If you need to hire IT people, you have a few options to fill the IT needs of your company. There are three main capacities in which to hire the help you need: hire IT contractors from a staffing agency, independent IT contractors, or of permanent employees. Let’s look at some major benefits and drawbacks for each option.
Hiring a Managed IT Company
When you hire through a managed IT firm, you’re hiring the services of an agency for the exact kind of IT work that you need to be covered. They often operate remotely, but some can arrange for key personnel to work on-site at your company, too.
Benefits of a Managed IT Company
Contracting with a managed IT company provides tremendous flexibility to customize the cost and coverage of your IT services. It’s easy to source an expert in IT areas such as cyber security or disaster recovery, for example, if that is all you need at the moment. Then, it’s easy to expand service coverage to other areas like cloud management services as the needs of your business evolve. In place of hiring more IT people, your managed agency will assign additional staff to your account.
A managed IT company draws from a deeper pool of collective experience, and has greater access to additional resources than individual staff. Because you’re not working with individuals, there are no personnel to manage or train. The services they provide are available around the clock, 24/7.
Drawbacks of a Managed IT Company
Due to the scale of managed IT firms, communication with them typically takes place at a slower pace. They may not be able to respond to and address small tasks quite as quickly. Because they primarily work off-site, they may have a longer learning curve for getting to know your company and settling into their exact niche.
IT staffing agencies help you hire IT people by offering specialists from nearly every area of the field. Some offer temporary workers, some provide permanent ones, and some offer both.
Benefits of Agency Contractors
Whether you need permanent or temporary workers, a staffing agency can make the hiring process more efficient. Because they meticulously select workers based on credentials and experience, personal interviews, career goals, skill tests, and even personality tests, they can truncate the hiring process, allowing you to choose from top candidates from the start.
Staffing agencies can also save time — and increase your chances of hiring the best of the best available — by making strategic recommendations for your needs. What could have turned into a variety show of applicants is instead a short list of candidates. If you need to hire permanent staff, but you initially prefer to hire them as contractors to see how they perform, an agency can even provide workers who are happy to be in that exact situation.
Drawbacks of Agency Contractors
You ultimately pay for both the service of the agency and the staff supplied. That may not sit well conceptually, but it isn’t financial double-dipping. The time and effort you save by evaluating only the best candidates from the get-go more than earns the agency is a factor of consideration. More concerning is whether the agency influences the compensation its personnel receive. If so, expect to stand on a financial middleground, where clients and contract workers meet. Your cost may be more than you want to pay, and less than the person you hire wants to receive.
You could view it as a form of cost control that spares you a lengthy negotiation process and expedites the activation of the work contract. Conversely, it may mean you lack the leverage to hire IT people with offers that are low by industry standards, yet meet your definition of fair pay.
The IT industry grows at a pace that prevents it from oversaturating with new job seekers. Independent contractors can usually find work with relative ease, which helps explain why so many IT specialists choose to make a career out of contractual employment.
Benefits of Independent Contractors
Contractors from a staffing agency may have credentials, skills, and personal traits that have been vetted and examined under a microscope, but this isn’t something all companies consider worth paying for. Some want to handle the quality control of the hiring process, and if they only need temporary help, they may also opt to hire IT contractors independently to have greater control over payroll during negotiations.
In addition, when you hire someone to a contract that only lasts a few weeks or months, there is less at stake than if you hired them permanently. Is it a deal breaker if the team member doesn’t fit seamlessly with company culture? Must they possess top talent that sharpens a competitive edge, when temporary proficiency is all that’s really needed?
Many companies are realistic and say no. They hire IT contractors quickly, get the service they need for a competitive price, and don’t sweat what they see as the small stuff, such as whether a worker is a great communicator, or has a sense of humor that silences water cooler banter. What might seem to be mountains of trouble in a permanent employee can be viewed molehills of temporary inconvenience.
Drawbacks of Independent Contractors
Even if the role of the contractor is notably short-term and clear cut, someone who isn’t working out can make the shortest of contracts feel like years. The strategies staffing agencies use to select the best people for employment start to seem worth paying for, and in short order. The point isn’t to be leery of independent contractors, but too wary when hiring anyone, which is easily forgotten when a primary goal for the contract is cost cutting.
Another potential drawback is that, if you independently contract with an awesome worker, and you end up wanting to make them a permanent fixture, you may need to make a truly lucrative offer to seal the deal. Independent contractors tend to relish the financial autonomy of choosing which contracts to sign. If you have any notion of making a temporary worker permanent, hiring them through a staffing agency is likely to be the best option.
Your company almost certainly has some permanent employees, so you know what it involves to hire IT people for keeps. Or do you? If this will be your first time to hire IT people, it’s important to understand what a person in this particular field likely wants and expects from a position that asks them to grow roots.
Benefits of Permanent Employees
Many IT staff start with a mid-range range salary, which gradually climbs to near the six-figure mark, or cracks it. If you want someone to be a lifer, such a salary structure will help. Regular raises that build toward enviable top pay help keep staff from feeling undervalued, which helps deter job hopping. Plus, employees who feel valued tend to radiate good morale.
When a worker’s specialty is ideal for in-house work, the situation is even better. For example, networking specialists do a considerable amount of onsite work: deploying, reconfiguring, migrating, and then performing maintenance on everything involved. The person is likely to be versatile enough to handle some other IT needs, too. Hiring them full-time can be sensible.
To hire IT people for the long haul is also beneficial because they are often the ones who work closest with a company’s most valuable asset: data that is critical for business continuity. Contractors can sign confidentiality agreements, but most companies understandably place greater confidence in permanent staff they know personally.
Drawbacks of Permanent Employees
If you hire IT people who are in strong demand, it can become financially demanding to keep competitors from attracting them. Often, the person isn’t snooping for new jobs. They simply have a resume on a job board, or they may get noticed on LinkedIn. Suddenly, they have an offer that’s 25k above their salary — and you may already pay them top compensation. Do you match the offer? What if the competitor returns with an even richer counteroffer? The scenario isn’t rare.
Because industries at large rely on digital resources like fish depend on water, IT is perhaps the most “business critical” industry for the business success of all other industries. It explains why the industry is still growing fast, why gainful pay permeates the ranks instead of sitting mostly at the top, and why companies that have the budget to do so don’t hesitate to hire IT people for more than Indeed.com indicates they should earn on the high end.
If you lose a longstanding IT specialist to the lure of lucre, you probably won’t have a problem finding a replacement. But if it happens repetitively, it can start to feel like you hire IT contractors, not workers you wouldn’t mind employing until their Medicare benefits kick in.
Making the Best Decision
If you need to hire IT people, this exploration of the ways in which you can hire them will hopefully provide some added insight. For more information on how to hire the right IT people for your needs, contact NIC today to schedule a consultation.