps, blunders, and process inefficiencies. The good news: the issues can be fixed. Here are a few of the lessons to be learned from John’s experiences.

  • Lesson Learned 1: Don’t let machines overtake the personal side of sourcing and recruiting. The benefits of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) in handling online job postings, applications, assessments, and requisition management are clearly defined in terms of efficiency and cost-effectiveness. But John’s experience included technology tools replacing people and many impersonal, form-driven responses that presented organizations as cold, aloof, and distant in an age of relationships and personalization. Think about how your organization can take advantage of technology without losing the human element inherent in the employee-employer relationship. Social media and industry network groups present opportunities to enhance the connection with candidates.
  • Lesson Learned 2: Don’t stigmatize the unemployed as unemployable. Many talented people count themselves as part of the fallout of the economic downturn. Though, as a new veteran, John’s situation was slightly different, he still experienced subtle but present bias to his unemployment status, with questions around his work ethic, networking abilities, and desire for employment. Even though he sent out numerous resumes each week, attended job fairs and networking events, and actively interviewed throughout the months of his career transition, he got indirect messages from employers that he was not quite the same as an active employee seeking a job change, because he was unemployed. Deloitte and The Rockefeller Foundation, in support of the White House National Economic Council, have put together these two handbooks for employers and job seekers as a helpful resource to understand and counteract these biases.
  • Lesson Learned 3: Follow through on commitments; tap into candidate relationship management. John recalls countless recruiters making commitments to call him back or managers saying they’d be making hiring decisions in a few days, with no follow-through. For John, hearing something, even “no,” was better than going into a black hole and hearing nothing. He often chased recruiters and managers, felt he invested time in their companies, and yet experienced delayed or no follow-up to his inquiries about the companies’ promise to be in touch with him. How is your organization handling candidate communications? Are you tapping into technology tools to help manage the process, while still serving the broader need for relationship-building?
  • Lesson Learned 4: Shorten the end-to-end cycle time. John experienced days turning into weeks and sometimes weeks turning into months. In our fast-paced society, everything is moving faster; this should include the recruiting cycle. Redesigning the processes, updating technology, incorporating newer techniques like video conferencing and recorded video responses as part of accelerating the initial screening interactions, and investing in recruiting resources can all shave time off the recruiting cycle and get needed talent on board sooner.>
  • Lesson Learned 5: Invest in recruiting. John encountered many overwhelmed and stressed recruiters. The recruiters shared their stories of managing large number of requisitions, heavy workloads, and little downtime for development and training. In Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2014, 57 percent of surveyed leaders stated their organizations are weak in addressing workloads and schedules. John heard two recruiters tell him they were managing upwards of 150 active professional-level requisitions at one time. If recruiting is one of an organization’s marketing channels into the marketplace, why under-invest in the recruiting resource team? This can make a bad first impression to potential future employees. Instead, how can you use the recruiting experience as a marketing tool to position your organization as an employer of choice?

John’s experience confirms what surveyed leaders tell us themselves: Recruiting isn’t working as it should. Old ways of recruiting are often ineffective, causing organizations who cling to them to lose out on valuable talent. This is an issue keeping many CEOs up at night, and keeping many organizations from securing the talent to drive their business plans. Based on the 65 percent of surveyed leaders who view recruiting as underperforming, HR leaders have received their mandate: It’s time to think strategically about revitalizing the recruiting function, both with short-term fixes and long-term transformation initiatives.


Art Mazor Art Mazor is a principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice. He collaborates with complex, global clients across industries to transform Human Resource strategy, service delivery, and organizations with a business-driven focus.
GaryJohnsen Gary Johnsen is a specialist leader in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice. He has a passion for building the intersection between business and people strategy, helping organizations design and implement HR operating models, practices, structures and processes that drive meeting business strategy.

“I know the perfect person…”

Boosting recruiting and retention through employee referral programs

Talent Referral

Posted by Robin Erickson on October 21, 2014

Tapping current employees to source new candidates is a viable recruiting strategy for many reasons: high return on investment (Bersin research found that 9 percent of the overall spend for sourcing went to employee referrals, delivering 16 percent of new hires1 ); good cultural fit (employees tend to refer candidates with similar skills and attributes); access to specialized or hard-to-find skills (people typically network with others in similar roles); and long-term effectiveness (one study showed a 42 percent retention rate after three years for employees hired through employee referral programs vs.32 percent for employees hired through job boards and 14 percent for career site hires2).

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Are you missing out on a rich source of needed talent?

The case for hiring the long-term unemployed

Stay focused

Posted by Alice Kwan and Danielle Hawkins on October 16, 2014

There’s a very good chance your organization is turning away viable, high-quality candidates for one reason: They’ve been looking for work longer than other candidates.

As of August 2014, 3 million Americans1 of all ages, ethnicities, geographies, industries, and education and experience levels are considered long-term unemployed (LTU), meaning they have been actively seeking work for more than 27 weeks without success. The LTU apply to 3.5 times more jobs than recently unemployed job seekers, yet receive 45 percent fewer callbacks for interviews.2 Evidence shows no difference in capability or quality of work produced between the LTU and the recently unemployed,3 yet the stigma associated with lengthy employment gaps persists.

Continue reading “Are you missing out on a rich source of needed talent?”

How sophisticated is your Talent Acquisition social media strategy?

