Information technology (IT) is always central to businesses and their operations. This has proven even more true during this period of dramatic upheaval and change. With so many employees and independent professionals working remotely now, businesses are in search of ways to streamline and provide easy access to technology.
Of course, finding the right IT talent for your organization is no walk in the park. There are numerous factors to consider, such as:
- The qualifications of the provider
- The provider’s niche and experience in your sector
- Your specific IT needs
- The systems you have in place
- Any upgrades you’re looking to make
- Short- and long-term projects in the pipeline
- The technology staff you have in place
So, where do you look to find the best provider for you? Here’s how to get started.
Where to look
1. Industry Websites and Publications
Many publications and websites in the technology industry have job boards to connect job seekers with employers. Whether you’re looking for a full-time IT manager or a contract or freelance provider, there are many solid resources where you can see what’s out there and post your own job ads. Some examples are:
- TechCrunch’s Crunchboard
- Mashable’s job board
- Stack Overflow
These are premier hubs for technology talent, with professionals in the industry visiting them regularly for resources, discussions with colleagues, and jobs, so they can be a very helpful tool in finding providers for your organization.
2. Traditional and Niche Job Boards and Freelance Sites
Then, of course, there are niche sites dedicated to the job hunt for tech professionals. On Clutch, for example, you can read unbiased reviews of IT, software, and other tech providers, written by people and businesses that have used their services firsthand.
Dice.com, meanwhile, boasts approximately tens of thousands of tech jobs, and if you’re looking for a top IT provider, it’s a haven of talent. TechCareers is another great option, where you can post listings for general and niche IT and other tech specialists.
Don’t forget about more general job sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, as well as part-time, contract, and freelance resources such as Upwork and Freelancer.
Word of mouth can prove highly useful when you’re in search of an IT provider who comes with solid expertise and recommendations. Talk to other people in your industry, especially business owners and leaders who have likely found themselves in need of IT services.
Conferences and events are one way to network with fellow business leaders, but you don’t even need to leave your computer to connect. For example, you can always send a quick LinkedIn message to a peer to ask about an IT provider you’re considering or seek out a referral.
4. IT Recruiters, Headhunters, and Staffing Firms
Many recruiters and headhunters specialize in particular industries and niches. Fortunately for small business owners, IT is one of the most high-demand types of providers, and there are many independent recruiters and recruiting firms that focus on connecting talent to organizations that are looking for help. This can save you a lot of time that you would normally spend searching and screening candidates.
Staffing firms, meanwhile, go a step further and not only identify valuable IT professionals but also train and pay them. While you’ll hire the staffing company, they’ll take it from there. This option is ideal for businesses that have technology professionals on staff but need additional support or specialized experts to help fill in the gaps.
Tips for finding IT providers
1. Take Stock of Your Needs
What, exactly, are you looking for? That’s an important question to ask yourself before you start your search for an IT provider. Perhaps there is a steady pipeline of IT concerns and you want an on-demand provider, someone who can fix problems as needed and provide general maintenance and support. Or, maybe you need additional support or a specialized skill set for a particular project or series of projects.
Understanding your unique needs will allow you to guide and gear your search accordingly since different providers will offer different services.
2. Find Out if the Provider Has Experience in Your Niche
It’s not only important to assess whether a prospective IT provider is experienced in the technologies you need for your project. You should also take note of whether they have experience in your niche. Technology needs can change and vary by the industry and specialty within it, so it’s a good idea to find out whether they’re familiar with the ins and outs of the field and have worked with other businesses that have challenges and needs that are similar to yours.
3. Consider Nearshore and Offshore Partners
Don’t limit your search to a provider within your area — or even your country. Given how many people are working remotely these days, it’s very likely your employees aren’t confined to a specific city, state, or region. And there’s so much talent to be found around the world in Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe, and beyond. Many of these providers have a high level of expertise and come at a significantly lower cost than onshore alternatives.
4. Read Reviews and Testimonials
This is a key part of hiring any professional, and given the pivotal role an IT provider will play in your business, finding someone with a history of demonstrated experience and quality work is paramount. When you’re considering hiring a technology professional, make sure you read reviews and ask for referrals. Even if you don’t use Clutch to find providers, you can still leverage it as a tool for doing your due diligence and looking up prospective partners.
5. Ask About Scalability
Many organizations evolve and grow over time. As they do, your IT needs will change, too. That’s why you should inquire about scalability. Successful partnerships can last for years, and you’ll want to make certain the working relationship you establish now will continue to serve you well in the future.
Qualified IT providers are out there — you just need to know where to look. These ideas will help you jump-start your search for the perfect fit, hopefully for years to come.
Malcom Ridgers, tech expert, BairesDev