Tech Talent Grocery Games

So you’re shopping around for new IT talent. Did you remember to make a shopping list? Yes? Well take another look at it in a second. The last thing you want to do is make a bad hiring decision. Normally, hiring takes around 56 days, and a bad hire can cost you 30% of your new employee’s first-year potential earnings.

Let’s take a look at that list again. Are you sure the things on your list are what you need? Forget about skills, knowledge, and personal traits for a second—I’m asking about whether or not you’ve thought about your project timeline, workload, and budget. These factors should help you decide if you should go with short-term contracted developers, offshore developers, or full-time employees.

Think about your potential employees in terms of short, medium, and long shelf-life. Get your list and grocery cart ready.

Say you’re hiring for a short-term project…

Wheel your cart over to the produce section and pick yourself out a freelancer. Freelancers have a short shelf-life, yet they make a great addition if the recipe calls for it. Shop in a place that’s well stocked with plenty to choose from. If you know what you’re doing in an interview, then this process will be quick and easy. Let’s say you need a peach for web design—give a peach a squeeze; a banana for mobile apps—make sure it’s not too green; a sack of potatoes for whatever you need—they’re very versatile and great at carrying flavor. Toss whatever you want in your cart and you’re done in a flash.

Ok, so what if you’re looking for something that will last for more than one meal?

Offshore developers are a great option for medium-length projects. They can be found in the dairy aisle. This process might take a little more time than the produce section. It’s hard to mistake an apple for an onion; however, most dairy tends to look the same. If you get the wrong kind of milk or the wrong type of cheese, then your meal could be ruined. Brie isn’t good in lasagna, and heavy whipping cream doesn’t belong on cereal. Take time to read the names on the labels and check your eggs to make sure none are broken. Some dairy foods have a short shelf-life, but many can last months. Offshore developers are the same, and will stay with your company as long or short as you want them to.

What if you’re in it for the long haul? Let’s stock your pantry.

When you’re hiring full-time staff, think about the building blocks of your project and how you need it to run. These are the staples of your pantry. You need oil, rice, beans, etc. A pantry is meant to sustain you, so make sure not to forget anything as you build your team. Take careful time as you weave through the aisles. Customize. Read ingredient labels. This will take the longest out of your shopping trip, but a good pantry will make all the difference for your ongoing projects.

Now, let’s talk scope and budget.

Regardless of workload, a freelancer is going to be a quick, hire-when-you-need type of situation. But let’s say that your apple is rotten at his job. Toss that apple in the trash and get a new one. Revive a retired project and discover you don’t have any pears? One phone call can get you a replacement. Fresh produce might seem expensive when buying it, but this flexibility can save the company a lot of money in personnel costs in the long run. Just don’t buy too much fruit and you’ll be fine.

Offshore developers find themselves in the middle ground again. Maybe you bought some cheddar and now you feel like letting it age a bit. Offshore teams could be a temporary agreement for a few months, or you could hang onto them for a number of years. These teams will be cheaper because of lower annual salaries in other countries.

You’re not looking for project workers? We should return to the pantry then. There’s no hiding the fact that a pantry is a serious investment. Benefits, workers’ comp, insurance, and training are only some of the expenses that go into your team. But like I said, a well-stocked pantry can change your business for the better. The pantry is the reliable, sustaining force behind any kitchen. Your full time employees can work on many projects for years and years.

Some businesses have one of these elements, some two, and some all three. Before you hire, remember timeline, workload, and budget. Don’t buy one apple for a week’s worth of meals, and don’t buy a five-pound bag of rice for a dinner-for-two.

Also, don’t literally hire food. Most foods are unqualified.

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