10 tips for... successful IT recruitment

Hiring a new employee is one of the most expensive, stressful and time consuming things a business can do. However, the dearth of talent in the Middle East, combined with a focus on experience over qualifications, can result in an even bigger headache for any CIO. ACN brings you its top 10 tips for successful IT recruitment.

Tags: BahrainGlobal KnowledgeNew HorizonsOmanQatarRestructuringRetailSaudi ArabiaSymantec CorporationUnited Arab EmirateseHosting DataFort
  • E-Mail
10 tips for... successful IT recruitment Hala Dabboussy, Symantec.
More pics ›
By  Piers Ford Published  August 26, 2010

Hiring a new employee is one of the most expensive, stressful and time consuming things a business can do. However, the dearth of talent in the Middle East, combined with a focus on experience over qualifications, can result in an even bigger headache for any CIO. ACN brings you its top 10 tips for successful IT recruitment.

IT teams are a lot like the technology that they are responsible for. However stable the platform or core skills base, there is a constant need for tweaks and additions; for ongoing maintenance in the form of training and qualifications, and for the addition of new blood to keep pace with technological evolution.

But CIOs can’t afford to focus on IT qualifications alone. The IT team is a vital part of the engine that generates any organisation’s competitive edge. Soft skills are as important as a host of technology-specific certifications in an environment that requires vision, business sense and above all, team players. Recruiting and sustaining these teams in the Middle East is one of the CIO’s greatest challenges in a market where people with superior skills combinations are at a premium and can effectively chart their own careers.

“Qualifications are essential,” says Alex Shelton, head of telecoms recruitment, Middle East, at SNS, a joint venture with the global company Networkers International.

“They are a benchmark for how good a candidate is, and employers are very specific about the qualifications they want. For example, if they are looking for someone with CCNP, they will only consider candidates who have that certification on their CV. No-one else will do.

However, most employers also realise the importance of experience gleaned in the workplace, and that a qualification in isolation is not enough.

“Generally, companies in the Middle East look to recruit mid-level positions from within the region. The issue with this is that often, candidates have the right qualification, but don’t necessarily have sufficient experience in applying that qualification in a real world environment. And if they can’t find the person they are looking for within the region, organisations here will tend to keep the job open rather than cover the costs of recruiting from around the world.”

That, however, is an increasingly unsatisfactory option for the hard-pressed CIO, who needs a complete IT team to run the business support infrastructure and often, to develop significant projects designed to take the business forward and generate competitive edge.

“Finding real talents among the crowd of many with similar skills, qualifications and experience, people who are self-motivated, willing to put effort into improving their skills to cope with rapid technology updates, is almost impossible in ‘Middle Eastern culture’,” says Mohammed Aslam, regional general manager at one of the region’s leading training companies New Horizons. “The most important skill is having the ability and willingness to learn in a fast moving and developing environment,” echoes Hala Dabboussy, principal partner services manager, for emerging regions at Symantec.

Aslam suggests there is almost too much emphasis placed on the value of experience, which in itself makes candidates more expensive and more difficult to hang on to. Instead, he suggests CIOs should focus on identifying younger, less experienced candidates they can nurture and develop on the job.

“Experienced consultants are very expensive and too demanding, and they are usually head-hunted for specific projects with high compensations,” he says. “Also, they require a lot of investment to build their skills and once they’ve acquired them, they are hard to retain.”

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code