“Act Now for 2021 IT Recruitment”

An economic boom is on the horizon. Don’t delay your recruiting plans – act now or risk being left behind. 

A little direct? Perhaps, but it is all too common at this time of year for businesses to start planning for the New Year, instead, take action now and start your recruitment campaigns now putting you ahead in January when many more businesses will then begin their recruitment campaigns.

2021 is set to be one of, if not, the most competitive years, when many projects that had been delayed will be caught up with. Morgan Stanley projects strong global GDP growth of 6.4% for 2021 while the excitable mainstream media predicts the start of a “roaring twenties” era for us all. With so many sectors expected to rebound at the same time, never, in modern times at least, has the commercial playing field been so level for so many. Titans will fall and minnows will rise as our riled and turbulent economy starts to settle into a fresh new order. 

The question is, are you ready for the most aggressive commercial race of our age?

A Level Playing Field Means Fierce Competition for Talent and Resources

If most markets are set for simultaneous phases of rapid growth – being first having never mattered more. In critical areas of the IT recruitment market, COVID-19 has had little effect on talent shortages and so, come 2021, after the initial feeding frenzy is over, do not expect IT recruitment to be easy or less time-consuming. The best advice is to act now and get in touch with us before the frenzy begins.

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Rising National Unemployment Rates Won’t Mean More IT Candidates

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security believing that rising unemployment means it’s a talent buyers’ market. Sure, if you are recruiting a team of production operatives or account managers, then yes, you’ll be able to simply post an advert and watch the CVs flood in. However, if you are chasing a first-class .Net Developer, BI Analyst, or Cloud Infrastructure Engineer you’re in for a shock. In 2021, demand for niche talent will rise sharply making it even harder to attract and secure the best people. Even if you are not quite ready to recruit, act now, and start the process. Contact Langley James in advance to start building talent pools and setup some early conversations to get ahead of the game.   


Review Your Recruitment Process ASAP

2020 has caused hiring freezes, multi-signature procurement decisions, and cautious, fear-driven process extensions. In short, current business action is slow. Most recruitment assignments that do make it past the ‘sign-off’ stage are faced with increased process stakeholders, extended candidate interview hurdles, and general hesitation. Given what we have discussed above, how competitive do you think your recruitment process is? 

Let’s be clear – you are competing with Hiring Managers with flexible budgets and the power to offer a candidate a job during or immediately after an interview. In talent, short areas such as IT, skill assessments, psychometric testing, and 3+ interview stages are luxuries that will slow you down and significantly reduce your chances of securing your candidate. We’re not saying make knee-jerk, ill-informed decisions. Far from it. Instead, be very clear on what you need, what you’re able to compromise on, invest time into creating a robust, high value but lean interview plan, and prepare to make offers quickly should you need to. 

Plan for Competition with a Strong Offer Strategy 

Before the sign off stage, talk to us at Langley James about the market and local talent competition. In skill short, high demand niche areas, failing to plan for recruitment competition is foolish. Assuming that going back to your management team, post-signoff, for more money is undesirable, pre-empt the inevitable with an offer strategy that includes an ability to negotiate and raise offers. In 2021, competition is going to be fierce.

To ensure your salary budget is in line with the market have a look at our salary guide which we publish monthly, these are the average salaries of what candidates are seeking and roles are advertised, you may need to consider paying more that the average, but we understand that is easier said than done as it may knock out the whole IT department salary budget.

Expect Attack

While you read this, your employment competitors are already plotting to attack the talent market, which will include them trying to entice your staff. They too have powerful recruitment partners with extensive candidate networks and persuasive pitches. Putting off your battle plans until the new year gives them the advantage. By the time you’re ready to hire, they will have already engaged the market and may have already met many candidates some of which may be your own staff. Our advice is to start planning today and start taking decisive action.   

Bottom Line – It’s December 2020 right now with plenty of working days until the 24th so, get ahead of the rat race and meet some candidates while they are available. With digital interviewing, it has never been so easy to put an hour aside to talk, so call Langley James and make a start. You will not regret it.

Give real thought to your existing processes and talk to us about them. They are meant to make your business run smoothly and efficiently so if your recruiting process is slowing you down causing a commercial disadvantage, consider changing it. The process is not law and is yours to change! 

Speed is of the essence. Take action today. 

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All You Need To Know About IT Contractor Interviews

The Difference Between an IT Contractor Interview Vs Permanent Employee Interview

IT Contractor interviews are different than interviews held for a permanent employee. Generally, line managers will not be carrying out psychometric tests, or second and third interviews. As a line manager, you may only have an hour to assess whether to hire the contractor.

