By Kelly Clark, MDI Group

Job CandidateOrganizations in need of experienced technology professionals are letting good candidates slip through their fingers at an alarming rate. Why? In short, they have yet to embrace a simple fact: The competition for IT talent is greater than it ever has been before.

Consider the supporting evidence from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Unlike the sustained jobless rates of 8 to 10 percent for most occupations, the technology unemployment rate is down to half the national average at around 4 percent. From June 2011 to June 2012, the number of IT jobs increased 2.7 percent – nearly double that of the overall jobs increase of 1.4 percent. Most notable, May 2012 marked the fifth consecutive month where IT employment reached a new record high, surpassing 4 million jobs in the U.S.

With so many workers still unemployed, many hiring managers believe they are in the driver’s seat when it comes to selecting job candidates and bargaining salaries. But when it comes to technology personnel, it’s the job seekers who now have plenty of good opportunities and multiple companies competing for their services.

MDI Group has observed and research from sources like the recent Hiring Survey confirms that Java developers, mobile developers, .NET developers and software developers are the most sought after skill sets. As a result, the availability of good candidates is limited in most areas. If you need to hire professionals with these skills in the current job market, here’s how to prevent the best candidates from getting away:

Clearly define the job responsibilities and skills required

It may seem obvious, but considering how quickly technology is evolving, the process of defining the roles needed and technical skills required by IT organizations has never been more difficult. HR can no longer pull a job description that is two years old and expect to use it as a template for new hires. This is why the expertise of an IT recruitment resource like MDI Group – that provides insight on what technologies and skill sets are most often used for specific projects and roles – is a good investment.

Sell the value of working with your organization

Most technical professionals pride themselves on the ability to figure out complex problems and to create solutions for obstacles. They seek out job opportunities that will challenge these abilities and make them a critical part of an organization’s ultimate success. Make sure your job opportunities emphasize the “big picture” and demonstrate how being part of your team will be a rewarding career choice.

Expedite the screening process and interview with a sense of urgency

When it’s time to screen and interview candidates, make sure you convey to all parties involved your sense of urgency to make job offers and bring new resources aboard. Schedule interviews with multiple stakeholders within your organization in a tandem or panel format so that candidates spend less time reviewing the same qualifications and answering similar questions with your team. Know in advance what your “go/no go” criteria are from decision makers in order to avoid the need for additional interviews and information requests. Time is of the essence when you’re competing with other parties who also need to attract and retain the same IT talent.

Be ready to make an offer

Nothing causes candidates to lose interest in job opportunities faster than slow job offers. Job seekers with highly marketable skills often garner multiple offers to consider. When potential employers delay making a job offer for whatever reason, candidates see this as a red flag and opt for other opportunities. This is the most common reason why hiring managers miss out on getting their first choice of candidates. As the old saying goes, “Strike while the iron is hot.”

By working with a professional services firm like MDI Group – focused exclusively on providing IT workforce solutions – you will have a partner with a thorough knowledge of local job market conditions that can guide you on salary ranges for particular skill sets and candidate expectations. With an understanding of your organization’s culture, processes and strategic goals, MDI Group will help you find the ‘best-fit’ resource solutions possible and sell all the benefits of joining your team.

Kelly Clark is the Director of Marketing for MDI Group, an IT Workforce Solutions company focused exclusively on providing professional services that help organizations tackle ‘what’s next’ in terms of emerging technology projects and challenging business objectives. Services range from contract staff augmentation and project teams to contingent workforce management and MSP programs.