The Seven Deadly Sins of IT Recruiting

The Seven Deadly Sins of IT Recruiting

Follow these and enjoy the fruits of a first-class team

Recruiting sin #4: Keep spec changes from your recruiters

When you make progress on finding a candidate or your needs change, your search partners need to know. Put yourself in their shoes: Imagine you came up with a technology-based solution for a line of business leader based on agreements you'd made. But when you present the application your team has built, the line of business leader says: "Oh, we actually solved the problem ourselves. Can you help us with something else?" When you fail to communicate spec changes to your search partner, you are engaging in the same bad behavior.

Recruiting fix: When you send your recruiter out to find a PMO leader and you discover an internal candidate for the role, for example, communicate the development with your recruiter as early as possible so that she can change course and stay on your original time line.

Recruiting sin #5: Set a strict compensation limit

As with gold and gasoline, the market sets the price when it comes to talent. If you want to hire a VP of Global Applications who has managed 172 people across 23 countries supporting 15,000 users, the market may well set the base compensation at US$200K. If you have only US$150K to spend, you will have to either change your budget or change your expectations.

Recruiting fix: If you cannot afford the candidate you want, see how creative you can get with sign-on bonuses, options, or benefits. Or consider a high-potential "step up" candidate.

Recruiting sin #6: Rely on HR generalists

Your HR organization is responsible for payroll, benefits, training and employee relations. In all fairness, how can you expect them to prioritize your chief architect search? What kind of training have they had to recognize technical talent? What kind of resources do they have to conduct the kind of strategic, proactive, targeted networking that your IT organization deserves?

Recruiting fix: Hire an experienced recruiter who reports directly into IT. Alternatively, appoint someone on your staff to partner with HR in recruiting and resume review. Or consider joining forces with an external recruiter whom you treat as a long-term strategic partner.

Recruiting sin #7: Ignore the candidate once she's signed her letter

There is a dark scary period that occurs between the candidate's acceptance of your offer and her start date when any number of things can go awry. Her current employer seduces her with a juicy counter offer. She grows frustrated when her outreach to your HR department goes unanswered. Her family has cold feet about relocating. She cannot sell her home.

Recruiting fix: A good recruiter will hold a candidate's hand through resignation and counter offer. He will also encourage you to reach out to your candidate during the dark period as well. And if you're going it alone, be sure to check in with your new hire and remind her what a good move she is making.

Martha Heller is managing director of the IT Leadership Practice at ZRG, an executive recruiting firm in the US. Reach her at

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