In this episode of Beneficial Intelligence, I discuss unnecessary roadblocks. Amazon has a problem finding enough workers, and they have decided to get rid of an unnecessary roadblock: They will no longer test people for marijuana use. As marijuana becomes legal in more and more states, Amazon decided they only need to test truck drivers and forklift operators, not everyone.
IT organizations are also always complaining that they can't find the people they need. There are three reasons for this: Bad business cases, unrealistic requirements, and unnecessary roadblocks.
If you don't have a good business case, you can't pay what talent costs. In this case, it's better for the world that IT professionals go somewhere where they can create more value.
If you are requiring a laundry list of database architectures, programming languages, and architecture patterns, you are indicating to prospective applicants that you don't really know what you want. That's a turnoff for most professionals.
Finally, you might have set up roadblocks that keep people from applying. Mandatory drug testing is one, requiring security clearance for everyone is another, and requiring a certain education is a third. Requiring a college degree for an IT position is simply an outdated practice. Many good IT professionals are self-taught, and spending two years working for a scrappy startup teaches you much more than four years of college does.
The problem with talent roadblocks is that they are glaringly obvious to the potential applicant, but invisible inside the organization. If you have a hard time finding the talent you need, you need to have someone external identify your unnecessary roadblocks.
Beneficial Intelligence is a weekly podcast with stories and pragmatic advice for CIOs, CTOs, and other IT leaders. To get in touch, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org