Five tips for hiring

When you need to hire an IT worker, nothing but the best will do. If you haven't had to use your recruitment or hiring skills in a long time, a refresher may be in order. I recently spoke with Steve Hall of the recruitment firm Find Great People International for some advice on choosing top IT talent.

As director of professional recruiting for FGP in Greenville, S.C., Hall has seen an uptick in hiring. Whether you need to replace a departing employee or are expanding your IT staff, consider Hall's five tips for bringing in the best candidates:

  • Hire only people who excite you. IT folks are very much guided towards hiring a techie because of technical ability, Hall says. But you also want someone who is going to move you, someone you can relate to, and someone who shares similar personal values. The person who rivets you will also rivet your clients, his or her colleagues, and the general public.

  • Don't take risks when hiring. Resumes and gut feelings can be misleading. Ask specific, quantifiable questions about the IT pro's past performance such as "How much money did you save your former employer?", "How many RFPs did you write?" and "What was your single, most significant contribution?" The answers will help you ferret out actual ability.

  • Develop a winning job description. Job descriptions should be clear, concrete and concise, spelling out objectives and expectations. Most of the job descriptions Hall receives are vague boilerplates, so he speaks to the hiring manager to pull out what's not mentioned.

  • Hire only people who will be challenged by their new positions. Choose someone who shows potential for career progression who can grow into a new role. Minimize turnover by plugging the right applicants into growth-oriented positions.

  • Slow down. While it's tempting to rush to plug the hole in the dike, consider bringing in help on a contract basis so you can take the time to find a good fit. Ask for input from your team and value employee referrals.

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