When A CIO hires someone, they want to do it correctly

When A CIO hires someone, they want to do it correctly
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IT Managers realize that your success rests firmly on the shoulders of those people who are on your team. What this means is that the process of hiring someone is one of your a critical IT manager skills. Hire the right person and you’ll move forward, hire the wrong person and you may stumble or even be asked to leave the firm. How can you go about doing this correctly?

Interview People, Of Course

In all honesty, the interview is the least effective way of finding out if a candidate is the right person for a job. The reason for this is that, of course, they are on their best behavior during the interview. If they are good at hiding their flaws then you’ll never be able to detect it during the short time that you sit and talk with them. There is nothing in our IT manager training that will allow us to get more out of an interview.

All too often we end up making our hiring decisions based on our human judgment. The problem with this is that all too often, we’re wrong. There can be a number of different reasons for this, but the biggest one that I’ve found is that when I meet someone new I end up mapping them to someone that I already know. This can end up hiding a lot of the new person’s faults.

Considering how important this new person is going to be to your career, you’d really like to have a chance to get inside of their head. However, during an interview all you have to go on is what they chose to put on their resume. In the end, you just can’t find out what you need to know about the person during an interview.

Simulate The Job

A much better way to determine if someone is the right person for the job is to have them actually do the job. There is no other way that a faker will be exposed than to ask them to actually perform the work that you are thinking about hiring them to do.

Let the candidate know what issues your IT team is currently facing and then let them simulate performing the job that you are hiring for. We are not talking about something that can be accomplished in 30 minutes. Rather we are talking about something that is going to take from 8-40 hours to complete. Yes, that’s an investment, but considering how important finding the right person is I think that it’s worth it.

Ultimately, you’re going to walk away from this exercise with a better feel for if this person is the right person for the job. The flip side is that they will also have a much better understanding of what the job is going to entail. If it turns out that they no longer want the job, then they will have saved both of you a lot of pain and suffering by walking away.

Check Out Off-List References

References are something that I believe are a very important part of the hiring process. However, in this day and age I don’t think that we spend enough time checking them out. Most resumes have between one and three references listed on them; however, these are generally useless.

The reason that they are useless is because the candidate has already talked with these people and gotten them to agree to say only nice things about him or her. In order to determine what type of person your candidate really is, you are going to have to dig deeper.

This means that you are going to have to find and talk with off-list references. This means that you are going to want to find other people who have worked with this person and get their real impressions of them. Use your network of friends and associates to find these people. This way when you find them, they’ll feel obligated to provide you with an honest assessment of your candidate.

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

No matter how well you understand IT team building, that’s not what is going to make you a successful IT Manager. Instead, it’s the quality of the team that you are able to build that is going to determine your eventual success as an IT manager. This means that you need to learn how to pick the right people.

In order to fully evaluate the candidate for a job, you will, of course, need to start out by conducting a traditional interview. Next you’ll want to provide the candidate with an opportunity to actually perform the job. Finally, take the time to check out references that they didn’t provide you with.

There’s no doubt that you can be successful as an IT manager. However, you’re going to have to master the art of hiring the right people. In order to do this you’ll need to learn how to use these three tips to make sure that you invite the right people to join your team.

- Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: When a job candidate is performing a job, what should you be looking for?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Time, time, time. If only we all had more of it! As an IT manager the day can get away from us early on and we’ll never have a chance to get it back. None of us have the IT manager skills that are needed to prevent this from happening. What we really need are some tips on how we can get more time during the day so that we can get more done. It turns out that there are ways that we can reclaim our day, we just need to know how to go looking for them.

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IT managers need to get their team members to take a chill pill

IT managers need to get their team members to take a chill pill
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Isn’t it the dream of every IT manager to have the IT manager skills to create a fully committed team? A team that understands what you are trying to accomplish as a team, has fully bought in to that dream, and is aggressively working to achieve your goals? It turns out that there is a dark side to this dream. You need to be aware of what that dark side is and how you can deal with it before it causes your team to burn out…

The Downside of Having An A-Team

At first glance, having a totally committed team would appear to be an IT manager’s dream. Just think about it: your team “gets it”. Those things that your management has asked you to accomplish are what your team is willing to work on. When you are not there, you know that they are still moving forward because they truly believe in the team’s goals.

Yes, this is a good thing. However, there is a downside to all of this. There are a few things that never get covered in any IT manager training that we take. It is entirely possible that the members of your team who are so committed to accomplishing the team’s goals are going to end up burning themselves out. There’s just no way that you can fully commit yourself to accomplishing a task without starting to come apart around the edges.

As an IT manager you are going to have to be looking for the tell-tale signs of burnout to start to happen within your team’s Type A’s. What you’ll start to see among your team members will be exhaustion, a loss of motivation, team members not taking care of themselves, and perhaps even health problems. This is exactly what you’d like to prevent from happening in the first place.

How To Prevent Team Burnout

As an IT manager it is your job to stop burnout from happening to your team before it happens. This means several things for you. First, you are going to have to identify the Type A’s on your team – they are the most likely to burnout. Next you are going to have to keep a careful eye on them to detect if they are starting to have problems.

What you’d like to do is to take steps to prevent burnout before it happens. One of the ways that you can do this is by stopping everything that your team is doing. The reason that burnout will happen is that your Type As are going to get too consumed by their work. By calling a halt to all work, you can get their attention.

Take the team off site. Get them out of the office. This is not an IT team building exercise. Rather it is a chance for your team to take a break and spend time together not working. The key is that there needs to be no agenda and no structure to these events. As an IT manager, you need to be willing to step in and command some time for your team to have fun.

What All Of This Means For You

One of an IT manager’s greatest challenges is to get your team fully motivated. However, it turns out that if you are able to do this, there is a dark side to it. Members of your team may be TOO motivated and may start to become burned out as they fully throw themselves into achieving your team’s goals.

In order to prevent burnout from happening, as the IT manager you need to take action. You need to pull your team out of their work environment and have them focus on doing something else for a while. Forget team building, just have the team kick back and enjoy spending time together not working. This will allow you’re a Type A’s to chill out and will prevent burnout.

Building a high performing IT team is never easy to do. Keeping that team operating at top speed without suffering a burnout is the next step for an IT manager. Take the time to allow your team to “decompress” and you’ll be able to keep them on track and not burning out!

- Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: If a team member starts to burn out, what steps should the IT manager take?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

IT Managers realize that your success rests firmly on the shoulders of those people who are on your team. What this means is that the process of hiring someone is one of your a critical IT manager skills. Hire the right person and you’ll move forward, hire the wrong person and you may stumble or even be asked to leave the firm. How can you go about doing this correctly?

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