By Jim Wong, CPA | May 18, 2016

This week we have guest speaker Diana Smith, Practice Director for Brilliant™ Technology Staffing, taking over for A Brilliant™ Blog – Check In With Jim to discuss best practices for IT hiring.

How can you improve your interview process when it comes to hiring IT professionals?

Even for contract roles, companies need to do an in-depth interview of IT candidates. These are expensive and critical hires. The assessment of a candidate must include not just their technical qualifications, but also their behavioral and cultural characteristics. It can be difficult to get all of that covered in a single interview; and typically, multiple interviewers are involved in the process.

Problems arise when the process takes too long, interviewers are unaccustomed to interviewing and don’t get good information out of the candidate, and interviewers forget that they are competing for this talent—while also selecting the talent. There’s a lot to juggle.

In today’s workplace, our recruiters find qualified IT candidates are only in the market for 12 days, and with 24 percent of organizations we’ve surveyed reporting that they plan to increase their rate of IT hiring in 2016, competition for strong talent remains fierce.

So, what can you do as a hiring manager to capitalize on your time during the interview process? Below are 5 Tips for Hiring the Best Information Technology Professionals that can be easily applied to other professions, as well.

1. Properly Prepare

It is critical to prepare ahead of time when it comes to interviewing IT candidates. This includes creating an IT-interview protocol that captures behavioral, technical and culture-fit aspects. Have either pre-determined questions ready or a clear definition of what each person in the interview process is trying to find in the individual. Make sure that every member of your team who will take part in the interview process is on the same page. You don’t want candidates to get asked the same questions over and over. You want to receive new insights from every interview.

Specifically for IT positions, problem solving and communication skills are a must, yet often times companies have a difficult time defining exactly how they consistently interview for these skillsets. It’s worth the effort to develop a standard set of good behavioral questions in these two areas so that each interviewer can ask one or two of them.

2. Establish a Schedule

Whether you’re working with your human resources department or enlisting an outside recruiting firm, be sure to establish blocks of time for interviews so that strong candidates can be booked immediately and time isn’t lost trying to coordinate schedules.

Ensure that the full interview cycle can be completed in 5 to 7 business days—at most. Time is of the essence! Again, good IT candidates do not stay on the market for very long.

Also, have alternate interviewers identified and on standby in case someone on your team cannot do the interview in order to keep the process moving. Also, have alternative mediums available to get the full interview completed i.e. in-person, skype, pre-recorded video responses etc. After all, these are IT candidates who specialize in technology!

3. Sell Your Opportunity

Just like you have to select your ideal candidate, the candidate has to pick you, as well. Be ready for at least one of the interviewers, preferably a team member with similar skills as the interviewee, to be prepared to talk specifically about why your company is a great place to work for an IT pro. Discuss why IT is important to the business, what technical skills can be gained while working there and how this experience can further build the candidate’s skills. This is important whether you are interviewing for a full-time employee or a contractor. They are all comparing their options, and you’ll want to show them why your company is the best choice.

4. Hone in on the Right Candidate

Whether you’re working with your internal recruiting team or an outside firm, provide timely and specific feedback to them about the candidates you do not select so they can revise their search and not lose time looking for more of the same. This step often gets missed and makes it difficult for hiring managers to change directions after they’ve already spent a lot of time with candidates who aren’t a great fit. That said, the sourcing needs to be adjusted after the feedback is given otherwise even more time will be wasted. So, open communication between all parties involved is crucial.

5. Standardize the Decision

When it comes time to make the decision on which IT candidate to hire, ease the process by having a standard review form or shared document with each interviewers’ feedback recorded. That way, when decision time comes, there is a common framework for everyone to compare notes in order to make the best decision for the team. You can also incorporate a point system, or some other quantifiable data, along with the anecdotal comments—so that you can capture a wide variety of information on that candidate.

What are some other best practices to utilize during the hiring process of IT professionals? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below!

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