Finding the Perfect Employee

Finding the Perfect Employee

With last week seeing reports from the ONS that UK unemployment fell by 125,000 to just 7.2% and the latest estimates showing 193,000 more people were in work October to December compared to the previous 3 months, you now have to be extremely creative to find great employees.

Recruiting for an employee to fill your IT requirement can be both a frustrating and time consuming process.  From writing the job spec and the advert, which has to be exciting, challenging and offering that little something interesting to attract great people, to the actual interview with likely candidates, your time is guaranteed to be stretched to the maximum for a period of time.

Here are 5 tips to help you find a great employee

  • When reviewing a CV, look for length of time on the job.  A candidate with several short-term employers of less than 12 months (other than those that have been working in contract roles), could mean a lack of commitment on their part.Of course, with all the redundancies that were around not so long ago, it could just mean that they were caught in the fallout.  However, proceed with care – it isn’t always necessarily a fact that people were laid off because the company was cutting back.  Star performers are laid off as a last resort, so check references carefully, especially if the company is still in business.  You don’t want someone else’s “deadwood”.


  • Look for gaps in employment and ask for an explanation.  Long periods out of work can signal time out to update education, or to “give something back”, but it may also indicate something more sinister.


  • Watch the employment dates for “overlaps” and if you can, check the cv against a public profile like LinkedIn – does it match?  These could be simple errors, but it may also indicate that the candidate is not being truthful about previous employers.  Ask the candidate to explain it, and be sure to call those employers and verify dates of employment with them.


  • Have a copy of the job description at hand when you review the cv’s.  The more skills that match your job description, the more likely you will be to have a great match.  Focus on what they have done in the past that matches what you want them to do.  Write a list of things you want them to do and then ask questions that will get those answers (or lack thereof).


  • Sort your likely CV’s into two piles – one for those that look perfect to you, the other for those that look good.  Conduct preliminary telephone interviews and ask them why they want to work for your Company.  Whilst some may not be the superstar for today, you never know if they may be of interest to you in the future.  Leave them with a good feeling about your Company.


While these tips aren’t the whole picture in hiring a great employee, using them increases your chances that you will hire the perfect match for your Company.

With the restrictions on information that a previous employer is allowed to give you, it is important to pay attention to all the details you get from the candidate.  It will make the difference between having a GREAT employee working for you or, just having a GOOD one.

Written by Lucy Rawes, Operations Director

IT Market Summary – January

Langley James IT Recruitment Market Summary – January

Key points

  • Growth of permanent and contract appointments eases but remains marked
  • Vacancies rise at fastest pace since May 1998
  • Permanent salary growth virtually unchanged from December’s six-year high

Further sharp rises in permanent and contract appointments

Permanent staff appointments continued to increase strongly in January. Although the pace of expansion eased from the 45 month high we recorded in December.  Similarly, contract appointments rose at a rate only marginally slower than December’s 15 year peak.

Strongest growth of demand for staff since May 1998

Overall job vacancies rose at a sharp and accelerated rate in January.  The pace of expansion was the fastest in over fifteen-and-a-half-years.

Permanent salaries continue to increase markedly…

The rate of growth of permanent staff salaries remained elevated at the start of 2014, holding at a pace broadly in line with December’s six year peak.

…amid declining availability of candidates.

Further falls in staff availability were signalled in January.  Both permanent and contract candidate numbers declined at marked rates, albeit the slowest in three months.

Permanent IT staff skills in short supply – C++, Developers, General IT, Java, .Net, PHP, Project Managers, Support, Technical Consultants

IT Contractor staff skills in short supply – Business Intelligence, Developers, Java, .Net, Project Managers, SAP, Support, SQL.

Staff appointments

The number of people placed by Langley James increased further in January.  Our IT Consultants reported a marked increase in permanent placements with the South of the UK showing the sharpest rise.

Having risen at the sharpest rate for over 15 years during December, our IT Consultants reported growth of contract placements eased marginally in January.  We are seeing a trend of companies taking on contractors to undertake work whilst they look to secure a permanent candidate.


Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that job vacancies were up 15.2% on an annual basis in the three months to December.

Demand for staff by sector

Permanent staff – Growth of demand was broad-based across all key types of permanent staff with Engineering now in the top spot.  IT & Computing holding onto fourth place.

Contract staff – Engineering also featured in top place for contract staff demand with IT & Computing falling to sixth place.

Staff Availability

The availability of permanent candidates continued to fall at the start of 2014, with a range of skill-sets reported as being in short supply.

The availability of contract staff fell for the seventh month running in January.  Although marked, the latest drop was slower than those recorded in the previous two months.


Average starting salaries for IT candidates placed in permanent jobs increased further in January.  Permanent salaries rose in all four regions, with the South posting the sharpest rate of inflation.

Day rates for contract employment continued to rise in January.

About Langley James

Langley James was founded in 1999 by James Toovey, a highly respected recruitment industry professional.  James wanted to provide something unique: a bespoke recruitment service which was founded on service excellence.  With offices in London and Manchester, we are now providing our ‘boutique style’ recruitment services throughout the world and over the last 15 years have worked with some of the most respected companies in the world.

To find out why so many companies turn to Langley James for support for fulfilling their IT recruitment needs, call and speak to one of our specialist consultants today on 0845 124 9555.