22 May

How to Identify Good Candidates for Jobs in Information Technology

Posted by John Brandwagt

Tech talent is supposed to be plentiful, yet hiring managers are having a difficult time spotting it. The Brookfield Institute’s 2016 “The State of Canada’s Tech Sector” report found that as of 2015, Canada has employed 864,000 IT professionals. While these results are impressive, the fact remains that Canada faces an ongoing IT skills shortage. Unfortunately, many hiring managers don’t know how to recognize valuable skills or find great candidates.

Companies and organizations need IT professionals who already have veteran industry experience under their belt. That’s why many managers seek passive candidates over unemployed workers. But this doesn’t mean the latter group should be ignored entirely. Managers must locate candidates who exhibit great potential for jobs in information technology.

Hiring managers shouldn’t rule out pinpointing prospective candidates with great potential, because often these candidates are highly adaptable and enthusiastic about growing into a variety of different roles. For this reason, we’ve gathered some strategies that will help readers spot candidates who possess tech expert potential!

How Do Their Soft Skills Stack Up?

A candidate needs strong credentials to make an impression on hiring managers. Yet their social intelligence and their communications skills are just as important. It’s impossible to be a good leader or team player without a set of soft skills that will back up technical expertise. Candidates who lack interpersonal skills in an interview might not be a good cultural fit within a deadline-oriented environment.

Innovative jobs in information technology rely heavily on “team intelligence.” This concept describes the way teams function off shared knowledge and other strengths. A study from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)determined that digital transformation will be driven by cross-functional teams whose team intelligence enables them to iterate projects in a highly collaborative manner.

You need to determine your candidates’ capacity to work in these environments before you hire them. Ask behavioural and communications-based questions to determine the strengths of a candidates’ soft skills during an interview. Pay attention to how clear and concise their resumes, applications, and thank you notes are. These details can help you determine whether they’ll fit in with your company’s shifting culture.

Can Candidates Reverse-Engineer a Problem?

Tech professionals must be exceptional problem solvers, especially when they work in entry-level positions. Having all the credentials in the world won’t count for much if candidatescan’t put their hard skills to work. For example, IT technicians are often the frontline of IT customer service at companies. They don’t just concoct solutions for simple computer system issues a customer may be experiencing, but must come up with solutions for bigger, organizational infrastructure problems as well. 

Even specialist positions require strong problem solving skills. Data scientists, business analysts and mobile app designers frequently think on their feet while on the job. Whether its Big Data statistics that need to be communicated in a relatable way to business units or mobile apps that need to work on all the latest smartphones, every IT position involves some form of problem solving. 

Ensure that you give candidates questions that test their abilities inproblem-solving situations. Ask them to explain how they’ve experienced difficulties, and what they’ve done to counteract them. If candidates can successfully reverse-engineer their solution and explain their strategy, they may be diamonds in the rough!

What Do Their Social Media Presences Look Like?

Don’t discount prospective candidates who have strong social media presences. It’s a great sign if they use their LinkedIn or Twitter to engage with digital trends and experts. See if they’ve written articles for their LinkedIn page and investigate their networks. These are great ways to separate the passionate from the merely opportunistic candidates. And the bottom line is, you need your next IT professionals to be as innovative as they are driven.

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Topics: IT Recruiting

John Brandwagt

John is a Practice Leader at Inteqna. He’s been working in IT Search in Calgary since 1997. He works best with selective job seekers—those who excel at what they do and enjoy their current jobs. Since they don’t have time to look for themselves, he helps them find their dream jobs. From a client perspective, he helps organizations find the talent that will propel their business. John is involved in several of Calgary’s technical user groups and has held board roles in non-profit groups. He is a single dad of four boys who try to beat him at every physical activity from hiking to rugby.

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