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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"We build very strong relationships with our hiring managers, so we get to a place where we can anticipate their needs. We can align our efforts with their strategic goals, their unique micro-cultures in their areas," says IS recruiter Rhonda Burke, one of McClellan's direct reports.

Right now Burke and McClellan are working with IT managers to understand the department's vision for mobility, so they can focus several months out on the tech skills that will eventually be needed.

A leadership position that recently opened up in Publix's enterprise data warehouse group needed an updated job description. Because Burke had been working with the group and knew its strategy, she and senior IT management were quickly able to define the position's scope as well as required and preferred qualifications. "There's a nice dialogue that happens before the job posting so we're on point," she explains.

Marilyn Talbot, chief human resources officer at Ascension Health Information Services (AHIS), agrees that knowing the company well is key to making great IT hires.

AHIS, the IT organization that serves Ascension Health, a Catholic healthcare system, employs nearly 3,000 IT associates. For the 225 open IT positions it averages annually, AHIS has two hiring staffers, including recruiter Kraig Whittenberg.

Asking the right questions and figuring from the answers whether candidates will fit into the IT culture, where they'll best serve IT, what managers they'll best mesh with, and where they might move within the company in the future -- all of that, Whittenberg says, is the real art of the job and the value he and others in this position bring to the IT department.

"It's not just knowing the skill sets, it's understanding the overall picture," he says. "And the better you can be at that, the further ahead you are."

This article, Finally! HR reps who 'get' IT, was originally published at

Pratt is a Computerworld contributing writer in Waltham, Mass. You can contact her at


Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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