Technical Recruiter Q&A - Spotlight On Crimson

April 19, 2015

During a talent shortage how do recruiters find and recruit top technical talent with the right skills for the job? We recently interviewed Helen Artlett-Coe from the technology and recruitment company Crimson to find out.

What do you see as employers' top priorities for 2015?

We are a Microsoft Gold Partner and recruiting in this area is our specialism so we may be a little bias, however:

Big Data is a buzz word from 2014 that we are now seeing being put into practice this year. Companies are focusing on where their data is stored, how it is stored and, how easy it is to extrapolate the data required for reports and business intelligence. Many of the Microsoft Partners we work with have seen an upturn in interest on SQL Server Consultancy, and subsequently BI tools including Power BI are hot this year.

There is also a heavy focus on websites and intranets. With the biggest skills shortage so far this year, in my opinion, being in .net Developers. Many companies are updating and refreshing their corporate and often transactional websites, and many opt to continue doing this in-house.

What technical skills are most in demand by employers at the moment? And of these, which skills would you say are the most well-rewarded by employers?

As previously mentioned, I think the most in demand skill at the moment is for permanent .net Developers, most Developers are in contract or tied into existing, well-paid permanent jobs – it has never been more difficult to find these skills. Also the Dynamics CRM and SharePoint markets remain tight on the permanent side.

We often liaise with our clients on upping salaries to market rate or even above, but this does not necessarily solve the issue. Whilst employers are willing to uplift salaries, sometimes as much as £10,000 over market rate, candidates still prefer the option to remain a contractor and the opportunities remain unfilled.

Which technology segments in particular do you expect there to be growth in this year?

We see growth in SQL Server and associated technologies around BI including SSRS, SSIS and SSAS, also Office 365 will be huge this year.

Offshoring development, the use of managed services or use of contractors for .net development will need to happen as there is a huge shortage issue surrounding this skill.

Dynamics CRM is set to outperform other CRM competitors this year who perhaps in the past have been perceived as bigger products. Dynamics CRM, in our opinion, is big enough to overtake these.

Is up-skilling technical resources considered as important for firms this year?

If it isn’t on their agenda then it should be!

Over 53% of the top UK 100 companies this year will create graduate vacancies, and IT is included within this. We feel that whilst IT University degrees aren’t aligned to skill shortages this will be a popular and wise way to add IT talent to businesses.

Investing in staff and existing employees to learn new skills within IT should also be popular, this ensures you retain and grow your best staff.

What are the most challenging tech roles to fill and why?

Permanent .net Developers and Permanent Dynamics CRM Developers as mentioned above, but also Permanent Architects as many opt to stay contracting.

What types of companies and candidates does your agency typically represent?

Crimson operates within a number of vertical and horizontal niche markets including Microsoft Technologies (Dynamics CRM and SharePoint), Automotive, Retail, Legal, Financial Services and Logistics. We boast an enviable client list and are partnered with a large number of Microsoft Gold Partners, other clients we work with: Brown Shipley, Metro Bank, TNT, Virgin Media and Volkswagen to name a few.

Within these areas of specialism we consider ourselves experts at sourcing professionals from Helpdesk through to CTO level with everything in between; including but not limited to Business Analysts, Testers, Project and Programme Managers, Architects, Change Consultants and Developers.

How does ShowTech help with the decision making process?

I regularly use ShowTech (formerly Technically Compatible/Tungl) and particularly like to combine the application with assessment days, which we regularly run for our clients.

We work with our clients’ technical teams to select the technical questions that best suits their environment and their day-to-day challenges. We send out the ShowTech test link to those we have pre-screened on the telephone. We then use these test results at the assessment centre as a way of highlighting areas of strength and potential weakness and can address this by way of other tests on the day and within the competency based interviews we conduct.

We have enjoyed a high success rate and all those placed using this method of recruitment are still in their jobs today!

Thanks Helen!


Helen Artlett-Coe is a Business Development Manager with over 15 years Microsoft-centric recruitment and headhunting experience across both the Midlands and London markets. Helen opened the Crimson London office in December 2012 and now successfully runs the London operation, which specialises in Financial Services, Legal, T24, Dynamics CRM and SharePoint technologies. She is a Croner qualified competency based interviewer and trained to administer and interpret Thomas International PPA.

Crimson are a specialist provider of high calibre and hard-to-find specialists. Crimson understand IT and provide value-added IT recruitment solutions and technology for clients.

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