There are two primary tasks involved in choosing someone to fill an open position in your organization. First, you must determine the candidate's technical skills, and second, you must determine how the person will fit into your organization and work with others to accomplish company goals.
Interviewing: Technical vs. interpersonal skills
The level of technical expertise a job candidate needs depends on the job role the person will fill at your company. An entry-level help desk technician, for example, may need more customer service skills than solid technical experience, while a network administrator may require more proven technical skills.
When hiring at an entry level, you will be able to offer a lower salary, but there may be significant tradeoffs. An entry-level candidate should come to you with a solid educational background and possibly a certification, but will likely have little or no on-the-job experience doing the work you require. These new workers will have trouble solving problems because they don't possess problem identification and problem resolution skills. In addition to technology issues, entry-level candidates may also lack business acumen, leading you to ask yourself whether the candidate will be able to handle customer problems and complaints and instill customer confidence in your business.
Your second option is to focus on hiring an experienced candidate, who will likely have higher salary expectations. The adage "you get what you pay for" often applies here.
An experienced hire will be productive much more quickly, if not immediately. Experienced candidated will have the problem identification and problem resolution experience under their belt, and business issues won't be foreign to them. If you hire the right person, you will need to do much less hand-holding; you should be able to assign a task and pretty much forget about it.
To find experienced talent, you have a number of options. One of the best methods for finding a reliable person is to start with your personal network. This upside is this option is free; the downside is that you might risk insulting a friend if you don't like the candidate. Another factor to consider is that you can't predict the timing of personal referrals. Other options for finding experienced talent include hiring an agency or recruiter, the newspaper, job board postings, and job board resume searches.
To determine what is best for you, use this recruiter ROI checklist to analyze your hiring needs.
Determining technical skills
The interview questions you ask to determine technical proficiency will vary depending on the position you need to fill. For a help desk technician, you may want to inventory his or her experience in specific areas, such as Internet technologies or e-mail. TechRepublic's Phone Interview Cheat Sheet download contains a weighted checklist of technology areas on which you can rate help desk or support candidates. If you're interviewing a network administrator candidate, you will ask questions specifically related to technical knowledge and problem resolution skills, such as, "A user complains that when she prints a document in any application, the printer output is garbage. What is the most likely cause of the problem?" For a complete list of specific technical questions and user scenarios, take a look at TechRepublic's Network Administrator Interview Questions download.
Determining interpersonal skills
While determining a candidate's technical skills is a major goal in an interview, finding out how the person will fit into your organization's culture is also tantamount. You need to know how this person will adapt to the environment and how well the candidate will work with others to accomplish changing goals in the organization. There are boatloads of books out there that advise people on how to answer the most typical interview questions and, therefore, many candidates are well rehearsed. So how do you break through the candidate's facade and find out what you really want to know?
You ask questions that are designed to find out more about the candidate's work ethic and fit within the organization. For examples of these types of questions, take a look at Interview questions that demand meaningful answers and "Questions I'd like to ask the next time I'm hiring."
For a comprehensive list of resources to help you make good hires, see page two.
- Use our interview questions form to track and rate
If you are interviewing candidates for an IT job and you would like to compare them accurately, download our interview form and track and rate each candidate by the same yardstick.
useless interview questions... and what you should ask instead
Interview prep guides are full of recommended 'tough' questions, but a lot of them are a complete waste of time. Here's a list of questions to avoid and some better ways to elicit useful information.
- Seven signs that a job candidate won't work out
Interviewing, hiring, and training a new IT staffer takes a significant amount of time. Here's a rundown of several clues to watch for as you interview candidates and try to determine who will be a positive addition to your team.
this checklist to thoroughly verify job skills and resume claims
No matter how uncomfortable it is, you need to verify every job candidate's claims and credentials in order to protect yourself and your organization. Here's a checklist that can help you confirm a candidate's claims.
- Hiring cost calculator
IT managers know that hiring a new employee will cost an organization more than just a salary and a benefits package. This spreadsheet is designed to help you consider everyone's contribution when deciding to bring someone on board.
new IT employees off to the right start with this orientation checklist
A good orientation program makes new hires feel comfortable and introduces the organization's culture, supervisors, coworkers, and work expectations. This list will help you set up new employees for success.
- Seven warning signs to look for when interviewing
When you're interviewing candidates, don't rely entirely on your gut. Watch out for these seven red flags.
- No-nonsense interviewing strategies that work
Here are some key strategies and techniques that can help ensure that interviews for tough spots, such as the CIO's right hand, go smoothly.
- Five steps to making a good hire
Interviewing is such a complicated process that it is easy to miss important points. Here are five steps you should take to make sure that your next hiring decision is not a mistake.
- Hiring your first support tech
A TechRepublic member was looking for advice on hiring his company's first technical employee. Here's the advice our management expert gave him.
- I made a bad hire and lived to tell about it
Any IT manager who's been fooled by a job candidate and unwittingly launched into a new hire nightmare can relate to this TechRepublic member's story.
- The value of using standards in IT security hiring
One way to identify job needs and put together accurate job descriptions is to use standards.
- Steer clear of a lawsuit: Avoid asking risky
Not all interview questions are appropriate. Some questions are prohibited by law, putting your organization at risk if you ask them. Download these resources on illegal questions and the alternatives you can use.
- Hiring strategies: Workarounds for strict reference
While strict policies keep many previous employers from saying much, there may be a few ways to get the information you need.
- Develop a staffing strategy when making hiring
If your organization's managers make staffing decisions exclusive of the overall organization, you could be fostering inefficiency. Here are the main points to consider when developing an overall strategy.
- Certifications: Make the best hire by asking
As a hiring manager, you're no doubt seeing more and more certifications on resumes these days. This article shows the most effective way to evaluate certifications.
- Assessment tests can take the guesswork out of hiring
More and more companies are incorporating assessment test technology into their regular interview processes to better discern the best candidates. Find out whether testing might help you make your hiring process more productive and successful.
the Bar on Hiring Standards: Using Technology to Integrate Candidate Sourcing
Redmatch provides a discussion of the positive impact technology based sourcing and filtering tools can have on hiring efficiency and effectiveness.
Center Staffing and Trunk Design
Westbay Engineers describes the steps involved in assessing the staffing requirements of a call center and the estimating the number of trunks (central office lines) required to serve a call center for incoming calls.