In the interview, the IT contractor is likely to sell their skills, professional contractors are normally well prepared, knowing they have about an hour to win the contract.

As a line manager, you will be analysing if the IT contractor has the right skills, experience, attitude and personality to fit with the existing team and whether they have sufficient skills and experience to warrant their fee.

If a line manager invests time in getting the most out of the contractor interview, and remember that they are not recruiting an employee, they are probably more liking to make more effective contractor recruiting decisions.

Before the interview – preparation

The IT contractor has been invited to interview because their CV ticked all the boxes, but CV’s can be misleading by asking the right questions a line manager can identify if the IT Contractor is right for the project, recruiting the wrong IT Contractor can be an expensive mistake.

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 IT contractor interview Questions

Line Managers should consider asking the following questions during an interview with an IT Contractor

  1. Talk to me about when you have used these skills in another project, what went right and what could have gone better
  2. Give me an example of when you have used your own initiative to make a different to a previous project?
  3. How do you feel about working alone or with a team?
  4. What is your expectation on being managed?
  5. Talk to me about different business cultures you have worked in during previous contracts and what have you done to ensure that you fitted in to the team.
  6. Tell me how you ensure you achieve your deadlines
  7. How have you made a difference to a project you have previously worked on.
  8. How do you ensure you understand the projects requirements fully?
  9. Tell me about a time when  a project you have worked on has gone wrong and how you have overcome it.
  10. What do you know about this organisation?
  11. What do you know about this project?
  12. Do you have any evidence of your impact on a previous projects profitability and how it impacted on the business.

IT Contractor and their Communication Skills

During the interview, a line manager will also establish if the IT Contractor has strong communication skills. The main factors they will look for include;

  • Do they have good eye contact?
  • Do they answer the question that was asked or do they go off on a tangent?
  • Do they listen or do they justify what they want to say?
  • What is their body language saying?
  • Do they ask questions that are relevant?
  • Do they use silence?
  • Is the contractor skilled for the position? Can they achieve what we need them to?
  • Can they work on their own and use their initiative?
  • Are they likeable and will fit into our organisation’s culture?
  • Are they clearly focused on project delivery?
  • Do they have good communicate skills?
  • Can they offer some added value, more than the other candidates, which could help give the organisation an edge?
  • Do they try hard to understand the project requirements, by asking lots of questions?
  • Do they seem keen and a hard worker and prepared to get really stuck in?
  • Do they appear to be genuinely interested in the project?
  • Are they a positive person who will motivate others or a negative merchant of doom?
  • Are they a good listener?
  • Do they know anything about our business/organisation and the market sector?
  • Is the contractor commercially aware?

A good IT contractor will have the same checklist to work through from their perspective and will be trying to reassure the interviewer that they are the best person for the job.

What sends alarm bells ringing?

As a line manager, you will be likely to recognise during the interview that the contractor might not be the right person for this particular contract, or that they might not fit in with your organisational culture. Common warning signs include:

  • The IT contractor focuses too much on how the role would be good for them rather than the client
  • The IT contractor does not really address the organisations problems or explain how their skills and experience will solve them
  • The IT contractor may exaggerate or boast.
  • The  IT contractor is a bad listener, talks too much, and doesn’t directly answer questions
  • The IT contractor interrupts the interviewer 
  • The IT contractor has obviously not prepared for the interview and lacks understanding
  • The IT contractor demonstrates a lack of commercial awareness 
  • The IT contractor lacks interest in the organisation and project and demonstrates poor knowledge.

Making your IT Contract Recruitment decision

IT contractors that have long term successful contracting careers will also have good selling skills in addition to their core expertise. 

At the end of the interview, an experienced and prepared IT contractor will normally ask for the business and attempt to close the deal, assuming of course that they want to work on the project.

As a line manager if you are not ready to make a decision at the interview you can schedule a time to get back to the, however, remember that a good contractor, even in depressed market conditions, will almost certainly have other options. So, do take time to deliberate over the decision, but do not prevaricate.

Once the contract offer has been made, the negotiation stage begins once again preparation is very important.

