5 Things Impacting Your IT Job Search Right Now

The unemployment rate in technology is running well below the national average – 3.5 percent during 2013’s fourth quarter — and employers regularly complain that there are too few candidates available for too many IT jobs. That’s good. But it doesn’t mean you can approach your job search cavalierly. In any environment, it’s important to understand the dynamics at work so you can position yourself in the best way possible. Here are five dynamics of today’s tech job market you should understand.

job searchCompanies Are Focusing on New Technologies for Growth

It’s critical that tech professionals keep up with new technologies and update their skills appropriately. “The No. 1 thing that impacts a job search is having good experience with the newer technologies,” says Lincoln Stalnaker, director of technology recruiting for the Seattle Search Group. As examples, he cites Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure.

Businesses Need People Who Can Communicate

Communication skill is another area that can impact your search, says Dino Grigorakakis, vice president of recruiting for Randstad Technologies’ Philadelphia, Pa., office. “Communication skills are important because business people have needs and IT people must be able to communicate so that they can fulfill the IT requirements of the given business,” he says.

Experience in Multiple Languages is Expected

Both Grigorakakis and Stalnaker point to the importance of knowing multiple programming languages and having a variety of up-to-date skills. “In the current job market, you need to do more than one thing. You can be systems engineer but also write SQL code,” says Stalnaker. “The more you can do, the more valuable you are. I had one person turned down from a job offer because he could not do middle-tier, so the company would have had to hire two people,” one to do front end, the other to handle middle tier.

Personal Websites Are Used to Source Candidates

Engineers and other tech professionals who fail to create a website with links to their coding projects, resume and social network profiles may be losing out to others who do, says Roger King, founder and CEO of IT recruiting firm Chief People in Sausalito, Calif. “I’m seeing more and more candidates who maintain a personal website with updates to their resume, links to their (social media) profiles, etc. These candidates often have an advantage over those who might send in a resume without so much as a cover letter.”

King adds that in today’s market, employers are largely looking for people with very specific skill sets, and candidates sell themselves short if they haven’t included all of their relevant experience in their materials.

Job Seekers Are Receiving Multiple Job Offers

This one’s a great problem to have. While most of the trends recruiters list can hurt a candidate’s prospects, here’s the great exception. However, as great as multiple offers can be, they have to be managed properly.

“When reviewing multiple job offers, ask yourself what you’re looking for,” says King. “Do you want advancement, a chance to learn new things, a shorter commute? Also, it’s important to consider what you enjoy and don’t enjoy about your current job.”

Stalnaker advises candidates in this situation to look out five years and consider what they want their career to be at that point. Doing that will help you decide which offer is the most attractive.

“Are you willing to work 40-, 50-, 60-hour work weeks?” he asks. “If not, the offer from a more mature company may be more appealing. It will have less fire drills.”

On the other hand, he notes, “people who are starting off in their careers may want to work at smaller companies where there are more opportunities for growth, more impact and more visibility to grow their management skills and be more marketable for the next opportunity.”

11 Responses to “5 Things Impacting Your IT Job Search Right Now”

  1. Fred Bosick

    “…You can be systems engineer but also write SQL code,” says Stalnaker. “The more you can do, the more valuable you are. I had one person turned down from a job offer because he could not do middle-tier, so the company would have had to hire two people,” one to do front end, the other to handle middle tier.”

    That’s because they *were* two jobs! These two tasks attract IT professionals of different temperaments. An already established worker could pick it up in a pinch but not be as good in one who started down that path.

    Two or 3 disparate disciplines *do not* come prepackaged together in a candidate from the computer guy/gal tree. It’s as if Dilbert’s boss said, “It’s just computer stuff, right?”.


    Do they pay engineers or developers the salaries of CEO to be so versatile and master of all trades. Answer is no. I can clearly see many candidates getting burnt out in quest to satisfy the demands of employers of being one man show handling all the tasks single handedly doing work of 10 people. CEO and Managers enjoy by just showing that they have save company dollars by hiring a rock star but actual workers suffer.

  3. One of the biggest problems which I am seeing in my current job hunt is that companies are unwilling to hire entry-level employees at the moment. It was mentioned that “employers regularly complain that there are too few candidates available for too many IT jobs”, but the thing is, the workers are out there but the companies are only willing to look at those who are already fully trained and have years of experience. If they would bring on candidates fresh out of college, or in my case, someone who is making a career change and doesn’t have much work experience relevant to the position I ultimately want (though I do have the educational background), train them up the way that they want them trained, all while paying them an entry level salary, more qualified candidates would become available in the market and they would solve their own worker shortage problems. But instead, someone like myself who is a hard worker, has had nothing but outstanding reviews in my previous jobs, and is eager to learn new technologies can’t even get a call back after submitting a resume.

    • I am a recent graduate with a CS degree and this is exactly what is happening. I have been applying to everything I can find and cannot get an email or call back. The only response I get in fact is if I am immediately ruled out and have no chance of getting the job and only one company had the courtesy to do that (not saying they have to at all). It’s rare to find an entry/graduate title posting anywhere. Nearly every posting requires two or more year with a degree. BS or otherwise. How in the world can a person get experience without entry level starting position? Someone please explain that to me because I am lost.

  4. Sure, they say they want versatile, multi-talented people. But when HR sees that they do not know how to categorize such a person. If you can’t be pigeon-holed, HR will not bother. They’ll ask, what role can you fill, and expect you to say ‘analyst’ or something, but when you respond “manager, developer, QA, designer, architect, implementer, software engineer, DBA, tech lead, config. manager, network…and analyst” they’ll think “too much work, he doesn’t know what he wants” or “not qualified for anything specific” instead of “very experienced, high immediately!”
    I saw one ad not long ago for a system admin. that asked for someone that would also do coding, project management and hardware repair.

  5. This dynamic IT hiring process has its highs and lows where it is all about fit and how many skills match that opportunity. However, the HR departments out there that post have no idea what IT skills are really needed, they are a copy and paste bunch.
    Speaking to several recruiters where I was a finalist for a position, it always seems to me that future employers have way high expectations and looking for that “purple unicorn” instead. This expectation tends to wipe out the 90-95% of the qualified candidates and the employeer never gets the right person where desire to grow and learn within the culture is just as critical as the skillset.
    It’s great that you have several relevant skills to the position but having exact “fit” is unachievable because who goes to do the same thing from one job to another.

    You have to grow within any organization if you don’t, they re-organize you out of there.

  6. Companies are looking for cardiologist, dermatologist, gynecologist, psychologist, gastroenterologist, pharmacist and dentist, all-in-one. Good luck finding this employee.

  7. I am a very flexible EE with many years experience, now in the job market. Employers seem to be looking for deep experience in one area, from what I have seen so far flexibility does not seem to be highly valued. Indeed, my experience across many disciplines seems to be working against me as time spent in one area is considered as ‘lost experience’ in another.

  8. “and employers regularly complain that there are too few candidates available for too many IT jobs.” Not true. “Job Seekers Are Receiving Multiple Job Offers”. Also not true. The job market is fierce. Good luck getting experience on every new fad out there. And “personal websites”? Are you kidding? There’s more to life than IT.