In a previous blog post, we tackled how corporate culture can help you attract and retain technical talent. Let’s say that, thanks to having an open, forward-thinking, and inclusive workplace culture, you’ve managed to get a couple of candidates lined up for you. How do you know if an applicant is a good tech hire or not?
Here are primary questions you must look into when hiring an IT specialist:
How well can the candidate diagnose problems and come up with solutions?
From programming bugs to hardware failures, IT is notorious for posing technical challenges that need resolving. An IT specialist must be able to quickly analyze what is going on to determine what is causing the problem and how to fix it.
This requires a broad knowledge of IT as well as experience in using prominent and upcoming technologies. Often, this comes from countless hours of self-study outside the classroom.
However, theory can only go so far. Given the abundance of apps, IT services, and custom programming options to choose from, coming up with solutions can be a difficult task. You want your tech hire to be able to help your team come up with “good,” “better,” and “best” scenarios. That is, they must be able to plot cost, effort required, and speed against long-term effectiveness — or at least learn how to do so during their probationary period.
Being able to apply the KISS principle is also valuable, so be on the lookout for that trait as well.
How well can they use data to inform their strategies and actions?
Even if the position you’re hiring for is not that of a data scientist, you still want your candidate to exhibit skills in statistics and data analysis. Analytical thinking is key to spotting anomalies, discerning problems, plotting and predicting trends to identify opportunities, and coming up with optimal plans of action.
To test your candidates, you can pose problems that, when investigated, will produce excessive data. Additionally, you can challenge them with a scenario in which not everything about the situation is known. This is a good way to see if they’ll use a verify-and-adjust approach in the solution they’ll propose.
How well do they pay attention to details?
Relying on assumptions can lead to wasted effort and costly mistakes. An IT specialist must be able to ask the right questions when looking into issues so that they effectively resolve them. They need to be able to catch key details that others miss, as well as be courageous to admit when they don’t know things. That is, they have to be able to ask more questions whenever they need more information and ask for help when they need it.
How well can they communicate?
Given that IT is highly specialized and jargon-y, it’s easy to have a language barrier between IT and non-IT people. Internal clients (i.e., parties in your organization that rely on your IT team) and external clients (i.e., customers who pay your organization for services) may find it difficult to put into words the technical issues they encounter. Moreover, they may also find it hard to understand the technician’s diagnosis and the steps they need to take to solve the problem.
This makes effective communication and interpersonal skills valuable among IT professionals. See if a candidate is able to use layman’s terms when investigating issues and explaining concepts. Equally important is having an attitude of helpful service — do they exercise proper etiquette, politeness, and patience when talking to clients, or do they talk down to them? A candidate must know that being an expert ultimately means being the one to meet clients where they are, and never the other way around.
With the business world’s increasing reliance on information technology, having your own in-house tech staff is good. However, if you need to add to the power of your team, then turn to XBASE. As an IT services provider composed of certified technicians, we’re trusted by businesses in Toronto and beyond. Schedule a free consultation today to discover how we can help your business leverage technology for boundless growth.
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