PrincePerelson & Associates

Recruiting Top IT Talent: 7 Characteristics to Look For

Information technology (IT) is an ever-growing and expanding field, which touches nearly every other business industry. Everyone from your grocer to your doctor needs some form of IT support. Who are the best IT professionals and how can you make sure you are hiring the right person to manage your network and secure your data? Let’s take a look at the qualities we see in abundance among top-performing IT professionals.

1. Inquisitive

The individuals who thrive in the world of IT are curious. They love learning about new technologies and are first adopters. Most can’t wait to dive in and get their hands dirty, figuring out new ways to use and apply new processes or software. This natural curiosity is necessary in an industry full of updates. The only guarantee today is that things will change tomorrow.

Because there are an endless number of fields that fall under the IT umbrella, it is impossible to be an expert in every area. Leading IT experts are subject matter experts in a single area. However, it is wise to have a working knowledge of related fields. A successful career in IT often requires the talents of many individuals coming together to solve problems in unique ways.

2. Adaptable

While we depend on technology to keep our world operating smoothly, it can be anything but reliable. Servers crash, websites go down, software updates have glitches, and files get deleted. For many businesses, any of these issues could constitute an emergency. For example, customers depend on online banking platforms to make payments and transfer money. A website that is down will frustrate customers and, if it happens too often or for too long, can lead customers to leave. Working off hours or late into the evening can be part of an IT career.

With so many tools available, there is rarely one way to solve a problem. Likewise, the best solution today will be supplanted by a better solution in the future. IT standards change regularly, and professionals need to embrace these changes to stay relevant in their chosen fields.

3. Trustworthy

In our digital world, sensitive information is rarely stored in paper form. Information is stored on servers either on-site or in the cloud. IT professionals are not only responsible for protecting this data from outside intrusion and theft. Employers trust them not to access or use the information for their own benefit. In this area, an IT professional must be beyond reproach. One slip-up could be a career-ending move. It could also carry financial and legal repercussions for the individual and the company.

4. Honest

Sitting in the boardroom without an answer to give your manager is uncomfortable. It is important to remember that you don’t have to have the answer to every question right when asked. IT is a broad field that is constantly evolving. Responding to a question with, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out,” is perfectly acceptable. In fact, making up answers on the fly will not help build your credibility with the IT team or your boss. Finding the right answer will help to keep the team on track and lead others to trust your advice.

5. Meticulous

Planning out the details is an integral part of IT operations. Deploying software updates during off-peak hours requires a step-by-step plan. Even the best laid plans are often laid to rest. Great IT professionals plan for the unexpected. They understand the stakes of everything they do, and they have a plan for when things go sideways. Experience and education have taught them to have a rollback plan and a system backup they can rely on.

The best IT professionals not only have a plan, but they document every fix and every failure. Keeping a record allows them to solve the problem once and put it behind them. If it happens again, they won’t have to reinvest a solution from scratch. It is a known issue with a documented solution.

6. Collaborator

IT teams are most likely to succeed when they are composed of individuals, all experts in their respective fields, who share their knowledge and incorporate the expertise of all to find solutions. Every team member has something to contribute. Team members need to be willing to listen and compromise even when best practices conflict. For example, the best internet security measures may create a cumbersome customer experience, which is bad for business. Individuals should bring their expertise to the table but consider the big picture.

7. Communicator

Speaking about tech topics with other technology experts is the easy part. Translating that same information to inform business executives about the IT team’s recommendations requires more finesse. Ideas need to be expressed in terms that business leaders understand and that help them make informed decisions. It is also essential to consider how IT decisions will affect the business. Communicating effectively and listening effectively are key to this process.

As it continues to grow and expand, the field of information technology will continue to be an integral part of the business world. Recruiting IT professionals with the qualities and skills to keep your company up to date and running smoothly will be vital to keeping up with the competition. Knowing what to look for when you are hiring is the first step to making an excellent hiring decision.

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Recruiting Top IT Talent: 7 Characteristics to Look For