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
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 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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.