Looking to hire IT talent? Write a good job description

I had lunch on Friday with the recruiter who placed me at my current gig. We talked about a lot of things, including our families, but we talked a lot about the tech labor market. It’s growing, finally, and going to grow a lot more in the next few years as Boeing relocates its IT operations to St. Louis, but the market still isn’t what I’d grown used to it being over the last seven years.

One problem he runs into is with clients. They’ll submit jobs that, for example, I’m a perfect match for, and he submits me, and we get no call. Then he follows up weeks or months later, and finds out something completely different.

The most blatant example was a generic job posting for a someone with a CISSP and knowledge of NIST 800-53. People like that are easy enough to find around here, with the number of government clients in the area. He submitted me, and nothing.

Later, it turned out they wanted a Flash developer with a CISSP and a security focus.

“Goo-ood luck!” I snorted.

He just laughed. Maybe Mr. or Ms. Flash Developer, CISSP, exists, but they sure aren’t going to find each other if the employer asks for the wrong thing.

Just throwing a job description out into the wind isn’t going to cut it. You’ll get flooded with irrelevant resumes, and, even worse, the right resume might be in that flood somewhere, but it’ll be a lot easier to miss because it’s in the middle of a pile of people who aren’t what you’re looking for.

So, seriously. Take ten minutes, jot down some job responsibilities and qualifications, then put that through your talent acquisition process.

It works. I’m in a shop now that’s extremely specific and selective about who they hire. It takes a lot of time, but I’m surrounded by 20 of the 22 best, most talented people I’ve ever worked with. I’m not exaggerating. The place isn’t perfect or problem-free, but it has a Crackerjack security team.

Building a team like that starts with knowing what you want, and communicating it in the job description.

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