Top Soft Skills to Look for in IT Talent

October 16th, 2015

Just because a software developer can write code that compiles cleanly the first time around doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for your open position. There’s more to IT jobs than technical competence. Most technical work is done as part of a team, which means leadership, followership, and interpersonal skills are also needed on a daily basis. Look for the following soft skills when you assess a technical job candidate:

  • Communication.

Technical workers need to be able to communicate clearly with their technical peers, their management, and end users. Written communication skills are as important as verbal, due to the need to write technical documentation. If communication will be a major part of the job, asking the candidate to give a presentation as part of the interview process is helpful.

  • Problem solving.

Whether designing an application or resolving a production issue, technical jobs are about coming up with solutions. Ask the candidate to work through a real problem your team has encountered. The specific solution they come up with isn’t as important as the approach they take to solving it.

  • Business knowledge.

Technical knowledge will help the IT team build the solution right, but it’s business knowledge that will help make sure the right solution is built. The more your IT team understands about your business needs, the more effectively the technical solutions they implement will satisfy them.

  • Motivation.

The ideal employee cares about more than just their paycheck. They care about making a contribution, getting the job done, and making sure it’s done well. Motivated employees will step outside their job description when necessary to solve a problem. They’ll push through when schedules are tight, to make sure the project gets completed.

  • Adaptability.

Technology changes quickly, so you want your employees to be eager to keep their technical skills up-to-date. Most technical workers want to use the latest technologies, so that’s not usually a problem. More difficult is the ability to adapt to nontechnical changes. When business priorities change, resulting in changes in project priorities, that can be frustrating to IT staff. Look for job candidates who will be able to take these changes in stride, and contribute their best – even when things change.

InReach IT Solutions assesses candidates for both their technical and soft skills to make sure they can do the job.  Contact us to find out how our services can help meet your staffing needs.

Interview Red Flags to Avoid

September 25th, 2015

An interview with a candidate is all about finding the next right person for a position. Sometimes several candidates do well during their interview, and you need to make the hiring decision based on subtle differences between them. Sometimes one candidate stands out so strongly they’re the obvious hire. And sometimes a candidate can stand out strongly in the wrong direction. Here are four red flags that let you know this likely is not the right person for the job.

  1. They give evasive answers. If you’re not getting straight answers to your questions, the candidate may be trying to hide something. Candidates should be able to provide supporting details and examples that back up the skills, experience, and job roles they listed on their resume. If they give evasive answers, it’s possible they don’t really have the strengths they claim. Ask follow-up questions to push for further information and get beyond rehearsed responses to judge whether the candidate really knows their stuff.
  1. They don’t know anything about your company. No candidate will know the details of your specific department, but you should expect them to know the basics of your business and industry. With the Internet, it’s no more than a few minutes for anyone to learn your company’s mission and what distinguishes it from its competitors. Candidates who haven’t done that may be lacking initiative and curiosity about this opportunity.
  1. They treat staff disrespectfully. You need your new employees to fit in with your organization. This means treating all your staff respectfully, regardless of gender, race, or their role in your firm, so make sure the interviewee meets with people at various levels and take all their feedback into consideration. Even whether the candidate shows up on time gives you input into how they will interact with your staff.
  1. They disparage former employers. There are two reasons to pay attention to how candidates talk about their former employers. First, you want to see whether they blame the employer for any problems or difficulties on the job, or whether they take responsibility for the challenges they faced. Second, if you become this person’s employer, you may eventually become their former employer as well. If they badmouth former employers in this interview, in the future they may treat your company the same way.

One of the advantages of working with a staffing agency is that we pre-screen candidates so you don’t waste your time speaking with candidates who raise these red flags. Contact In Reach IT Solutions to find out how we can help you find your next employee.