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The Ultimate Guide to IT Recruitment

Date: Wednesday 7 February 2024
Employers 4 minute read
The Ultimate Guide to IT Recruitment


Are you struggling to find the right IT talent for your company? Do you want to optimize your hiring process and avoid common mistakes? Look no further than the Ultimate Guide for IT Recruitment! This blog post guides you through the six steps of IT recruitment, sharing expert advice on finding, evaluating, and hiring top IT talent. Whether you are a startup, a scale-up, or an established enterprise, this guide will help you navigate the complex and competitive IT market with confidence and efficiency.

Additionally, the post teaches you how to lower vacancy costs, the losses from unfilled positions. Our strategies will help you quickly and effectively fill IT roles, saving resources and enhancing productivity and reputation.

How much does an open role cost your company?

Before we dive into the details of each stage of IT Recruitment, let's take a moment to consider the cost of vacancy in IT roles. How much does an open role cost you?

According to industry data the average Time-to-hire for a vacant role is 36 days. However, this can easily triple or even quadruple for highly technical roles in IT. The financial cost of having an unfilled role (known as Cost of Vacancy) can be calculated by multiplying the associated salary by 3 (generally considered the value of an employee’s yearly output) and divided by 220 (average working days in the year). 
For example, if the COV of a position with a salary of €65,000 is €886 per day. If it takes the average 36 days, the cost to the company is almost €32,000. This does not include advertising costs, recruitment agency fees or billable hours of senior staff for interviewing!

So how can employers reduce the time-to-hire and keep COV low?
Ensuring stakeholder engagement and adhering to clearly defined processes across the IT Recruitment Lifecycle can help avoid a slow hiring process.

What is the Recruitment Life Cycle?

The recruitment life cycle is the process of hiring an employee. It often begins when an existing employee resigns and is only complete when a new employee has passed probation. Both Indeed and LinkedIn, agree that there are 6 stages in the Recruitment Process Lifecycle.

Infographic with 6 steps to IT Recruitment Lifecycle

1. Preparing

Identify the requirement

This is the responsibility of the Hiring Manager and often involves their Line Manager from a strategy perspective.
The following should be considered:

•    Is this vacancy a result of growth or are you backfilling a position?
•    Will the position be a contract or permeant position?
•    What technical skills are needed?
•    What soft skills are needed?
•    What’s the budget?
•    Can this role be worked remotely?

Prepare a Job Specifications

•    This stage can take a couple of days to a couple of weeks and should be a joint venture between the Line Manager (who understands the technical requirements) and HR/Recruiter (who can sell the opportunity)
•    This is not simply a “shopping list” of things you want but should also help to “sell” the company so include things like company benefits, industry awards and clearly defined duties
•    If the Job Spec is too broad or aspirational it will frighten potential candidates. It’s better to cast a wide net and consider candidates with potential to develop in areas of inexperience.

2. Sourcing 

This is the process of identifying and engaging suitable candidates and is conducted by a TA team or Recruiter.
It can take days (utilising existing talent pipelines and referrals) or months (if you are trying to hire someone with an in-demand skill set such IT Security Consultant or Software Architect).
In any case you should have a Talent Acquisition strategy in place. This is the responsibility of the HR and Recruitment team who will liaise with individual Hiring Managers.

The strategy should consider the following:
•    Where to advertise?
•    Who will process the candidates?
•    Is there a defined budget as advertising slots, licenses and agency fees can be expensive?

For high-end IT roles advertising only occasionally works and suitable candidates will need to be pro-actively sourced. The following are the main channels for this:
•    Internal promotion
•    Employee referrals
•    Online databases such as LinkedIn

3. Screening

Once a suitable candidate has been identified they will need to be assessed.
Initial assessments are usually conducted by a Recruiter. At this juncture the candidates’ expectations in terms of salary, benefits and availability should be established.

The Recruiter should be aware of minimum requirements and disqualify unsuitable candidates accordingly. These can include certain technical skills, ability to communicate effectively or salary demands which are over-budget for the role in question.

4. Selecting

This is the most important stage of the Recruitment Lifecycle process and is the responsibility of the Hiring Manager who may be supported by HR and Talent Acquisition teams.
In most cases this is a two or three stage process which includes a technical interview/assessment followed by a competency-based interview to better assess soft skills (often conducted by HR team).

The following should be considered:
•    Does the candidate possess the required skills?
•    If there are technical gaps, can they be addressed and if so, how quickly? Is the candidate happy to upskill?
•    Will the candidate suit the culture?

5. Hiring

This is often the most difficult stage and needs to be managed carefully as many factors can result in an unsuccessful process including a delay in financial approval / PO for the role or changes in the candidates’ expectations.
This stage is the responsibility of many stakeholders including HR, Recruiter, Finance, Hiring Manager and Senior Management / C-suite (if budgets need to be increased).

The following should be considered:
•    Is the Financial Approval in place?
•    How quickly can we issue a contract?
•    Does the candidate have other Offers from competitors?
•    Is there scope to increase the offer if necessary?
•    Will the candidate receive a counteroffer from their employer? (Almost certainly yes)
•    Are we willing to wait longer than expected if the candidate requests additional time before starting?
•    Should Reference Checks be completed before or after the Offer?

6. Onboarding

The candidate has accepted the Job Offer and looks forward to joining your company. However, until they do there is a danger that a competitor will entice them away. It’s important to issue a contract promptly and ensure that you keep in touch with the candidate until the start date.
On their first day you should have a plan in place to ensure they feel prepared and welcomed. All equipment and systems access should be in place.
Set clear expectations around deliverables and milestones which should be met during the probation period.
You should have regular “check-ins” to ensure the role is meeting the expectations of your new hire. Often, I am contacted by candidates leaving a role within the first 6 months stating that it was not as advertised.


In the fast-paced world of technology, the art of IT recruitment is a critical skill. By adopting the six stages of the IT Recruitment Lifecycle, you can efficiently identify and secure the best talent. This not only minimises the Cost of Vacancy but also positions your company as a desirable destination for top IT professionals. For those eager to delve deeper, our related blogs offer valuable insights on strategies for attracting top IT contractors and the benefits of choosing between contractors and in-house staff.

If you're ready to take your IT recruitment to the next level, don't hesitate to contact our expert recruiters. Together, we can tailor a recruitment strategy that aligns with your company's unique needs and goals, paving the way for a robust and innovative IT team.

Contact us today!

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