How to find a good specialist

How to find a good specialist

Today I want to talk about one of the most common problems in IT - the lack of qualified specialists. Absolutely everyone faces this problem, there are more vacancies in this area than there are specialists on the market, and the growth rate of demand for specialists is enormous.

We have put a lot of effort to solve this problem on our scale and tried quite a few interesting ways. There is a way out of the difficult situation, because the market works and grows every year. In this article I will tell you about 24 methods that helped us to solve this important problem for ourselves.


First, let's look at the market as a whole. Professionals are plentiful today, and because it's IT, they are scattered all over the world, and many can work anywhere in the world. The most expensive specialists are in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other developed countries. The cheapest are in India, China, Pakistan, and other developing countries.

If you need a first-class team and quality requirements are high, you have to look for people in several cities and countries, there are still very few good specialists.

In the former Soviet Union, more than 95% of specialists are self-trained. Higher education institutions do not produce specialists, they only give you a useless "crust" of higher education. I know, many people are now going to stir up a debate, but I am speaking from my own experience - I saw literally thousands of specialists in IT, and none of them was taught a profession in the university, in the best case, they taught important near-subject matters, such as mathematics and instilled interest to this area, which gave people an incentive to learn themselves.

There are still specialized schools, including from major IT companies, but they are very few, and they often teach entry-level professionals. And in general, I do not believe in educational institutions, which are away from the real work, they can only teach the theory, but everyone needs practice.

It is customary to divide all specialists into three skill levels: Junior, Middle and Senior. Programmers are often divided in this way, but in fact nothing prevents dividing all specialties for convenience. Good specialists usually have a lot of experience and already work somewhere, they need to be enticed by better conditions and salaries, they are an asset. With newcomers is easier, there are a lot of them, and not everyone takes them.

You can search through agencies (fast, but expensive) or directly (slow, but cheap). Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, about this below.

Because of the shortage of specialists there is no problem with getting a job, most have become quite spoiled and demanding, and the salaries are bloated. People rarely hold on to their jobs, except perhaps for executives. This raises the bar for the employer.

A brief portrait of the market: there is a lack of specialists, they are scattered geographically, they barely learn, quality professionals must be enticed away and even if you put a team together, you still have to make a lot of effort to keep it.

Where and how to look for specialists?

Over 3 years, I personally and the companies in which I worked, tried probably a hundred different ideas and ways. I'll talk about some of them, I'll try in evolutionary order, starting with the first ideas I used.

1. By acquaintance

Probably everyone resorts to this method - to find the right specialist among acquaintances. Such people are usually more confident and you know something about them in advance - this is a plus. But there are much more disadvantages:

  • The circle of acquaintances is usually very limited, it is very difficult to find the right person among them, and to find a quality specialist of narrow specialization, in fact, almost impossible. This, of course, depends on the seeker, a specialist with extensive experience and the circle of communication will be appropriate, but, nevertheless, this does not solve the problem.
  • Often, even if the right specialist is found among acquaintances, he is already working with other acquaintances or in a former place of work, and it is not very ethical to poach him.
  • The quality level of specialist, most likely, will not have to choose, here you can not arrange a competition and choose the best, you found who you found.
  • You can use your friends once, but if you are in constant need of specialists, this resource will exhaust itself very quickly.
  • It is always difficult to work with acquaintances, they will wait for a special treatment, and it is not always possible, and sometimes there is a choice between work and personal relationships, what will you choose?

2. Freelancers

Everyone in IT has probably tried to work with freelancers. And we are no exception, we tried too. Now I hate freelancers. If freelancers read this article - no offense, I was a freelancer too, I do not hate people, but the form of work and from the employer's point of view.

There are quite a lot of freelancers, they work remotely, they live off this kind of work. It would seem that one plus: you can quickly find a good specialist and transfer your tasks. In reality our freelancers are hampered by their mentality. They disappear, they do poor quality, they do not care about the client, because tomorrow they can find a new one, and they are actually not responsible.

