How To Hire IT People: What They Never Told You

To Succeed, You're Going To Need To Hire The Right People
To Succeed, You’re Going To Need To Hire The Right People

Congratulations – you’re an IT leader. Now go hire someone. Wait a minute, did anyone ever take the time to tell you just exactly how you should go about hiring staff? I mean, you’ve been on the other side of the table when you were looking for a job, but what are you supposed to do differently when you are the one doing the hiring?

Where To Find People To Hire

All too often when you go looking for information on how to do a better job of hiring people, you’ll run into a lot of rules about what NOT to do when you are hiring. All that legal stuff is important, but we’re not going to talk about it here.

Instead, let’s talk about where it all starts – finding people to hire. When a position opens up on your team, you’d like to think that the folks in the HR department will magically present you with a list of the best candidates, right?

The bad news here is that you are really the one who knows the most about what you are looking for. In order to be able to choose from the best group of candidates, you need to be the one who finds the best people to apply for your job.

This means that it’s time for you to get out your network and start reaching out to both people that you know who could be good candidates as well as to people who might know people who should apply. Keep in mind that you don’t really need a lot of people to apply for your job, just a few very good candidates will take care of your needs.

What To Do With A Stack Of Resumes?

Once you’ve got a group of people who would like to be considered for your open position, very quickly you’re going to be looking at a stack of resumes from these candidates. If you are not careful here, you may find yourself quickly overwhelmed.

If you’ve never been told what to look for in a resume, then the different formats and font styles may just cause you to become confused. What you really need here is a plan.

Your best approach is to use a two-pass method to process all of the resumes. The first pass should be a quick one and has a simple goal: you want to weed out the applicants who are clearly not qualified for the job. Make sure that you know what the minimum candidate qualifications are and get rid of any resume that doesn’t meet all of these.

Your second pass is going to be more detailed. The good news is that your stack of resumes should be much smaller now. You are going to be looking for three things this time through:


  • <strongAchievement: you are looking for candidates that have been successful in their past jobs. You want proof that they have been able to achieve clear results.



  • <strongMatching Career Goals: does the job that you are trying to fill match with the next step on the candidate’s career path? Would it be a step back or too much of a step up?



  • <strongGood appearance: at this point in time, you’ve got nothing else to go on and so how the resume looks should convince you that this person is able to do good work.


When you are done with this pass, you want to walk away with a list of your top candidates that you want to move forward with and invite to do face-to-face interviews.

What All Of This Means For You

For IT Leaders, finding yourself on the other side of the table during the hiring process can come as quite a shock. If nobody has taken the time to explain to you how to do this, then you may end up not hiring the right people for the right job.

The responsibility for making sure that qualified candidates apply for your open position falls on your shoulders. Once you have a pile of resumes, using a two-pass process you can quickly process them and create a list of high quality candidates.

In order for an IT Leader to be successful, you’re going to need to have the highest quality IT team supporting you. It’s your responsibility to make sure that when you have an opening on your team, you do a good job of hiring someone to fill it. Use these suggestions and you’ll find that the hiring process isn’t as hard as it looks!

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

Question For You: How many candidates do you think is enough for an IT position?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When I talk with new IT managers, more often than not they tell me that their biggest challenge is getting good at hiring the right people for their teams. One of the reasons that this is so challenging is because it’s new to them. What they don’t know yet, is that hiring is only one side of the coin – retaining your staff is the other side and it turns that this can be an even bigger challenge.