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8 classic IT hiring mistakes and how to avoid them

Learn to make better hires and build loyal, skilled and collaborative teams

By , Network World
January 07, 2013 12:11 PM ET

Page 2 of 4

Companies instead should emphasize behavioral traits such as the applicant's ability to learn, problem-solving skills, adaptation level, and capacity for innovative thinking and collaboration.

Singh recommends incorporating interviewing techniques that assess soft skills, such as how candidates would handle certain common scenarios, and giving those results equal weight in hiring decisions. Companies should look for strong customer service, problem-solving and communications skills.

Fitting in is also important.

"An organization must adequately source candidates that carry the appropriate social aptitude for quickly assimilating into the team in order to make an immediate impact," says Joel Capparella, vice president for talent and outsourcing provider Yoh.

Capparella relies on agile development methodologies to determine if a candidate will be a good collaborative fit across an entire IT team, including business analysis, programming and quality assurance.

Don't forget to have the candidate meet the actual IT team as well, advises Jon Grimes, CTO at office space finder The SquareFoot. "Team chemistry is probably one of the most important aspects of a hire. No matter how competent the candidate might be, if they are difficult to work with, they become a bad apple and can ruin a team's morale," he says.

3. Taking a short-term view of hiring.

Hiring managers sometimes recruit for their immediate demands instead of factoring in the technology and leadership skills they'll need down the road.

For instance, they laser-focus on finding Java developers instead of looking for IT professionals with a broader Web development skill set. "Leaders try to find a needle in a haystack because they believe that one skill is going to make or break the organization," says Amelia Generalis, vice president of business HR for SAP Cloud.

Will Farley, webmaster at development firm Web Power Labs, says hiring for low wages just to get the job done can be just as shortsighted. For instance, Farley recently posted entry-level developer positions on Craigslist and through a local university.

From those efforts, he hired two university students who would receive class credit in lieu of pay and a local programmer who would accept an hourly wage. "The two students were unreliable and were dismissed for poor attendance and the Craigslist applicant could not perform and was unwilling to learn new methods and was also dismissed," Farley says.

His conclusion: "I wasted a lot of time recruiting, training, scheduling and the like with no payoff. I will not seek low-cost individuals for an IT position in the future."

Not only does short-term, narrow recruitment force multiple hiring sessions (now and down the road) for the same position, but limits the talent pool. Creating a long-term vision for the position attracts candidates that could be better assets to the entire company.

One approach is to train current employees to plug immediate skill gaps. Then, hiring managers can take time to consult with their peers across the enterprise to identify upcoming projects and their anticipated expertise.

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