3 Things to Look For in an IT Employee
Today’s ideal IT candidates must be capable not only of understanding complex technologies, they must also have a broader understanding of their company's overarching business practices.
IT TechNewsDaily asked three experts for advice on what to look for when hiring an IT employee.
“Business acumen for us is really huge,” said Rachel Behrle, Marketing Communications Manager at Tek Systems, an IT industry recruiting firm. The company must ensure its job candidates perform at a high level and can communicate what they’re doing even to those who are less tech savvy.
“We just need to make sure these folks can go in to speak to the business owners and translate what’s happening,” Behrle says about IT employees.
Tom Sweeney, an IT services manager for Sophos, a computer security firm, agrees that being able to engage with others is a crucial part of an IT employee’s personality. This, Sweeney said, has changed since he began working in IT 30 years ago.
“When I first started in the business you had programmers or operations folks and you kept them in the back room for a reason,” he said. But, due to the growth and development of how IT departments operate today, Sweeney needs employees that want to be involved in customer service.
“What I look for is a desire to serve,” Sweeney said. “I can teach them the rest.” At Sophos, Sweeney is committed to making sure his IT staff responds as quickly as possible to any request and understands how their role impacts the business as a whole. “The time window to make a decision in the business world is a lot smaller,” Sweeney said. "And if my folks aren’t responsive and someone’s down for an hour, that could cost millions of dollars.”
Sweeney prioritizes the value of customer serviceand communication in his employees because he believes that is at the core of a successful business.
“I’m a technical guy,” Sweeney said. “But I hate email. After an email, call the person. Establish a relationship.”
In his opinion, no IT employee should be wedded to their machine. Rather, they should be committed to serving their fellow employees, or customers, as Sweeney calls them.
Never say 'no' attitude
Like Sweeney and Behrle, Ed Yourdon, an IT expert, software consultant and author, believes an IT employee must have an awareness, appreciation and empathy for the actual business needs of the organization. Yourdon recently finished interviewing fifteen Chief Information Officers (CIO's) at companies like Google, Microsoft, the New York Stock Exchange, Verizon and Marriott Hotels for his upcoming novel, “CIO’s at Work.”
During these interviews, Yourdon gathered from the CIO’s what is crucial to the IT industry today and what kind of newcomers they aim to hire.
“The profile they favor is people who never say ‘no’ to a new opportunity, who have an open mind and are flexible about getting into situations that they aren’t familiar with,” Yourdon said. The consummate IT employee, therefore, embraces all aspects of a company, not just its hardware.