WASHINGTON, June 13, 2014 — The cyber world is a world of options, and experts in this world are in high demand. Top candidates can afford to be picky. What are things that weigh on the mind of those top tech talents? Pay, brand, perks and wait time are among the most notable. Companies are finding it hard to keep their first, second and third picks in the dynamic and fast-paced market.
The Department of Homeland Security and other government firms that require security clearances for jobs are finding it particularly difficult to keep up with the quickly changing market. Their hiring process can last up to a shocking six months. While the pay might not be as attractive as private companies can offer, the Department’s mission has many able and willing top-notch applicants. “People say the good talent doesn’t come because we can’t pay them,” Cyber Chief Phyllis Schneck said. “We could actually use our mission to outdo some of those salaries they’re offered. But we have to have the flexibility and some additional competitiveness to bring them inside.”
The bureaucracy isn’t alone in their hiring woes. Private businesses have their own hold ups between application algorithms, internal communications (or lack of) and piles of applicant negotiations. Information overload has hit hard with the 2.7 percent unemployment rate in the technology industry, according to Dice.com. Piles of applicants are sorted through by computer program – perhaps appropriate to the tech job, but subject to errors in wrongly matching potential candidates. The best talents keep their options open and drag out the hiring process. Delayed hiring processes mean delayed delivery of company services. All in all, both candidates and managers agree there’s a lot of work to be done.
The bottom line is that active and aggressive hiring and applying approaches can help move the process forward. Quick communication and dynamic offers give the best chance of creating mutually beneficial matches.
Here are some tips for both sides of the technology hiring field:
Be specific and follow the instructions for a company’s application process. Generic mass applications are as likely to excite as they are to frustrate the hiring manager. Carefully choose which brands to apply for and tailor your application to meet the specificationss of each individual brand. Bring attention to the specific hard skills and soft skills you bring to the table. Play your cards if you have multiple offers, but don’t insult or frustrate potential employers by overly-delayed communications. Companies are seeking people who have both skill and quality work ethic.
Branding is important for driving the best talent to your application pools. Websites should be attractive and easy to navigate, as well as engaging with exciting content about the business. Good company relations with customers keep a positive image on the ‘net’. Once applications start piling in, it’s important to recognize talent even if there are some soft skills lacking. Training programs are there to improve just that. Once talent is found, during the interview process it’s important to build excitement for the brand’s growth and the applicant’s possible future with the company. Applicants search for a job with the right pay for brand they can be proud of.
“The unemployment for technical jobs in most of our markets is a lower rate than the general unemployment rate,” said Victor Gaines, vice president of talent acquisition at Fiserv. “Folks who have technical skill sets are finding jobs at a faster rate and they’re staying at those jobs [longer] than perhaps some other skill sets.”
With an overall unemployment rate of 6.7 in the United States, the technology industries are seeing some of the fastest improvements in our recovering market. Competition is high and the long waits for jobs are no longer something companies can afford. It’s good news for applicants and bad news for the Department of Homeland Security. Six months? No way.