4 tips for assessing IT skills and experience
If you are charged with hiring a competent, experienced, trained IT pro to fill an open position, you know how difficult it can be. The process takes time and money. According to ITWorld.com, the hiring process is taking even longer these days. “The average time-to-hire for workers in the U.S. across all jobs was 22.9 days, with more complex jobs taking longer to fill. For example, it took, on average, 87.6 days to hire a patent examiner.”
One problem hiring managers run into is accurately assessing a job applicant’s qualifications. This can be especially difficult if they aren’t familiar with the technical terms and programs related to the job. So, we put together these 4 tips that can help find the right person, with the needed skills and experience.
Tip #1: Review the job description
One of the biggest problems in the hiring process comes down to the job description. According to ERE Media, “Job description review is where technical screening and skills matching starts to either come together or fall apart.”
Start by making sure the hiring manager has a basic understanding of the technical terms in the description and how they are applied to the job in question. If there are questions about what something means, now is the time to ask. Also, look for contradictory information. For example, make sure the job title description lines up with what the job really entails – say the job title is for a C# Developer, but what you really need is a SQL Developer with C# development experience.
Tip #2: Carefully evaluate resumes
Of course, make sure that the person’s training, certifications, and skills match what is needed for the particular job. You also want to consider other big picture things, such as the work environment, pace required, and overall makeup of the team. According to ERE Media, “Review the resume to find questions and answers that either complement or are inconsistent with the job description.”
Tip #3: Evaluate skill levels and experience
This third step can be the most challenging aspect of the hiring process. There are a few ways to evaluate a person’s technical skills level.
Have an outside company to verify tech skills.
If you don’t have someone available in-house, there are a number of testing companies that can offer assessments in areas like program experience, programming languages, coding, verifying skills, and even include real-life programming tasks. According to monster.com, “Testing companies like Prove It!, Brainbench, ReviewNet Services, and eSkill Corporation tell you where candidates are strong and weak and how they compare to others who take tests covering popular technology.”
Bring in your own experts.
It’s a good idea to have current tech employees conduct screenings and take part in interviews. According to Jamie Delsing, Managing Partner of Consultis, “Often, hiring managers don’t have the technical knowledge to validate a candidate’s skills during an interview. An IT staff member can provide insight by asking questions that will allow the candidate to demonstrate their experience.”
Having someone on staff involved in the process is a bonus because he or she will already know what the job requires. You can even come up with problems that the candidates have to solve, based on actual tasks.
If you don’t have an IT person on staff, monster.com suggests you “Borrow an IT expert.” “Saxon InfoTech has a deep staff it can turn to for interview help, but when it needs to hire in new niches, it reaches out to its network to find someone in a different company in the same industry to help in the interview process.”
Always check the references.
This seems like a given, but it’s easy to forget this step. Make sure you talk to supervisors or managers for the company in question. Be sure to cover not just the candidate’s technical abilities, but also their capacity for soft skills like collaboration and self-discipline.
If you work with an IT recruiting firm to find candidates, insist on seeing the results of the references.
At Consultis, we know how to assess IT talent to find candidates with the right training and experience. We’ve spent more than 33 years connecting clients and talent to ensure the perfect fit. If you have a job need, contact us today to get started.