For IT hiring managers, ensuring that you’re asking candidates relevant questions is a key component to building a successful team. Although you keep up with industry advances, your expertise is in culling the applicant pool to find the best IT professionals, not keeping up with cutting edge technology. Ask these seven questions–which address their technical as well as their interpersonal skills–for a solid consideration of whether a given individual is the right fit for your company.
Good IT professionals are always on top of the latest technologies and applications. There are several ways to maintain that edge–reading forums or blogs, taking classes to gain certifications, joining online groups, or working on personal projects. This question helps you determine their initiative–are they curious and involved, or content with the status quo–as well as provide a natural jumping off point for discussing professional development.
IT is a crucial component of any business these days, and it’s important for the IT staff to realize that most of their colleagues don’t speak that language. So it’s a key factor that your IT hires can explain the broader points to the tech newcomer without getting caught up in the acronyms and lingo of the techie universe–if you’re explaining something like Puppet, you don’t want your end user thinking you’re playing with dolls. Ask a few questions from the perspective of a totally non-tech person to gauge how they break down complicated problems for a novice.
You want your IT staff to be enthusiastic about technology, and that translates to people who are keen on maintaining a sharp skill set. People who spend their free time on their own projects are more likely to fit that pattern. Ask what’s interesting about a personal project, and what motivated them to start it, and what’s the best outcome. If they have a demo they can show you, so much the better.
This is the best indicator for whether the candidate likes the hardware, software, and operating system your company uses, and aides you in evaluating their real skills and knowledge. What do they like most about certain tools–design, engineering, intuitive use–and what are they most enthusiastic about? Do they get excited when they’re discussing the pros and cons of a particular design?
The best potential employees are the ones who are excited about technologies you’ve never heard of, and see beyond it’s current uses to new possibilities. An example of this is blockchain–a few years ago it was a narrowly focused cryptocurrency security concept, and now it’s the biggest thing in internet security.
Although IT professionals are not known for being a social or gregarious bunch, they do have to work well and communicate with their peers and teammates–to explain what they’re doing and why to their colleagues and clients. Not all your IT hires need to be expert public speakers, but you do need people who can do research, put together a plan, and present that plan and its benefits to the relevant parties. Look for a candidate who can articulate the life cycle of a project clearly and concisely.
IT leaders–the ones with management potential–are not an easy find, so ask this question even if your current opening is not for management. If you’ve found a potential hire with leadership skills–they can delegate, motivate, deliver, and organize–that individual can take the lead on projects and you’ll have the confidence they can deliver.
Hiring for IT professionals demands a skill set unlike any other–it’s important that you stay current on corporate technologies, policies, and budgets–in an environment that most hiring managers don’t really understand on more than a superficial level. Knowing the right questions to ask, and how the answers integrate to the whole, is key to successful staffing. At Atlantic Group Recruiters, we work with candidates to help them find company cultures that will be a great fit for them. We also work to get to know our clients better so we can find employees who will work well with their company cultures.