Talent Acquisition social media strategy

Posted by Robin Erickson on August 26, 2014

A soon-to-be-released Bersin by Deloitte study on High-Impact Talent Acquisition1 finds that social media use is a key driver of talent acquisition (TA) performance and a telltale sign of maturity in using TA strategically to enable the business. Mature organizations embrace the opportunity to leverage social media not only as a recruiting vehicle but also as an outlet to promote their employment brand, even going so far as to hire strategists to “curate” social media content. In fact, the study finds that the most mature TA functions are five times more likely to have effective social media campaigns than the least mature TA functions. Why does this matter? Because talent “lives” online these days, and social media is one of the most popular (and highly populated) neighborhoods, making it a prime source for recruiting.

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Getting strategic about onboarding

Getting strategic about onboarding

Posted by Amy A. Titus and Josh Haims on March 27, 2014

I (Amy) remember my first day on a new job — it was 1999. I walked into my office, had a computer put in front me, and was promptly whisked off to take care of formalities like fingerprinting and drug testing. That was my onboarding. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way in the last 15 years. Today onboarding is recognized as a critically important talent strategy because it can dramatically affect both “hard” factors such as productivity, retention, and costs and those elusive “soft” factors such as employer reputation and referrals that can be a tremendous advantage in a tight talent market.

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Everyone into the pool?

The Burgeoning Role of Candidate Relationship Management in Talent Acquisition

Candidate Relationship Management

Posted by Robin Erickson, Ph.D. on November 19, 2013

Six months ago, I transitioned from Deloitte Consulting’s Talent, Performance & Rewards practice to Bersin by Deloitte to lead its Talent Acquisition practice. For a brief description of how I got here from there, check out my recent Hire Innovation blog.

The first report I chose to write for Bersin by Deloitte’s Talent Acquisition members was The Talent Acquisition Primer.1 Just as it sounds, this report introduces talent acquisition concepts and tracks its evolution from the basic recruiting practices of the 1940s to today’s complex mix of processes and stakeholders. One of the more recent talent acquisition innovations, driven by a shrinking talent pool overall and shortages in critical talent segments, is the idea of candidate relationship management or “CRM.” What its same-acronym counterpart (customer relationship management) aims to accomplish with customers, candidate relationship management aims to accomplish with candidates. CRM is about establishing a “never-ending” connection with individuals who are potential employees — in essence, creating a pool of talent that can be dipped into to fill job openings when needed.

Continue reading “Everyone into the pool?”

Social Business: What’s On Your Mind?

MIT SMR

Posted on November 6, 2013

Maybe you’ll find that social business has a role to play in resolving your issues and meeting important business objectives, or maybe you won’t. But if you’re like 75 percent of your HR colleagues who responded to our survey and believe social business can fundamentally change the way we work, it’s worth exploring the possibilities. Social networking can provide instant access to people and information throughout the world, giving business the opportunity to engage with customers and connect employees in ways never before imaginable. So why are some businesses benefitting more than others? And how are they benefitting? What kinds of enterprises are benefitting the most?

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Social Business: What It Can Mean for HR

Social Business: What It Can Mean for HR

Posted by Doug Palmer on September 19, 2013

The second annual Deloitte and MIT Sloan Management Review (MIT SMR) research study continues our exploration of the social business landscape and how organizations are changing how work gets done by embedding social capabilities into processes and workflows. Three-quarters of the HR professionals who participated in the research (vs. 70% for all respondents) believe social business is an opportunity to “fundamentally change the way we work.” Tellingly, however, HR’s usage of social business still trails other functions. Only 14% of respondents from HR reported their organization’s use of social business in HR to a great extent vs. 46% of marketing respondents and 31% of customer service respondents. We think this points to a real opportunity for HR, as we see many ways social business can be used to enhance primary HR functions.

The uses of social business in HR span internal areas such as learning and development and external areas such as recruiting and staffing. Over the past year, survey respondents overall reported increasing use of social business in two specific areas of HR: identifying expertise (17% reporting an increase) and managing talent (14% reporting an increase). HR respondents themselves reported that their department uses social business most often in recruiting/managing talent (39%).

Which uses of SB have increased within your organization within the last 12 months? (Respondents selected up to 3)

The somewhat broad uses of social business in HR can be broken down as follows:

  • Recruiting — A variety of social tools like LinkedIn and Twitter help companies find and attract top talent. Some companies, including Covance, which was interviewed for our study, leverage these tools to establish relationships with potential candidates throughout the hiring cycle, even during the earliest stages when candidates simply want to understand what it would be like to work for that company.
  • Hiring/Staffing — Not everyone has to be inside the organization. In the Open Talent Economy, the 2013 Human Capital Trends report authored by my Deloitte colleagues Andy Liakopoulos, Jeff Schwartz, and Lisa Barry, talent resides on a continuum ranging from full-time employees to open source communities that support a company’s business objectives.
  • Onboarding — Collaboration tools like Chatter and Yammer help get people acclimated and connected to others in the organization much faster, driving increased productivity for the organization. Gamification can also be used to educate new employees about the organization and engage them more fully.
  • Learning/Development — Some of these same social collaboration and gamification tools not only have implications for how a company structures and delivers learning, but also how employees access colleagues to get help and learn in a just-in-time way.
  • Performance Management — Companies are building tools that provide more real-time capability to capture employees’ contributions, connections, and reputations — and their impact — vs. only on a six-month or annual cycle.

Continue reading “Social Business: What It Can Mean for HR”