Building High-Tech Talent, Buying Talent or Both?
By Joe Wong, Director of Recruiting, Time Warner Cable

According to recent employment reports, the availability of tech talent in the U.S. will remain at an increasing deficit as more employers are seeking people who have specific skills in high technology.   According to Wired Magazine’s March 2015 issue, “Businesses in the U.S are on a hiring spree, but jobs that require tech skills sit open — 500,000 in all.” The telecommunications, content and cable industries are not exempt from the ever-increasing demand for people with technical backgrounds and skill sets.  

Not unlike other high-tech industries, telecom, cable and content providers face the same ongoing challenges when finding skilled workers and are implementing programs to introduce more people to technical career paths to address the expanding need for capable technologists.

The key tenant of recruiting, regardless of industry, assumes that a company will have to be positioned to attract skilled talent, as well as sustain a robust training program for entry-level employees.  As HR and recruiting groups address these openings, we are faced with implementing recruiting strategies and programs that enable us to buy highly skilled talent from our competitors.  Concurrently, we have to set up programs and partnerships to be able to identify, hire, train and build the needed capabilities for sustaining future growth and expansion.

Caveat Emptor or Let the Buyer Beware!
Buying tech talent, or in more recruitment friendly language, talent acquisition, is often associated with professionals who are already knowledgeable and established in their careers.  Generally, buying tech talent is associated with greater compensation ranges and longer time-to-fill cycles, which is a linear relationship with the level of seniority of the vacancy.  Recruitment, HR and the business have to work in a constructive ecosystem that enables and encourages the perspective employees to say yes when tendered an offer.  Recruitment has to have the tools to identify and find these increasingly difficult-to-find people.  Further, HR and the business have to establish a compatible and compelling culture and develop good leaders to retain, recognize and leverage the value of a seasoned pro.

Building for the Future
Building talent pools takes on many names in the corporate world, whether it is university, intern, freelance or associates.  The people in this category are more widely available than the seasoned professionals.  Often, recruitment strategies and tactics are implemented concurrently and run indefinitely.  Again, the importance of the intra-HR work to establish a learning culture, finding the best talent and promoting leadership and mentorship reveals itself.

Let’s Build AND Buy!
Many organizations have evolved to conduct both of the same functions at once.  Companies aspire to fill senior-level positions, whether the jobs are filled by recruiter-employees internally, or leveraging boutique agencies to assist them in the task.  Concurrently, they task themselves with filling the higher volume roles with recruiters, contractors, outsourcers or a combination of the three.  Generally, most recruitment functions closely examine how many full-time spots they can fill internally and address any overages by hiring outsourcing companies or contractors to fill in the necessary voids.  Understanding where the time is spent and which functions have scalability is one of the keys to a blended build/buy recruitment strategy.

If this article interested you, you can gain additional practical knowledge on the topic by attending CTHRA’s Future Forward HR Symposium on November 3 in Philadelphia. Joe Wong will be joined by a panel of industry technical and HR/recruitment leaders who will share lessons learned and proven strategies to recruit high-tech talent. Register now!
HR Pulse is a bi-monthly resource published exclusively for the members of the Cable and Telecommunications Human Resources Association.

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