Make Sure Your IT Hires are Top Performers

Posted on: September 10th, 2012 - Written by: John Blomberg

Research shows that a few as 25 percent of all new employees ever emerge as top performers. Hiring top performers can turbo-charge your company’s performance. This applies to IT as well as to the general employee base. The big concern is hiring the right person for each job. In assembling a development team, putting the appropriately skilled people in place is critical. We’ve assembled these rules to help accomplish this.

Rid Job Descriptions of Vagueness

When employees know they must meet concrete expectations, they are more likely to accomplish them.

Use Your Own Networks

Recruit from within the fruits of your in-depth networking to find the people that can make a difference in your company. Especially in IT, it gives you a head start to be able to depend on your network for finding the right skills with the necessary experience.

Go Beyond the Résumé and Have Candidates Provide Reference Interviews

Require detailed performance evaluations, competencies and quantified contributions. Administer tests if you would like, to ensure that resume information hasn’t inflated capabilities. Have the candidate arrange interviews with recent managers or supervisors. Failure or refusal to fulfill these requests is clearly a red flag.

Hire Slow – Fire Fast

Don’t be rushed into a hire. Take your time. Considering the impact your hiring decision can have on your company, make sure that everything about each hire makes sense and that it feels right to you. On the flip side, when a hire doesn’t work out, don’t delay in nipping it in the bud. Keeping a mismatch on board adds stress to other employees, to you and consumes unnecessary resources.  Allowing the wrong hire to remain o a development team can just about seal a dim fate for the projects with which they are involved.

Try Out Full-Time Candidates

Hire potential full-timers for contract projects to make sure they fit in with your company and will be lasting employees. Use this opportunity to identify their attitudes and habits in delivering work and accomplishing tasks. This is a very important component for IT skills. This confirms the skill levels, delivery speeds and work ethics.

Interview by Seeking Candidate Contributions and Content

Seek out candidates’ contributions to their previous organizations and probe into how they would do the same for you. Ask about failures and find out why they happened.

Bring in an Interview Partner

Having two perspectives improves your chances of making sure your choice fits the needs of the job and the culture of the company. If you are not an IT person, make sure that multiple members of your IT staff interview your technical candidates. If you don’t have the IT expertise to do this, bring in expertise in the form of a partner, board member of advisor.

Mentor your New Hire

Share short- and long-term goals and why they are what they are. Share your company’s culture and how it came to be. Share the benefit of your experience in order to make them a better employee for your company. If you don’t feel that you are the appropriate coach because of the skill set of the hire, identify another senior level person with the appropriate skills and share coaching responsibilities. If you are the owner-foundner, you are, without a doubt, the best person to share the companies goals and culture with new hires.

Measure, Analyze and Tweak

Keep track of your process and attach all pertinent details:

  • Success or failure of hire
  • Progress and pace of progress
  • Quantifiable and intangible contributions

Make sure you know how much failed hires cost you

  • Calculate your ROI on recruiting
  • Treat it just like a major investment in equipment or technology

Use your knowledge to make improvements to your hiring process

  • Update/add questions
  • Include more/less people in the process
  • Cover emerging workforce topics (such as social media)
  • Add checkpoints (such as background checks) when appropriate

These rules are the product of experience and research. Our development needs and our pursuit of excellence has helped us hone are hiring skills. We’ve also learned from others through involvement in organizations, such as EO – a membership based organization that gives entrepreneurs an environment for peer learning and once in a lifetime experiences, and by reading works of proven experts such as Bradford D. Smart, president of Smart & Associates – an executive assessment and training firm.

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