Could IT Contractor Pay Rates Finally be Increasing?
Over the past couple of years, client companies have limited overtime, reduced the number of hours an IT consultant can work in a week, and even rolled out pay cuts. IT staffing firm bill rates are down; therefore IT contractor pay rates have been lowered as well. All of which are a result of the terrible recession that our nation has been fighting through for the past two years.
However, IT recruiting has experienced a change over the past 6 months. Client bill rates are steadily on the rise, resulting in higher pay rates for IT consultants. Here’s an example from this IT staffing firm: Last June, our client hired a .NET Developer for a 6-month engagement for $70/hr. Almost exactly one year later, our IT recruiters placed a .NET resource for $85/hr with the same client. He had a similar background and experience level. The difference in rate is significant, and it maybe be an indicator that the worst should be behind us. Overall, IT staffing companies across the country are reporting an increase in contract and permanent hiring. As the demand increases, IT contractor pay rates will climb. The economy is heading back in the right direction – and although it will still take some time – there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.
Hiring Incentives for Companies – The Federal HIRE Act
Since our economic stability has been a bit shaky, many companies have been decreasing the amount of IT jobs available. Due to that fact, our unemployment has been increasing over time. In order to counteract unemployment rates, President Barack Obama instituted the Federal HIRE Act. It essentially outlines that for every hire that is made by a company, you will get a tax exemption and some other tax credits as long as 2 conditions are met. First, they are not replacing another employee. Second, they were not working full-time in the time period before the hire/unemployed.
So what does this mean for IT staffing agencies? As the economy continues to turn, IT recruiters should begin seeing their clients take advantage of these tax credits. The best part about the Federal HIRE Act is that there is no limit to the amount of employees that companies can get exemptions for. So to all those companies overloading their workers with tasks that can be done by multiple employees, start hiring the IT resources that you have been lacking during this economic slump!
Why use an IT staffing Agency?
Fortune 500 companies know that when they post that IT job they will get thousands of responses. This is not only because people need a job, but also because so many want to work at their company. An IT staffing company knows that and keeps the company’s name off the job post to avoid all those applicants who just apply for the company’s name.
Taking an action like this not only speeds up the process, but also eliminates candidates who were not qualified for the position. The IT recruiter then reviews the applicant’s resume to make sure their qualifications meet your requirements as well as do a short phone screen. After the IT recruiters have gone through all those steps, they elect the absolute best candidate(s) and send only the most qualified candidates to the hiring manager.
An IT recruiter will work with you to make sure that all your needs are met and you find as many candidates that will fit those needs!
As IT recruiters, we use Twitter to post new IT jobs, relevant IT staffing articles, and keep up with our followers. It has become a very important tool to reach candidates who are constantly using social media networks such as this one. The problem with this is that over the past week or so, Twitter has been acting up. So while we are trying to update our followers, we have to wait for the Twitter overload instead of giving information live.
As the amount of Twitter users increase, will there be a problem for IT recruiting companies like AVID Technical Resources, who rely on it to provide updates to our followers? The IT staffing industry specifically relies on getting new IT job postings out there to candidates to make sure they have an opportunity to apply for a job that they qualify as quickly as possible. If the Twitter crashes continue, those IT jobs will not be seen by our candidates right away, thus giving them less of a chance of qualifying for a position. Hopefully the usefulness of Twitter’s capabilities will not diminish as time goes on.
Managing Client Expectations
IT recruiting companies uncover IT jobs of all different levels and skill sets. IT Recruiters, then have to look for a candidate that best matches the requirements. In today’s economy, many hiring managers are looking for a wish list of technologies and experience. Because of the high unemployment rate, clients tend to think there are highly qualified candidates available at a discounted price. Some of this it true. However, even in the recent recession, highly skilled IT professionals have found new jobs, or their companies find a way to keep them. Therefore, it’s important for IT staffing agencies to manager their client’s expectations with every new requirement.
