Finally! HR reps who 'get' IT

As the market for tech talent heats up, some companies gain competitive advantage with HR staffers who specialize in IT recruitment.

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If you've ever had to hire someone in IT, this drill might sound familiar: Step 1: Explain to an overworked, under-focused HR generalist the basics of what you need in a new hire.

Step 2: Struggle to make clear the subtle differences among IT roles.

Step 3: Toss half the resumes selected on your behalf after steps 1 and 2 prove ineffective.

Step 4: Endure squirm-making interviews with remaining candidates, who are still mismatched in one way or another.

Step 5: Repeat.

Jean Scire feels your pain -- that cycle of frustration was part of her life in previous IT positions. But no more. That's because Scire currently works for Philips North America, and Philips has an expert in hiring IT workers on its human resources staff, which makes a world of difference, Scire says.

"Hiring is hard; there's a lot of time invested in it," says Scire, senior director of healthcare IT operations and programs at Philips' facility in Andover, Mass. "I want to make that whole process as lean as possible, because there's nothing worse than sitting in an interview two minutes in and knowing that I'm not going to hire [that person]."

Julie Magliozzi, IT talent acquisition specialist for Philips, says her job is to understand what managers like Scire need and then find them the right candidates. "Even if we don't have a single open position, I'm always networking with top IT talent, kind of grooming them for when we do have openings," Magliozzi says. "I understand the needs of the people in my network, and I understand the needs of IT because I support only IT, so I can make the best match for both."

That's a valuable contribution when you consider how difficult finding the right candidate can be.

An IT talent management survey released in February by IT staffing firm TEKsystems Inc. of Hanover, Md., found that 78% of IT managers either agreed or strongly agreed that many IT resumes contain buzzwords that are irrelevant to the individual's experience. And 77% of IT leaders either agreed or strongly agreed that many IT resumes include exaggerations, with 40% saying they believe IT professionals commonly get positions for which they are unqualified.

The impact of that mismatch can be significant. A CareerBuilder survey released last December found that 69% of employers reported that their companies were adversely affected by a bad hire during 2012, with 41% of those businesses estimating the cost of that bad hire to be more than $25,000 and 24% saying the bad hire cost them more than $50,000. The cost of these bad hires, which includes all types of workers, not just IT employees, incorporates recruitment and training costs as well as lost productivity.

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