The other day, I created a post with my opinion that there’s no actual industry shortage of consultants to work on LabWare projects. Additionally, I happened to see that the job site InDeed is giving a webinar to discuss the hiring mismatch between where people are and where companies look (Indeed Hiring Lab: Beyond the Talent Shortage: How Tech Candidates Search for Jobs). Yet, for those customers who can’t find someone, that doesn’t help them. Here are five suggestions:
- Look outside your region. Consultants now come from all over the world and don’t require expensive travel overhead. Make sure your corporate VPN is properly working and look past your region. Most of us have not only been on projects all over our own countries but also in countries far, far away, and without leaving our office very often. While you do need to consider issues such as language and timezone differences, this is not unusual, any longer. Plus, while one region seems to have a high demand for consultants, other areas aren’t necessarily in the same situation.
- Don’t be cheap. You have a choice – you can find a variety of people or you can pay a rate lower than what the rest of the market is paying. By the way, paying cheap rates, overall, doesn’t save money. If most of the resources in the industry are making $100/hour, don’t plan that offering $50/hour will find many people (if any) nor that anyone that you might find would necessarily be particularly productive. There are times when people will cut you a deal when they’re desperate, want to stay in their own area, think they have a chance at getting a permanent job with your company, or for other reasons. However, there is almost always a good reason why a person is really inexpensive. It could be a deal they are striking with you -or- they could be really terrible.
- Make requirements clear and flexible. If you write a requisition for services, be clear about what you need. Make it clear which skills are absolutely required and which ones are just “nice to have.” If you don’t understand the skills you’re looking for or don’t know the product well, you should probably list most everything as “nice to have.” It’s fairly common to see requisitions that are asking for things that are strange to be asking because whomever wrote it didn’t know enough about what the needs were.
- Be generous with the information about your needs. Don’t make service requisitions terribly long but be generous with non-technical details about the work is being done. It’s important to tell what time zone it is located in, for example. Include what percentage of work you expect should be done on-site or, if you’re not certain, give an example and indicate that it’s a talking point. Indicate how many hours per week you think you need or, if it’s flexible and you’re not certain, give what you think is a reasonable average and indicate that it’s a talking point. Actually, it’s a common problem that the product being implemented isn’t even mentioned. Some people won’t even respond if they don’t see a product name listed.
- Don’t wait. The “rush” periods that occur in busy years bring everyone needing resources to ask at about the same week, sometimes within the same few days. I’m totally serious about this! It’s odd, no-one knows why, and it just happens. If you have any inkling you need people, start looking ahead of time. Even if you’re not quite ready, you can get some ideas about where to find resources and what they can offer. Then, when you’re ready you can start narrowing it down to the specific resources you need and move forward to grab them more quickly than others who weren’t prepared would be able to do.
One more tip – be somewhat cautious about whether the people you’re finding will be a good fit for your needs. I see people searching quite frequently among blog topics regarding whether consultants can leave projects if they’re not happy with the projects. Yes, they can and they will. Additionally, people are most productive when they’re a good fit – higher productivity means true savings for those of you who are money-conscious.