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Seven tips for hiring the best IT professionals in a post-PC world
The biggest challenge for IT managers today is dealing with the massive changes in workplace technology and the role of IT in managing and supporting it. BYOD, cloud services, mobile apps, and enterprise social media are radically transforming how end users, executives, and IT staff interact with technology.
In many ways this transformation is positive, particularly when it leads to increased productivity, collaboration, and employee satisfaction.
There are also downsides. One of those is trying to divine what skills or attributes the IT workers of the future will need to succeed. That's a particularly big challenge if you're in charge of hiring the IT staff members that your organization will need over the course of the next decade.
Here are seven tips that will help you make the best choices when looking at candidates for the majority of IT positions.
- Accept that IT five years from now is impossible to predict. When you're hiring for almost any position (in IT or any other field), you want hire candidates that will be around in ten years. But nobody knows what IT will look like in five years, much less ten. Pundits and consultants may try, but five years ago no one predicted the iPhone and Android phones would become the most popular business smartphones while the BlackBerry desperately clings to life. No one predicted the iPad, its success, or today's tablet market in any way, shape, or form. The vast majority of IT folks would've scoffed at the idea of BYOD. Those massive changes, along with the popularity of services like Dropbox and the incredible growth of social media, are still in their infancy.
- Focus less on what people know and more on how they learn. Because the future of IT is an open-ended question, you can't know which skills and knowledge will be needed down the road. So strive to understand how a candidate expects to expand their skill set, and how proactive they will be in doing so. Ask questions to figure out whether they will seek out knowledge online, use self-study options like books and online resources such as Lynda.com, request to attend conferences, or if they prefer classroom-based study at a training center or college. Ideally, you'll find a self-starter who will update their skills and knowledge as needed with minimal prompting.
Act like you're hiring Apple store geniuses. One of Apple's greatest achievements is the Genius Bar in the company's retail stores. Apple geniuses are hired as much for their passion and desire to engage users in conversation as they are for their technical skills. That model has been so successful in fostering a positive support experience that it's being duplicated at internal help and advice centers by a growing range of companies. You may not be creating a service and advice desk based on the Genius Bar concept, but every person you hire for a user-facing position should be that easy to engage with and able to deliver that positive user experience.
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