Langley James IT Recruitment has been established since 1999 and specialises in recruiting IT Contractors throughout the UK across all business sectors contact Langley James on  0207 788 6600  

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How to Retain Your IT Staff Before It’s Too Late

Act Now to Retain Your IT Staff Before its Too Late

As we race towards the end of a somewhat eventful 2020, we’ll soon be bracing ourselves for the annual surge in people all over the country reflecting and deciding to change jobs. Twice a year, in January and September (ish), people return to work following a break with new-found and ambitious plans to further themselves and their careers. With less than a month to go before Christmas, here are some immediately actionable IT staff retention ideas highlighting what to address before it’s too late. 

Job Role Growth and Progression

It is human nature that we want to better ourselves. The strive for growth is a natural progression all employees go through during their careers.  It would be unrealistic to expect an employee not to toy with the idea of moving on to a better position, whether it be within your company, or elsewhere, no matter how loyal they are. Internal flexibility is a favorable attribute that, if you have the means to implement, is likely to enhance employee retention.

This is the idea of being open to moving employees around and letting them find their talents and discover what they are best at. You may find that an employee you originally placed in one role, finds their niche and performs to a higher standard elsewhere just by giving them some flexibility to try their hand at new projects. Obviously, it is not always possible to offer that level of flexibility to employees, depending on the size and scale of the business. In this case, challenge your staff, and provide them with a higher level of responsibility. This will alleviate the tedium and create a feeling of purpose and worth.

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Work-Life balance

Although it may be frowned upon by some employers, it should come as no surprise when people say they would prefer to work only standard or flexible hours so that they can spend more time focused on other commitments.

It can be easy for employers to overlook the bigger picture – a poor work-life balance will not only impact employee but their spouse, family and many other aspects of their life. According to the Mental Health Foundation, over a quarter of employees in the UK feel depressed due to their work-load, and a further 58% feel irritable because they struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Workload plays a significant part in employee satisfaction and ultimately can influence an employee’s decision on whether they stay or leave. Projects are often time-oriented, do not assume that if an employee continues on with tasks beyond scheduled working hours that it is because they love their job and want to be there, which of course can be the case, but not in all instances. A feeling of pressure will profoundly impact upon an individual and force them into working beyond their contentment. If an employee is showing signs of stress and continue working beyond what is expected of them, then perhaps it is time to discuss with the individual ways to manage their time more effectively. 

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Lack of Recognition 

Measuring how appreciated an employee feels is one of the most difficult things to gauge, but one of the most important. According to a recruitment survey conducted a few years back, a simple “thank you” to your employees is worth £1,608 a year. Lack of recognition or appreciation can cause an employee to feel undervalued and unsure of how they are performing, which can ultimately lead to anxiety and stress. People perform to a much higher standard when they feel valued and a boost in confidence can have a staggering impact on the standard of work produced by your employees. If you are finding that employees are disengaged, yearly appraisals simply will not suffice. Higher engagement levels will greatly benefit both you and your employees. Making small alterations such as implementing an open door policy, and setting goals and targets for your staff to reach, will get conversation flowing, and feedback and recognition can be easily carried out. 

“The Job wasn’t what I expected”

This is the age-old tale of someone who has taken a job with certain expectations, and has been left feeling disappointed, or worse, misled when the role they undertook was not as it was expected to be.

As a recruitment agency, when we ask why people are looking to move, a large number respond with “the job didn’t meet my expectations”. Often the problem is that the job description that was presented to the employee doesn’t match the role. The ambiguity of a role prior to an employee starting with your company can be far more critical than you would anticipate. People place a large amount of trust in the employer to provide them with the most accurate depiction of what they will be undertaking as part of their new role. Often it can simply be that the employee has misunderstood the job role, however, sometimes the employer has deliberately misled them into a job.

To prevent your employees from making a move, take measures to ensure that they have a clear picture of what is expected of them. If you have a resentful employee, address it now before the situation becomes irreversibly toxic.    

Training and Development 

If someone is feeling dissatisfied with their ability to complete their duties due to lack of knowledge, satisfaction levels will suffer and you are likely to lose them from your team. Providing training and development at work poses great benefits to both you and the employee. It is crucial in keeping your employees engaged while, at the same time, benefiting you with duties and tasks being completed to a greater standard. Enhancing knowledge through the appropriate training will increase confidence, and ultimately help you to retain staff. It will give the employee the opportunity to address weaknesses and to improve on those weaknesses before they make the decision to leave on their own accord.

The bottom line – ignore these things at your peril. It can be easy to miss the red flags, especially if you have a large team, however, staff job satisfaction is an emotional issue and requires an emotional, empathic response. Best advice would be to assume that everyone might be dissatisfied and to explore everyone’s situation equally. Tackle it now and you stand a good chance of cooling your staff’s motivations to leave.