By managing a client’s expectations, the IT recruiter is providing honest and accurate information so the hiring manager can plan accordingly. For example, if the hiring manager is looking for a niche skill set, yet needs the person to start immediately, he or she needs to know that it might take days or even more than a week for the IT recruiting firm to identify the right candidate. Another example: if the client is looking for someone with a hot technology, yet their budgeted rate is low, the IT recruiter needs to educate them as to what skill-level they will realistically will get for their money. For one final example, if the hiring manager has an immediate need, and the IT recruiter identifies a candidate with multiple irons in the fire, then they need to know that time is of the essence.
These are just a few examples of managing a client’s expectations. Regardless of the situation, an open, honest, relationship makes for a strong business partnership between the IT recruiter and the hiring manager.
Hiring Managers: How to Work with an IT Recruiter
Our main goal as an IT staffing company is to assist you, the client, in finding the perfect candidate for the IT job. In order to make this process quick and efficient, without sending candidates over who do not qualify, we need your help.
These are some things that will help an IT recruiter when finding you a candidate:
- Honesty: Let us know if you are working with other IT staffing agencies. We will not hold this against you. We encourage working with other IT recruiting agencies, as that will help you find the best candidate. We need to know which IT recruiting firms these are so if one of our candidates is also working with them we don’t send you the same candidate twice.
- Rates: Be as upfront as you can with your budget. We don’t want to waste your time, or of course, ours, if you have a set rate that you cannot exceed. Instead, if we know your budget, we can work around that to find you the best possible candidate who fits into those particulars.
- Feedback: As technical recruiters, we need to know how a candidate interviewed – whether it was good or bad – so that we can adjust our search and send you new candidates that are on target. This feedback is important with resumes, not just interviews.
- IT job descriptions: The more thorough and accurate, the better. These are critical so we can find you the right candidate. IT recruiters search for technology skills but we also need to know which of the requirements are must haves and others are just an added bonus.
- Interview availability: In order to get a candidate in to see you, we need to know what your availability is to interview and how soon you will be doing interviews. IT recruiters are always trying to find candidates and send them over right away, but if we do not have answers for them then they will not be willing to wait for the position. In order to make the hiring process as seamless as possible, let us know the dates you are available so we can set things up right away for you.
- Start Date: In order to get the right candidate at the appropriate time we need to know when you would ideally like the person to start. If you plan on hiring them for 3 months later and we were not made aware of this, we may have found a candidate who was looking for a position right away that will not be able to start working. As IT recruiters, we do not want to waste your time sending candidates over who may not even be able to work right away (or at a later time period, etc).
Identifying Candidates Who Are a Cultural Fit With Your Company
In the IT staffing industry, hiring managers or IT recruiting companies will match qualified resumes with the IT job description. Because the industry is so dependent upon finding someone with the depth/experience in the specific technologies required, companies and IT recruiters often get caught up in just matching key words. However, what some IT recruiters and managers often neglect is the human element. More specifically, is the candidate also a cultural fit with your group, office and/or company?
How can IT recruiters or a hiring managers find more about the candidate, and their personality, by just reading a resume or cover letter? The first solution may be creating a questionnaire, often personality-related questions or hypotheticals that can often shed some light on a candidate’s personality and thought process. A widely-available option is the Myers- Brigg Type Indicator (a.k.a the MBTI test). This test can either be taken online or in person and asks various questions that will categorize the candidate. There are 4 categories and 2 types within each category.
However, from this IT staffing firm’s perspective, which has worked with numerous clients who have incorporated different personality tests, the best way to screen for culture is to always be a face-to-face when meeting with the candidate. Have a list of situational questions prepared, but use the interview as an opportunity to gauge the candidate’s reaction and watch for their body language. You can tell a lot about how a person acts with each response. Analyze his or her responses; look for inconsistencies and/or signs of fabrication. Shifting or lack of eye contact can also tell whether the person is ultimately being truthful with their answers.
Should H-1B Visas be used by IT Staffing Firms?