At the beginning of my career I often worked with freelancers, now I work with them very rarely and only with those whom I know personally. It is desirable that they are located in the same city, so that you can physically find them if necessary. And, of course, to work only on a clear ToR and full postpayment.

3. Agencies

Large companies often use the services of agencies for personnel search. Here it is better to choose an agency that specializes in IT, because other agencies do not have enough knowledge to make a preliminary assessment of candidates. Agencies usually have a large database of specialists, but their services are not cheap, on average, one month's salary of the searched specialist. Through such intermediaries it is better to look for specialists of high level, especially managers of different levels.

4. Social networks

To begin with, you need to have official fan pages of the brand in all popular social networks and recruit there as many fans of the brand as possible. They usually eagerly respond to the search of specialists and help the company in this process for free, and among subscribers with high likelihood there are loyal specialists who are ready to work for this very company.

There are also thematic groups in social networks, both on work in general and on specific professions (for example, groups on web design). You need to find them and post job ads there. For a fee or free of charge.

You can also work directly with people, look for people with the right interests in the desired region and write to them directly.

Separately, you should pay attention to a professional social networking site, LinkedIn, which has a huge number of professionals in the field of IT.

5. PR on thematic portals

Another good way is PR on itish sites. Each specialty has a number of thematic portals, both narrow subject and general. You can buy there whole articles about the company and job openings. We used this method last year as an experiment: we described in an article who we need and made a small promotion.

After this kind of PR we received a total of up to 50 resumes, took a few people and improved our image. The move as a whole can be considered successful, cheaper than looking in agencies. Ideally the move is implemented simultaneously on all the major thematic portals at the same time, to cover the information field across the country.

6. Training from the company

Many large companies, when there is an acute shortage of specialists, open their own specialized schools. On the whole, this is quite a costly event, but it helps to create a constant flow of talented specialists to the company. It is profitable for such companies to teach Junior level, employ the most talented people and teach them on real projects under control of more experienced colleagues. And in general it is beneficial for them to improve IT culture in the country. 

7. CV database and work with it

All job seekers that the company ever comes into contact with should be placed in a well-structured database with detailed information about each person. Not only names and contacts should be stored there, but also full resumes, characteristics, information from recent interviews, etc.

With such a database, you can join forces with colleagues in the market, exchange information, and protect yourself from unscrupulous employees.

All people learn and develop, if today a person has nothing but desire, it does not mean that in a year he will remain the same. Maybe in a year he will discover the talents the company needs and will be useful. With a database to work, periodically call the candidates and invite them to an interview at least once every 3-5 years.

We successfully use such a base, though, to be honest, it's not very well structured yet, and we try to look for more and more new people. However, in the future it will be invaluable information for HR. .

8. Targeted Search

It is possible to search for employees among competitors, but I personally think it is not very ethical, so it is worth mentioning as a method, but I do not recommend it, no matter how easy it would be to take the easy way.

9. "Who's the Best?" Contest

Often large companies hold contests and competitions in various professions, in which a huge number of people from all over the country or even several countries take part. Participation is available to everyone and there is a solid prize fund. These contests are very often nothing more than a search for geniuses. Based on the results of the competition, the winners or even the entire top ten are invited to work for the organizing company. The method is similar to the last one, only larger and in a different "wrapper.

We did not hold such contests, but I personally once participated in a similar one. Back in 2006. The contest gives you tasks, you do them and send them to the organizers. Then they choose a group of the best professionals, which goes to the next stage. The closer to the finals, the more difficult it is, and the better the organizing committee gets to know you.

Such contests are mainly designed for young, active people. They are especially popular in the field of programming.

There are also a number of ineffective methods: placement of vacancies in printed publications, in the employment center, ads in public transport, etc. But I do not advise to use them, they usually do not lead to anything but wasted time.

A few words of advice

Whatever way you look at it, but good IT specialists are in short supply and will be in short supply at least for 10 years. However, the problem of the lack of specialists is quite possible to solve, for which there are many different methods.