We all know the repercussions of a bad hire. Here are some tips for making that next tech hire a good one.
I found some good tips for hiring IT pros in an article on TechSoup's site. For example, if you're a non-technical manager, the article recommends (and this is pretty much a given) that you include techies already on staff in the interview process. An interesting twist is that, if you're a technical manager, it's a good idea to include non-technical people in the interview process. The reasoning is that if the candidates can't communicate with them, they may not be good for the role for which you're hiring if it includes communication with end-users.
Here are some tips from the article on how to get creative when filling the need for a full-time IT person:
* Share a tech person. Small and mid-sized nonprofits will occasionally hire a full-time tech support employee who divides his or her time between the two organizations. Of course, to make this work, you and your partner need to be close to each other geographically, and you need to have a strong relationship. * Outsource to local contractors. If your IT tasks require fewer than 40 hours of work per week, consider a local freelancer or IT shop. They may not have a strong understanding of your sector, and they may not always be available when you need them, but this can be a reasonable compromise if you're short-staffed and don't have enough money to hire a full-time techie. On the other hand, in large metropolitan areas, you can usually find freelance techies and contractors who specialize in working with nonprofits. * Work with your vendors. Depending on the warranty and the service plan you've negotiated, you might be able to outsource certain IT tasks to your vendor. However, there are a lot of dangers with this approach. Troubleshooting over the phone and mailing broken parts back and forth often takes much longer than working with someone local. You might have little influence with a larger company, while a small, local IT shop can offer more responsive service. However, if you can't find a reliable contractor in your area, large manufacturers often provide a reasonable alternative. Ask if they offer on-site support and under what circumstances. Also, inquire about RMA'ing of parts. RMA stands for Return Merchandise Authorization, and it generally means that you'll receive a replacement part first, before you have to mail in the broken part. This effectively cuts the turnaround time in half.
Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.