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Finally! HR reps who 'get' IT

Mary K. Pratt | June 14, 2013
If you've ever had to hire someone in IT, this drill might sound familiar:

Given those stakes, it's no surprise that companies like Philips, with approximately 2,100 IT employees globally, including 460 in the United States, are using in-house experts to smooth the process.

"It is certainly more efficient because I don't have to ask questions A through Z every time," Magliozzi says. "I understand 20 of those 26 answers already. I know where we're going because I know what we've done in the past that worked, and what skill sets work within IT."

Unlike an HR generalist, Magliozzi is familiar with the company's platforms and systems, can explain why IT values ITIL experience and understands IT's mission to drive customer satisfaction and operational excellence.

Tracking IT's many changes
Retaining an HR professional who specializes in IT makes particular sense given the current demand for certain tech skills and the generally changeable nature of IT, says Bruce Ballengee, president and CEO of Dallas-based Pariveda Solutions Inc., an IT consulting firm.

The IT discipline is full of numerous specialties, puzzling acronyms and unique skill requirements that could confuse and overwhelm an HR rep who's assigned to help on a one-off basis, says Ballengee, a founding member of the national Society for Information Management's Enterprise Architecture Working Group. What's more, "IT specialties come and go, so that puts an extra burden on HR recruiters, more so than in other types of business disciplines," Ballengee points out.

Candidates too benefit from working with an IT-conversant HR person, and that ultimately helps the company snag a great hire, says Scott Hajer, a recruiting manager at Pariveda.

"These are people who are getting pinged by lots of recruiters, and being someone who speaks their language is going to allow you to engage them better and leave them with a better impression," he says. That, in turn, helps the company land that sought-after candidate who may have been less impressed with another company's generic hiring process.

How to hire well
IT-focused HR pros offer three tips for finding tech talent in a tight market:

Build relationships in the marketplace. Attend groups. Network. The best IT workers aren't necessarily the ones actively looking for work, so you've got to seek them out, says Scott Hajer, recruiting manager at Pariveda Solutions Inc.

Spend time early in the planning process accurately articulating the projects and challenges you want the new hire to tackle. "IT people love a challenge, and they want to walk in the door and have an understanding of the type of projects they're going to be working on," says Bryan Banks, an associate manager of talent acquisition at Aflac. "If you can paint that picture, you set up the candidate for success."


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