12 Common IT Hiring Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Bringing a new employee into your IT department has the potential to make or break your team. Avoid these common hiring mistakes and build a team of IT pros that fire on all cylinders.

Thu, January 31, 2013

CIO — Bringing a new hire into you IT department is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, he could be just the right fit to boost your output and help reach business goals. On the other hand, he could have a negative effect that results in missed deadlines or a decline in morale of your entire IT team.

That's why finding the right candidate is so important. As a hiring manager, you need to do everything you can to minimize the risk throughout the hiring process. Here are 12 common mistakes IT managers make, along with advice on how to take a more successful approach.

Mentor/Mentee Relationship

1. Not being well-prepared for the interview. Let's face it: Most managers are busy people, which can lead to a common IT hiring mistake. According to Ron Lichty, co-author of "Managing the Unmanageable," most hiring managers don't adequately prepare for interviews.

"The typical hiring manager reads the resume on the way to meet the candidate. That's not preparation," says Lichty. A job interview can be a subjective situation from both perspectives. As a hiring manager, you need to be sure you are weighing all your candidates against the same criteria. If you've done a good job with your description, you should be able to use that to help measure one resume or candidate against another.

Another important mantra for IT hiring managers, according to Licthy: Always be hiring. "To be effective at always recruiting means being out in the technical community meeting potential hires, staying connected with your network and building relationships," says Lichty.

2. Not performing a phone interview. Not screening candidates is another mistake that managers make early in the hiring process. In a previous CIO.com article on identifying superstar developers, director of recruiting at Lextech Chad Lilly discussed the importance of using this time to weed out candidates who wouldn't make it through the interviewing process. Many times a 20-minute call can save you hours of interviewing and ensure the people who actually make it to the interview are qualified.

3. Having an interview instead of a discussion. "The interviewer should focus on asking experience-based questions. Managers should dig deeper than the typical "what are your strengths and weaknesses'," says Paul Silvio, senior vice president of Modis, an IT staffing firm.

Modis, for example, has a format where instead of interviewees just saying they worked on a certain project, prospective employees must explain their individual participation and what they were able to make, save or achieve for the company.

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