The IT job market has been so strong now for over 15 months, and it looks like it will continue to be strong in 2015\/2016. Organizations across the country are expected to continue to increase their staff, from help desk to desktop support and especially in areas such as system administrators, network engineers, DBAs, and developers. The demand has been enormous, so the candidate pool for skilled labor is shrinking\u2014as organizations expand the IT departments. How, then, can your organization attract the right candidates for your open positions? Read on for our five tips to meeting your growing IT requirements in a competitive hiring environment.\u00a0\nThere is a world of truth when someone says, \u201cAll the good people are working.\u201d Simply having a job opening is no longer sufficient for attracting top talent. For example, for every network engineer position posted in a city, there is an average of 80 or more positions just like it. Your organization needs strong employee branding and attractive reasons why candidates should choose you over the other 80. Here\u2019s how you can stand out.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\n1. Offer competitive benefits, including non-tangible extras. Salary and traditional benefits (health insurance, 401k, etc.) can be top motivators, but they\u2019re not the only draw. A good place to start is to offer a competitive salary upfront and budget for relocation packages and\/or sign-on bonuses if needed. But other factors such as strong leadership, flexible work schedules, and exposure to new\/advanced technologies are also at the top of the list. Organizations need to be smarter than ever when competing for IT talent.\n2. Ensure your company branding has a strong story. Prospective employees will investigate and research an organization just as much as employers research an employee during the on-boarding process. How aware are you of your organization\u2019s hiring reputation? We recommend monitoring your online reputation, perusing employee reviews, and taking a proactive role in responding to any negative postings. Make sure your organization stands out.\n3. Don\u2019t procrastinate! The time to hire for skilled IT talent is a small window. Candidates who are actively interviewing will have offers within 1\u20132 weeks of their interview schedules. To be considered, it is important that your company accelerate the hiring process and extend offers quickly.\n4. Consider training a candidate to be your perfect fit. As the market tightens, it becomes more and more difficult to attract a candidate with every single skill the position requires. If you find someone with 90% of the skills you need, who fits with your organization\u2019s culture, consider it a success. I\u2019ve seen companies have great success in hiring that type of candidate. In the same amount of time you might spend to find the 100% perfect candidate, your 90% find can be brought up to speed, not only saving you time, but also costs and productivity losses. Think of what you\u2019ll lose the longer the position remains empty. What is the true cost of lost time and unfilled obligations?\n5. Hire a consultant while you search for the right senior level candidate. For high level positions in the technology sector, it can take a company an average of 90\u2013120 days to find the right fit. That\u2019s a long gap, and the question looms of, \u201cHow will the work continue to get done?\u201d Not only that, but any full-time candidates might wonder why the position was left open for a significant period of time. During the search for a permanent hire, it\u2019s smart to backfill the position with a consultant. A consultant satisfies the position until you find the right permanent fit, ensuring your permanent hire can step seamlessly into the new role without. What you get from a contract candidate is someone who enjoys working in different environments, new technologies, and cultures for a period of time to assist and bridge the gap. The benefits for this vast and diverse amount of experience are numerous, and your entire organization will be able to function efficiently\u2014while the search continues for a permanent fit.\nIt\u2019s not easy out there, but we can help provide the skillset expertise to get you back up and running\u2014with a shorter time to hire gap.