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Attn Recruiters: Why Aren’t You Partnering?

Got a question for all you Recruiters out there. Why aren’t you partnering? I ask simply because I think the IT industry is changing and, as a result, I think the Recruiting field is going to have to change.

Bear me out here. When you look at the IT industry, you look at an industry that is relatively young. I would suggest that the current incarnation of IT probably started when the PC became available (so in the mid 1980s). There wasn’t anything called a network until the early 1990s, the Internet didn’t truly come into being until 1994, and the entire industry has been evolving continuously since. 

But, if you look at the way the IT industry looks today, there are very few full time employees. In the vast majority of organizations, I would suggest that 80% of IT people are contractors. There are a few core individuals that are employees of their companies but, by and large, IT personnel are temporary roles. And that is because technology is project based. Yes, there are Operations people that are needed to keep things running but, if there are issues or upgrades or changes needed, those things are changed into projects and outside help is brought in.

To make a parallel, I will point to an industry that I think IT is following quite closely and that is the Building industry. The Building industry has been around for hundreds of years. Today, there is the core Real Estate Development companies but those companies bring in individuals and smaller firms to build the structures that they need. They hire architecture firms (paralleling IT Architects in IT) to make the designs and have oversight to ensure those plans are implemented properly. They have General Contractors (paralleling PMs) to bring those plans to fruition. They have individual trades organizations such as plumbers, framers, electricians, etc. to actually do the individual detail work (parallelling IT’s technical contractors). And, in the end, the building gets built.

But, in all cases, each of those roles are contractor based. And that’s what’s happening to the IT industry.

Now here’s why I ask the question of Recruiters as to why they aren’t partnering. As in the building industry, there is a need for a consistent level of quality of work and availability of trades needed. The firms that provide those services are able to provide exactly that quality of work and the Enterprise is able to know and depend on those services. 

And that’s where the question comes from. Recruiters based in the past are looking for bodies. But the IT departments of today’s Enterprises aren’t looking for bodies, they are looking for work to be done. They need architectures created. They need servers installed. They need wires pulled. They need applications written. They don’t need Architects, they need architectures created. And there’s a big difference.

So, Recruiters, why are you still supplying bodies? Why aren’t you providing services? Why aren’t you finding companies that focus on just those capabilities that your clients need and providing them? If you provide bodies, you are providing a commodity and you are basically just talking dollars. But if you are providing services, you are able to differentiate yourself because you can talk processes, quality, and efficiencies.

This is basically along the lines of a Manufacturer’s Rep organization. A manufacturer’s rep is a person or organization that represents a company, in many cases a manufacturer, and sell those products or services to potential clients in an area. Manufacturers will have multiple Representative companies across their target geography, segment them so that they own a certain region, and incentivize them simply because it’s not very efficient for many manufacturers to have their own sales reps in each area.

Sure, Cisco, Oracle, and Microsoft will have their own sales people. But for every EMC, there’s a smaller organization that needs a representative in a certain area. And the same goes for IT services. IT is still extremely fractured from a services point of view. If you go to a Deloitte or IBM or Accenture, where do you think they get their people? Again, most of them are contractors.

So, Recruiters, why aren’t you partnering? Remember, your clients don’t need Architects, they need architectures created. It just so happens that they asked for Architects. 

Hope that helps …

Neil