Posts Tagged ‘Software Development Life Cycle’

Have you ever heard the old adage, “the plumbers are always the ones with the leaky faucets?”  Have you ever hired an Executive Search Firm/Staffing Company to help you find your talent and realize that you’ve been introduced to 4 different Account Executives/Recruiters in the last 4 consecutive quarters?  If I were to put myself in the client’s shoes, I would be asking myself, “How is this company going to help me protect key domain knowledge when they can’t protect their own?”

The Staffing and Recruiting industry is one of the top victims of high employee turnover, for numerous reasons.  In a world filled with non-compete clauses, staffing organizations are often forced to hire young, new employees that lack the required experience — specific to their industry and their respective verticals — in order to be successful and efficiently grow and effectively serve their client-base.

Every company that I work with that is proud to boast of a low-turnover rate has two things in common:

1) They recognize top talent

2) They pay for top talent

As IT staffing professionals, we are constantly preaching compensation best-practices to our clients in order to help them understand what they need to pay technical employees in order to reduce turnover and protect key domain knowledge.

In a world that has been tyrannized by Social Media and Web 2.0, you can bet your bottom dollar that your clients are paying just as much attention to your internal turnover and your LinkedIn profile as you are to theirs.

Take the time to align your internal practices with the ones that you preach to your customers, and protect both of your best interests.


Whether you’re a small start up or an enterprise organization, creating a short-term and and long-term “Corporate Recruiting Strategy” is essential to any business.  Take a minute to read Why Your Recruiting Strategy Matters.  What’s even more important, is to recognize that as our economy and the talent market ebb and flow, the need to revisit this strategy every quarter is imperative.  Two years ago, amidst massive layoffs, scraping job boards may have done the trick.  However, we’ve reached a point where, depending on industry and vertical, the most talented individuals are currently working and are considered “passive candidates.”  Reaching across numerous resources and leveraging Social Media 2.0 best practices and methodologies are a must in order to meet both of your short-term and long-term strategies.

If you don’t have the internal resources or skill sets in your company to implement these strategies, I highly suggest that you hire a third party organization that does to help streamline your hiring process.  Don’t settle for anything less than “A” talent.

I get asked on a daily basis, “Why you? What do you do different than our current IT staffing vendors.”  The truth is that there are a minimum of 35 companies in any metropolitan area that “specialize” in IT Staffing.  I’m not going to “knock” any companies in particular–we all have plenty of reasons about why we think we’re better and different–ranging from the cost of our services to the guarantee of our services to the fact that we “specialize in IT”.

What does “specializing in IT” really mean though.  Does it mean that that’s the only vertical you work with, or does it mean that you actually have a deep understanding of technology within your company?  As all 35 of us fight to explain what makes us so different, we must all realize that the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)  serves as a phenomenal framework for executing any type of project (e.g. filling a job requisition), even if it has nothing to do with creating a software application.

There are five main phases of the SDLC:

1) Requirements gathering and analysis

2) System design

3) Development

4) System testing

5) Operations and maintenance (aka “Rollout”)

To answer my question above, a company that “specializes in IT” staffing is a company who’s Account Executive serves as the Project Manager of a job requisition and oversees the successful execution of all 5 phases of the SDLC in order to find, technically “vet”, and eventually place an “‘A’ Talent” candidate.

Any successful Project Manager understands that in order to successfully execute and rollout an application, 50% of the work needs to be done up front in the requirements gathering, analysis, and design phases.  What does this mean to an IT Staffing Account Executive?

It means that if you can get over the fact that you finally just received a job requisition that you might make a commission on and take the time to sit down with the hiring manager and ask what all of those silly acronyms mean and spend the time to understand what every requirement is, how important each requirement is, and what pain is causing someone to hire this person–you’ll be one step ahead of your other competitors that “specialize in IT.”  It’s also important to remember that if you do not have an understanding of these crucial requirements and the importance of them, that you are asking potential candidates the wrong questions.  So now you’re really two steps ahead…

Moving on to the System Design phase, once the appropriate time has been spent to gather and understand the requirements, it is important to determine how you are going to effectively manage your recruiting team in order to execute the “project” and source and evaluate candidates in order to find “‘A’ Talent”.  Who is going to hit the job boards?  Who is going to leverage their LinkedIn network?  Who is going to pick up the phone and head hunt out of the competition?  What are we going to do to make sure these candidates can do what they say they can do?  Do we ask them questions that we don’t know the answer to or do we hire people that do know the answer to do that for us?  By the way, if your answer is “we can just search the job boards”, then you might as well have all of the requirements wrong and forget about it.  This is not 2009 anymore, and candidates with strong skill sets in the IT world do not have a shelf-life like they did a year and a half ago.  Strong developers, analysts, project managers, IT executives, etc. NEED TO BE HEADHUNTED.  Headhunting is an art and I could write a whole additional blog on this. (But that will have to wait until next week).

If the quasi-Project Manager/Account Executive spends the appropriate time on the front end in the first two phases of the SDLC, the next two steps are smooth sailing!  The Development Phase is the search itself, and the Systems Testing phase is whatever you do to “vet” your talent.  As a hiring manager, I would be extremely inquisitive with your current selected IT Staffing vendors as to what they do in this Systems Testing phase.  Although there may be 35 of us out there, I guarantee only 3-5 of us are both administering technical test, evaluations, and interviewing engineers with engineers and project managers with projects manager and….well…you get the idea.

Finally, the Operations and Maintenance phase–ROLLOUT!  As a Project Manager, you must do what virtually every other Account Executive forgets to…stop counting your commissions and follow up with both the hiring manager and the placed candidate to make sure that both parties are happy and that each other’s expectations are being met and will continue to be met.  The last thing you want to have to do is a) listen to a client tell you that they missed a deadline because said-candidate stormed off unhappy or weren’t properly “vetted” OR, b) exercise your “unbelievable guarantee” that you used as a selling point but hoped to never honor.

To make a short blog long–whether you’re a hiring manager tired of interviewing poorly qualified candidates and trying to find a new vendor or a staffing company looking to improve your processes–follow the framework that the SDLC provides us, and spend the right time in the right phases, and you’ll likely be able to answer the “Why, you?” question a lot better next time, and turn a hiring manager from a one-time customer into a career-long advocate.