How to lure top IT talent to your small business

Small businesses often have it tough when it comes to recruiting. But in this guest post, Adam Kinsey discusses some ways SMB IT departments can use their size to their advantage. 

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Having the right people on staff is necessary for an IT department in companies of any size. Nearly every business counts on technology to maintain, distribute and store information and processes. It’s critical that a business not only has the right technology, but also that they have the IT professionals to handle it efficiently and effectively.

CIOs and other leaders need to hire quality employees. They need to be more than capable of completing routine tasks, but also have an imagination that caters to innovation and creativity. It’s a challenge to get the best employees, especially for smaller companies without the resources that their larger competitors have.

However, here are some ways being a small business can help when it comes to recruiting IT pros:

Multifaceted involvement

If you’re pitching your department to Data Modelers, for example, empower them with the potential opportunity they would have at your business. Not only would they be maintaining and assessing the flow, distribution and analysis of your company’s data, but they could also be in on all of the meetings and have a say in front line operations. Top employees typically strive to have the most significant impact possible in a business. Small companies can offer that.

Large companies are so structured that multifaceted involvement sometimes isn’t necessary or possible. The Data Modeler can come in and do his or her job and go home. This isn’t always ideal, though. What small companies can offer is the opportunity to be an integral part of an entire operation.

Your IT department is only as good as the people working with the software development and hardware processes, and you need to get some talent in the door. Pitching a role that has a lot of different components, especially when you’re working with a career like IT that is so routine and project oriented.

Hands on

If an employee steps into a role in a massive IT department at the corporate headquarters of a big company, their role is going to be limited to their specific tasks. There are too many people to cross-examine each other’s knowledge and position. This is a huge perk of small business involvement. The skills that can be acquired are much more diverse. Rather than having a Systems Analyst and Network Administrator, maybe you’ll have a position in your operation that does both. This is attractive to people because they beef up their resume and knowledge base simply by showing up to work. They also will have direct communication contact with fellow IT employees.

Most people want to learn, especially when they’re getting paid to do so. Rather than memorizing a corporate training manual, your potential employees might be learning on the job with their hands and taking in the “training manual” verbally. This is by no means suggesting that small business is and should be less organized, but rather that the structure is more fluid. This tailors to those who desire flexibility in the workplace.

Learning is a great positive to pitch to an employee, especially when the knowledge they could acquire is limitless and undefined. Curiosity is a good thing in this situation.

Growth potential

Most people aren’t satisfied with a job unless they believe there is room for promotion and internal growth. This should be a major point of focus in your pitch to acquire top-notch employees. Not only can these people learn within a diverse job role, but they will have a much better chance to become leaders within the company. This is a huge leg up that you have on large corporate IT departments.

For one, there is little to no chance that an IT applicant could ever become a company executive at a large enterprise. Sure, they could, but that road from Systems Administrator to CFO would be much less feasible than it would from your department. At some point, it’s just a numbers game.

Everyone wants to have potential in the workplace. As a growing small business, it’s imperative that you make this known to applicants. They’ll have a hard time turning it down.

An IT department is the skeleton of a business, and the employees are the vital organs. You want to have a fundamentally sound technology team to help the flow of your operations. It starts with hiring the right employees to manage your systems, and these are some points of advice to start with.

About the author: Adam Kinsey writes about technology and leadership in business.

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