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The Nexus and IT Jobs – It’s Hip to be Square

By Mike Rollings | November 05, 2012 | 0 Comments

TransformationManagementHuman BehaviorContextual StrategistAltered States

Last week our “2013 Professional Effectiveness Planning Guide: Coming to Terms With the Nexus of Forces” was published on It discusses the Nexus of Forces — social, mobile, cloud and information — and the profound implications for IT.

The nexus forces combine to provide a platform and impetus for innovation, but many organizations are ill-prepared to fully take advantage of this human-machine ecosystem. Organizations are impeded by older architectures and, more importantly, by out of date thinking and practices that inhibit full realization of nexus scenarios. The primacy of human-centered practices and engagement is clear. IT professionals must correct non-technical skill deficits and reshape work practices to improve consideration, participation, cocreation and innovation. They also must respond to societal changes imposed by the nexus while changing legacy architectures, mind-sets, habits and skills designed for an increasingly obsolescent way of working.

So what’s IT jobs got to do with it? We are still hiring for our past!

In April 2012, my Gartner for Technical Professionals (GTP) report “Job Postings – Hiring for IT’s Past” was meant as a wake-up call for IT organizations. It shows that most IT organizations are hiring for the wrong requirements – 95% of job postings sampled in this Gartner study pay little attention to social and other nontechnical skills. Six major job markets were part of the study and the results all point to a lack of interest in social skills and other essential non-technical skills. Although the postings ask for the latest technical skills, human engagement requirements were conspicuously missing.

This lack of human engagement elements in job postings is a problem that needs to be addressed. If you want to entice engaged contributors into your workforce then current recruitment approaches need to be overhauled. To underscore this point, contrast your organization’s job postings with those of Square. This post is not an endorsement of Square or its products, but it is an endorsement of the way they present themselves to prospective employees.

Listen to the video on their posting page, and if you are really energetic view the videos on the related posting pages. These videos don’t focus on the technical skills they need, they focus on the emotional skills they need.

These are just some of the things I gleaned from the videos:

  • Learn, grow, be challenged
  • Help change an industry
  • Encourage people to be engaged
  • Have a material impact on the company
  • Take risks
  • Ideas come from all parts of the company
  • Co-creative process
  • Fun, passionate, with a shared sense of urgency
  • We are all entrepreneurs and we are empowering entrepreneurs
  • At this company, everyone is making an impact
  • Engineering—not top down

Two of my favorite quotes are “We build beautiful experiences so they stand the test of time” and “I don’t think anyone wants to toil in obscurity.” Wouldn’t you want to work in this type of environment? What type of people do you think they will attract? I think they will have no problem attracting people with the technical skills they want, but more importantly they will attract people with the behaviors and passion that they want.

I’ve been paying attention to how organizations are changing their hiring practices. I’m sure the large search engines still churn through zillions of resumes looking for search terms that employers hope will result in a great applicant. But to me, it is a fall start. If you focus on technical skills in your postings, then filter resumes based mostly on technical terms, isn’t it likely that you are filtering out all of the people you really want to apply?

Think about it… then do something about it!

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