IT Employment

Tips for hiring a techie

We all know the repercussions of a bad hire. Here are some tips for making that next tech hire a good one.

We all know the repercussions of a bad hire. Here are some tips for making that next tech hire a good one.

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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.

About

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.

6 comments
mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Create or find a dark place, fill it with bits of torn up paper and snacks close to the workstation.

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

One of the biggest programs that we use in determining a prosective new hires skills and fitness for the workplace is to use a peer review. During interviews, each and ever member gets to talk with and have a say in the hiring process. Many of the techs will quiz them on simple problems and complex faults to gauge their real skills. Some actually use ongoing problems as examples, first to see if they can really grasp the problem and second to sometimes even get a new approach and some have even resulted in cures that hadn't been thought of. No one individual gets to make a make or break decision and all results are by a majority decision. It has proven to find those candidates that can meet the requirments but work well with present staff.

sunshine
sunshine

Aaah, the old use an interview process to solve your problems trick. I have had this happen to me ... twice now. As a person looking for that next big role, and being a person blessed with "thinking outside the box" naturally (I often find it hard to think inside boxes which may be why I'm always looking for a new role) - I've twice been given a challenging real-life problem to resolve in an interview, come up with something twisted but clever, and then failed to get the job because they've decided to keep the poop that's been acting in the role the past few months ... and they've ended up using my solution as well! I don't know what the solution is - I don't want to hobble my best ideas because then I might not get the job, but I also don't enjoy getting knocked back when I'm obviously the best choice for that particular problem. Yes, I work in government. Yes I know this is commonly how government treats it's best and brightest. The answer is naturally to become that person acting in the job for two months before it gets advertised ... I know. If anyone has been in the position to take the good idea from an unsuccessful candidate ... I'd like to know what leads you to that decision? Is it unethical (probably not, annoying yes but unlikely to be unethical in most cases)?

julien.dionne
julien.dionne

Hi, When I saw the title of your article, I expected tips on hiring IT Staff. After reading the article, I only find out that you can share someone, outsource the IT work, or work with / outsource to the vendors. Ok... Next, reading the article, the only other "tips" are, include techies and non techies in the process. Hardly "tips". Here are a few links where I found real tips: 10 tips to hire technical staff: http://knol.google.com/k/helen-m-overland/10-tips-to-hire-technical-staff/2zm6zuhhppkw3/2# How to hire technical managers: http://www.computerworld.com/careertopics/careers/story/0,10801,98576,00.html Finding superstars: http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/27/2034228 My personal tip is to ask real IT questions relevant to the job. It might be easy to talk about your experience and get through a behavioral interview, but it's another story to demonstrate you really know what you are talking about! Julien http://leapcomp.com

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If you don't smell pizza, Chee-tos, or Twinkies, move on to the next candidate. Offer him a choice of beverages. If he chooses something without caffeine, move on. If he chooses an 'energy' drink or Mountain Dew, put him on the short list. Arrange to have yourself called during the interview. If he doesn't see it as an opportunity to discuss your phone, move on.

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