Hot 2013 Minnesota IT Market

Hot 2013 Minnesota IT Market

The Hot 2013 Minnesota Information Technology (IT) Market: What Companies Need To Do To Land Top Talent

What should you do if you’re a company looking for top talent in the IT space? In the current Twin Cities market, some say “Pray.”

The business world knows that if you’re looking for IT candidates, you are having a tough time competing in the War for Talent in the Twin Cities.
Strong candidates are seeing multiple great offers, and they’re seeing them quickly. What should you do if you find your company missing out on the best? Think about changing up your hiring process! The typical company interview process is simply getting in the way of hiring strong talent:

• By the time a company gets around to making a hiring decision, another company has already pulled the trigger and made an offer.


Shorten Your Search Time and Hiring Process: The timeline for an IT hire with several interviews used to be 2-3 weeks. Now, companies that know how to land talent often complete the process in 1, sometimes 2 interviews, and usually within 3-5 business days!

• Companies often want to see all of the talent they can before making a decision, but in today’s market, this is simply a luxury they no longer have.


One solution to this problem is to work with a company like SkyWater that continuously works a “Short List” of top local talent. Not to plug our firm here, but often times we’re called in by a client that has simply exhausted all of their avenues, and they simply need strong IT recruiters that eat, live, and breathe meeting with top talent every day of the week. However, if paying a placement fee to a search firm simply isn’t in the cards for some reason or another, what else can you do?
Insights and advice for companies on their hiring process:

• Be flexible on interview process

 In the interest of time — and possibly the difference between landing a strong candidate or not —  be open to off-hours interview times, like lunch, early mornings, after hours, etc.

 Allow the candidates to come from work (not necessarily suit & tie because it would raise suspicion at work). This allows for easier scheduling so they don’t have to coordinate going home to get dressed professionally, taking time off of work, etc.

 Have a timely interview process: 1 week max from initial interview to hiring decision. Anything longer and you’ll start losing out on strong candidates

 Have a maximum of 2 in-person interviews. Any more than that shows either: 1) the company can’t get their act together to create an efficient process, and as such, might not be a great place to work or 2) they can’t make a decision on whether or not they like the candidate. Both say that the company might not be the most promising to work for.

 Be realistic on compensation.

 If you really want the best talent in this market, you not only need cutting edge technology, a good company story, and a great culture/work environment; you will need to make a very competitive offer.

 Know that you can’t expect to land rock-stars, even if you have a great culture & technology if you’re below market rate. And this isn’t historic IT market rates, but current 2013 rates.

 Offers have increased between 12-18% in the past 18 months; companies either need to adjust internally or recognize what they can and can’t do. 


Here’s a anecdotal example of how dynamic the process can be: We had a candidate raise his hand that he was open to opportunities on a Monday in late January; by the following Tuesday afternoon, he had 3 standing offers, all of which showed an average of a 15% increase from his current salary! He ended up pulling out from the interview process with 4 other companies —  simply because their process was too attenuated and he felt he had strong enough opportunities to choose from.


• IT candidates typically fetch a 7-10% salary increase when changing jobs. Today, they are more in the range of 12-16%.


If companies don’t internalize the aforementioned issues, they should be prepared for a painful process. What is very likely to happen is that the position will go unfilled for 2-3 months, and the business will fall behind on important technology initiatives. This situation can often lead to notorious work environment problems like overworked and stressed teams who are trying to bridge the gaps left by the unfilled position.

Recognize that in this market, the strong candidates are interviewing you and your company just as much, if not more, than you are interviewing them: More so than ever before, interviews with today’s top IT talent is a two-way street.  Strong candidates have multiple opportunities, so companies need to put their best foot forward from the moment a candidate is contacted about a possible opening.
How well are you “selling” them on your opportunity? What is the upside — technology, career, company culture, etc.?
Given how hot the market is, companies need to be proactive about not only their current needs, but also their future ones: A company may only have 1 opening today; but if they manage to interview 2 strong candidates, they should be open to the possibility of hiring both. Understand that opportunity or “+1” hires can be challenging to get approved internally, but the hiring manager could look like a genius in 2-3 months if someone on the team takes another job.
Have questions? Call me @ 952-767-3147 or email me at
I’ll do everything I can to get you the information you need, and if I can’t for some reason, I will put you in touch with someone in my network that can. — Adam


Adam Hoffarber

Adam Hoffarber