The light at the end of the tunnel remains dim for many recruitment professionals. In fact, 83% of HR pros said they had difficulty recruiting suitable job candidates in the last 12 months, according to SHRM’s The Skills Gap 2019 report. 

In many cases, this is a result of a widening skills gap. Respondents (52%) in the SHRM report say the skills gap has actually worsened in the past two years. The reality of the skills gap is especially challenging for recruiters looking for talent to fill technical roles, like IT. 

One of the biggest overall issues for HR pros (35%) is that talent doesn’t have the right technical skills. For recruiters in the IT space, technical skills aren’t an option — they’re a must. But the job market continues to prove these candidates are tough to find and the skills gap isn’t going to close itself. 

The good news is, there are talented professionals out there with the technical skills your clients need. The trick is using the most effective tools to source them and proactive strategies to keep them in your funnel. 

Here are five tips to help you put a dent in the IT skills gap: 

1. Stay in control with third-party vendor management

There are various aspects of your control in IT recruitment. So, when you have the opportunity to take charge of a piece of your strategy, it’s important to do so. 

Third-party vendor management systems put you in the driver’s seat of your IT recruitment processes. As an extension of your team, third-party vendors bring more qualified IT candidates to your desk. Then, your management system allows you to remain in control of your newly optimized-ready talent pool. Both candidates and vendors are organized while ongoing tracking data keeps you informed on which vendors are performing well for you and which aren’t. 

The transparent data provided by third-party vendor management systems give you the visibility needed to truly remain in control of vendor relations. This helps build relationships and, in return, vendors gain a clearer picture of your expectations when it comes to top IT talent. 

2. Focus on mission, vision, and values

A recently released TINYpulse report revealed nearly 75% of IT professionals say they don’t know their company’s mission, vision, or values. It’s a well-known fact that a strong connection to all three of these company factors is directly related to employee engagement, satisfaction, and overall retention. 

In recruitment, it’s likely this lack of connection also stops candidates from digging deeper into your or your clients’ opportunities. 

Stop recruiting solely to fill a gap in skills or make a placement to earn commission. Instead, give candidates a glimpse into the company’s mission, vision, and values to kick-start a relationship between them and the company from the get-go. 

Review what’s most important to your ideal IT candidate. For example, a 2019 IBM survey found 74% of tech employees want a choice of work location and another 74% want tools to work anywhere. Additionally, a mere 26% of IT respondents in the TINYpulse report feel they have a strong opportunity for professional growth.

If you find your own ideal candidates desire their choice of work location and tools to work from anywhere, highlight company values for employees to excel in both work and life. Showcase employees who take advantage of these values through flexible work arrangements on social media and career sites to deepen the connection.

3. Strategize redeployment efforts

Redeployment is quickly rising to a top IT recruitment strategy. The success of redeployment for staffing firms revolves specifically around recruiters being proactive by lining-up a new role for contractors before their current projects end.

In some cases, this may mean aligning contractors with new roles in the current company or with another client before the end of their current contracts. Another way to utilize talent you’ve previously vetted is by focusing on those already in your ATS. The most efficient way to accomplish both is by relying on your data. Track candidates based on their soft skills and technical skills. And be sure to detail why they weren’t the right fit for a specific role or client and where you feel they’d fit perfectly should a role open up to streamline future processes.