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Part 1: Is Being More Selective When Hiring in a Tight Market the Right Answer?

Being More Selective when HiringThe market for technical talent is thinning. We are witnessing highly skilled resources becoming  scarce across all areas of the technology spectrum. However, what we are seeing is that there are also slowing trends in hiring as the demand continues to grow. So, what is the right answer: be more selective or make quicker decisions?  We’ll speak to this topic in two articles, addressing both sides of the argument.

Here are a few of the reasons why it makes sense to be more selective in a tight market.


  1. The phonies come out in bunches. We faced this challenge back in the dotcom era. The growth curve and demand for technology resources were off the charts. Because the demand was so high, anyone with a buzzword on his or her resume got hired. Some of these tricksters were able to cut the mustard, but others got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Too many people looking to get into the technology industry try to pull the wool over the hiring eyes in order to get a foot in the door. With talent pools shrinking, now is the time to examine candidates carefully, only hiring those that are legitimately qualified and experienced.
  2. Your butt is still on the line. Even though you may be short a few team members, accepting “C” players in order to fill open positions is often a very poor decision. If the resume pile is less than acceptable and the quality is underwhelming, you are better off waiting until the best talent crosses your desk. Taking what comes your way for the sake of gaining headcount is a sure-fire way to miss deadlines and weaken team chemistry on your projects.
  3. The ones you pick are more likely to stick. If you are selective in your process, you have the luxury of vetting out the fluff and creating a true match with someone that really wants to be in your team. Because opportunity is abundant, the top talent can afford to be choosey. If they accept your offer, you’ve created a good match that will stand the test of time.
  4. Replacing personnel is more costly in the long run. Being more selective in a time where fewer resources exist can be quite trying on a company. Although you’re scrambling to hit deadlines and keep pace with technology advances, don’t settle. Hiring hastily or grabbing talent without due process may be detrimental to a project or department, setting things back farther than expected. The cost of replacing a resource on a project can be quite expensive, considering the direct and indirect costs associated with the transition and the valuable time lost in the process.

It’s an interesting time we are in, unique in its own right. Technology demands are building, the economy is still struggling to some extent, consumer confidence is still low (but on the rise), and IT resources are difficult to locate. When open positions climb in number and talent pools shrink, it may take longer to get that right candidate, but the end result will be well worth the wait. Conversely, there are valid reasons to move the process faster and be decisive when a solid candidate has been spotted. Stay tuned for the other side of the argument – Part 2: Is Being More Selective When Hiring in a Tight Market the Right Answer?

To understand how you can get to the best IT Talent without hitting these challenges, talk to EdgeLink about our unique and selective recruiting process.

Photo Credit: The National Archives UK.

2 thoughts on “Part 1: Is Being More Selective When Hiring in a Tight Market the Right Answer?

  1. I am responding to this from the perspective of someone who has managed test teams and got there by being a great tester. During the dot com bubble I hired testers with as little as 6 months experience even using a computer. These people weren’t “phonies” claiming to be something they weren’t in order to meet some arbitrary job requirement. They were glad for the opportunity and did a great job given some minimal training and appropriate mentoring. Products tested by this team made it through the R&D cycle twice as fast as the industry norm. At the same time these products received quality awards and top reviews in national magazines.

    … and then there came a time when people with PhD’s in Computer Science were suddenly competing for those same jobs. Today I am unemployed in part due to tech industry job requirements inflation. Hey, I understand. Why not hire someone with ten years programing experience and a PhD to fill a junior role when the job market is so tight they’re just glad for the work?

    Still, let’s be honest about the skills needed. Most “technical” roles probably require less in the way of technical skills than you would imagine… and far, far less than the industry has come to demand over the last decade. Currently, there are few creditable reasons for competent programers to want most testing jobs… and yet programing skills are now “required” for most of those jobs. Basically a situation geared toward screening out virtually everyone except “phonies.”

    So, if being more selective means doubling down on job requirements inflation — you deserve all the phonies you get, because that’s who you’re asking for.

    However, if being more selective means looking for people who are “intrinsically” motivated and have the basic skills… you might be on to something. Most people are actually pretty talented when you get down to it. If you want a team that will stick with you and pull your ass out of the fire — give them some decency and respect; maybe do a little on-boarding, training and appropriate mentoring. Help other people develop their talents and you will most likely discover the talent gap is more perception than reality.

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