6 Strategies To Assess The Skills Of Your IT Candidates
When you have an open IT position, you want to move high-quality IT candidates into the position. By high-quality, we mean those who:
- have the skills necessary to fill the position competently;
- display clear problem-solving abilities; and
- are ready to take on the challenges associated with your open position every day.
Unfortunately, many interviews are relatively short.
You may find yourself relying on candidates to provide you with information about their skills and simply having to trust them. And that’s not always an effective strategy.
By utilizing some of these key strategies, you can make your interviews more effective as you screen each candidate and develop a better understanding of their skills.
Strategy #1: Get The Tech Team Involved
If your tech team isn’t already involved in the interview process for your organization, they should be! Your tech team will be the ones working with this individual every day.
Not only that, they already have a strong understanding of exactly what skills are needed in order to hold down the open position every day. They’ll know what questions to ask, often coming up with questions that you might not have thought of, and what language to use to frame them.
In addition, an experienced tech team will be able to get a better idea of when a candidate actually knows what they’re talking about and when they’re trying to fake an answer. Bring them in during the interview process and give them the opportunity to question the candidate.
You can use a single member of your IT team to do a tech assessment early in the process or bring in the whole team for a group interview as a candidate nears the end stages of the interview process.
Strategy #2: Present A Real-World Problem
If you really want to assess a candidate’s technical skills, have them sit down and actually work on a real-world problem. For example:
- Are you working with hardware? Have them sit down and reassemble a piece that’s been taken apart.
- Hiring for a help desk position? Encourage your candidates to actually take a call or two.
Make sure you adapt the situation so that candidates aren’t faced with problems related to tools or programs with which they have no experience, but give them a chance to actually show their stuff in a real-world environment. This will quickly allow you to sort out the candidates who are competent and capable from those who have only a basic-level understanding of the skills on their resumes.
Offering a real-world problem will also allow you to see how a candidate uses their problem-solving skills. It’ll let you evaluate how they react to being put on the spot. And it will also show how long it could take them to perform various job tasks.
Strategy #3: Give A Test
One of the easiest ways to determine what candidates know is to give them a test.
Sit down with the tech team and ask them to identify questions that will display the skills your IT candidates will need in order to function within the job environment. Then, put together a test that will allow you to reasonably assess those skills. Using this test early in the hiring process saves your company time and money otherwise spent on unfit candidates.
There are also several online platforms that will host those tests, making it easier to administer them to your candidates.
Strategy #4: Check The Candidate’s Track Record
Look at the candidate’s previous positions, then get a real idea of their responsibilities in those roles. Research their work history to find out answers to questions like:
- What skills have they used on a daily basis?
- How have they adapted those skills and grown as a professional?
Make sure to contact references and chat with them about the candidate’s capability and their job responsibilities: while IT candidates may exaggerate their experience in an effort to get a better job, references are more likely to give an honest assessment of their experience. Talking with references will also give you a better idea of a candidate’s personality, attitude, and capability.
You might not want to call references before you even have a chance to talk with a candidate. But you should certainly contact those references before making an offer.
Strategy #5: Find Help
Are you interviewing for a technical position with little idea of how this particular skill set works? If so, it’s perfectly acceptable to recruit help for the interview!
Whether you ask the individual who is leaving to sit in on the interview or turn to an industry professional to help you shape the technical questions you need—and understand their answers—it can be very helpful to have a professional on hand to identify the difference between a capable technical candidate and one who lacks the skills you need.
This ensures you’re not blindsided by a candidate who appears to have great technical skills but isn’t ready for the position.
Strategy #6: Don’t Forget Soft Skills
Soft skills are just as important for your IT candidates as the hard tech skills you’re looking for. Make sure your interview includes specific behavioral questions that will allow you to assess a candidate’s soft skills.
Consider, for example, asking candidates to identify how they would handle a moral or ethical dilemma. Or, provide them with a problem-solving question about how they would handle an unknown situation. It can also be helpful to require candidates to submit a written communication. Having them explain an answer to a technical problem on a whiteboard can immediately illustrate their skills. Both of these strategies will give you an idea of how the candidate communicates.
Carefully evaluating soft skills during the interview process gives you a better idea of how candidates will perform.
We’re Here To Help Assess Your IT Candidates
Identifying the tech skills of your candidates is a critical part of the hiring process. If you’d like to make that process easier by working with a technical recruiting firm that’s ready to help you with your hiring process, contact us today. We’re here to make your journey to the ideal candidate as smooth as possible.