These are heady times in Ireland’s jobs sector but companies recruiting for IT talent must ensure they are not missing a trick, writes Fiona Devine.

It has taken 10 long years, but Ireland has come full circle. Last year, our economy grew by a staggering 7.3% – three times the average growth rate across the wider euro zone, according to EU estimates.

Even when you take away the contribution made by multinationals (the main driver of Ireland’s economic growth), underlying domestic activity still grew by almost 5% in 2017 – double that of the EU area.

Unprecedented job creation

As our economy powers ahead, jobs are being created at an almost unprecedented rate. The business group Ibec has predicted that the pace of employment growth will run above 3% this year, for the first time since 2007.

With more than 2.2 million people already working, our economy is now approaching full employment. For any company in recruitment mode, and this applies especially in the booming IT sector, the scramble for talent is only going to intensify.

Skilled, qualified IT workers now hold all the aces in the recruitment market, so how can you attract the right sort of people?

Project success at every turn

The simplest answer is this – by being the kind of company that people want to work for. Everybody wants to be part of a winning team so if you can project ‘success’ from the very beginning of each recruitment process, you’ll stand a better chance of landing the talent you’re after.

Even if they don’t get the job, you want every candidate experience to be a successful one. That means handling the process in a professional, courteous way so every person forms a positive impression of your brand. Some other tips include the following:

Make the most of social media. That’s what your prospective employees are doing, after all. They are on their social channels right now, browsing on LinkedIn and Twitter, looking for leads, comparing companies, weighing up their options. Are they seeing the best version of you on social media?

Leverage the power of networking to unearth new candidates. Ireland is a small, compact jobs market where people know one another. You can identify prospects simply by asking around at industry conferences or networking events. Just ask!

Put a strong emphasis on training and development. Employees should be able to see solid career opportunities from the outset, with structured paths and educational assistance into technical or managerial posts.

Consider offering sponsorship or visa assistance. There are millions of brilliantly-qualified IT candidates outside of Ireland – and many within Ireland too – who cannot take up technical roles because they don’t qualify for a visa. This is a big opportunity to create a USP for your company.

For candidates who are new to Ireland, consider helping them with accommodation. This is one of the big challenges in the Dublin market, where rooms are expensive and hard to find. Knowing they have a place to stay while they find their feet could be a huge selling point.

Consider implementing a loyalty bonus system to boost your retention rate. For example, if someone remains with the company for three or five years, they qualify for a bonus – all part of building that winning team.

If possible, have some flexibility in your selection process. For instance, if you are looking to satisfy a certain technical specification and a candidate has maybe 80% of the skills required, but they feel like a great fit with the company? Chances are they can add that 20% pretty quickly.

Finally, get expert help. Specialist recruitment firms understand the challenge and complexity of searching for IT talent. They can filter candidates and offer valuable advice based on your technical requirements and culture. They can make the whole process easier and more reliable.

There are some clouds on the economic horizon – Brexit notably – but all the signs point to continued strong growth and job creation. In a fast-moving recruitment market, the tech sector is where competition is at its fiercest, so use every opportunity to be the kind of company that people want to come and work for.

Fiona Devine specializes in IT talent with Eden Recruitment