According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, IT staffing firms are not considered “U.S employers,” so attempts to petition for them have been rejected. TechServe Alliance along with the American Staffing Association and some other entities are suing the Federal Government in an attempt to establish that IT staffing companies are lawful businesses, and thus should be allowed to petition for H-1B Visas.
There are countless IT jobs that IT staffing agencies are providing candidates for. Sometimes these candidates are extremely well qualified but their legal status prohibits them from accepting a job unless the client can offer sponsorship. Many argue that foreigners are taking IT jobs that Americans can be doing. Although that may be true in some cases, an employer is not going to hire someone just because they are from another country. They hire them because their qualifications fit the IT job perfectly. Providing sponsorships to employees costs them thousands of dollars, so choosing a foreign employee is not always in their best interest.
In the case of IT staffing companies, they should be given the opportunity to present a client without having to worry whether the candidate will be able to work. The USCIS argues that there isn’t an “employer-employee relationship.” This IT recruiter thinks differently. As an IT recruiting company, you have to stay on top of the employee and make sure they pay them and are showing up to work. The IT recruiter tells the candidate that they are hired, but they also find the candidate. IT recruiting companies are constantly finding IT jobs for Americans in the US, and therefore should be considered a US employer.
IT Staffing – a Very Competitive Industry
The world of IT staffing is a highly competitive industry. IT recruiting agencies race to the best candidates and are constantly battling for the very best high-tech resources. It often comes down to which IT recruiter calls or emails the respective candidate first. Because of that, the most successful IT recruiters typically start their day early and end pretty late (and checking their Blackberrys in between).
One of the misconceptions that both candidates and clients have with IT recruiting firms is that they have a “bench” full of resources who are ready to go. Although IT recruiters are on the phones with prospective candidates all day long, this is actually a reactive industry. Because there are so many different technologies and nuances to each skill set, IT staffing firms typically receive a requirement before they begin their search for candidates. Once they have the detailed IT job specs, then the IT recruiting agency will jump on an immediate search.
Communication is critical in any successful IT job placement. Candidates must be honest with IT recruiters, and in return, the IT recruiters must be honest with the candidates. If he/she has already applied for the position at hand, then that must be made clear. If the candidate does not fit the requirements or ultimately will not be submitted for the IT job, then that must also be communicated. Open, honest dialogue is important to every successful IT job placement.
Similarly, clients and IT staffing agencies need to have the same relationship. IT recruiting firms need to communicate whether the candidates they submit are close to accepting any other offers. Therefore, the client knows how quick they need to move. By managing the “client’s expectations,” there is no excuse if they lose the candidate to another opportunity because they dragged their feet. Likewise, clients need to “manage the expectations” of the IT recruiting firm when they call out an IT job order. They need to communicate how quick they’re looking to interview, and subsequently hire, the resource. By doing this, the IT recruiter can properly work with candidates to make sure everyone is on the same page.
IT Jobs Starting to Heat Up
Like most every industry, the IT job market has been hit hard over the past year and a half. However, the economy has been showing signs of life. IT staffing agencies have been reporting a steady increase in hiring among clients. IT recruiters can no longer find 3-5 candidates for every position. Instead they’re finding more and more people employed or those with multiple irons in the fire. Although this makes the IT recruiting job more difficult, these are certainly great signs for the economy.
According to the 2010 IT Hire Intelligence Survey, which was carried out by Monster.com, around 78 percent of the companies who participated are saying that they will be hiring for many positions within the next six months.
In the survey, “of the companies planning to hire, only 26 percent are new openings and only 9 percent are replacement positions”. This obviously means that there will be new types of IT jobs available. In addition, IT recruiting agencies will continue to heat up, as companies will not be able to fill all their positions on their own. In fact, IT staffing agencies have recently started to hire more IT recruiters – an obvious sign that they are receiving more jobs from their clients.
There is finally light at the end of the tunnel. Although there are still a number of people unemployed, the IT job market is heading in the right direction. Our advice is to continue to be active on the job search. Post and refresh your resume on the job boards, utilize LinkedIn for networking and contact as many IT staffing agencies as possible to cast as many lines in the water. Something will bite….soon.