For the hiring process to be effective, you must lay the groundwork before you place your first job posting. Unfortunately, as work piles up, it's tempting to put the planning process aside in favor of filling the position.
But it's hard to hire the right IT specialist if you haven't defined specifically the combination of technical skills, hands-on experience and industry knowledge you need. You're not just trying to fill a job; you're looking for someone who can add value, enhance your bottom line and advance the objectives of the organization. By hiring simply to close a vacancy rather than strategically satisfy the needs and requirements of your firm or department, you run the risk of selecting the wrong person. To avoid this costly mistake, consider the following guidelines.
Forecast your Workload. This is the cornerstone of a strategic approach to staffing. Based on current activity levels and foreseeable business in the future, what do you anticipate your firm or department's workload to be? This step will help you decide which type of technology employee is required - full-time, part-time or contract—or whether you even need a new hire at all.
Evaluate current personnel resources. Which key technical skills do you have on staff and which are you lacking? Are your employees' talents being fully utilized, or is there room to promote from within?
Create a job description. This is a brief but important document that provides a snapshot of the job and serves as a basis for hiring criteria. A well-written job description should include the following:
Title—explains the type of professional you're hiring (e.g., "senior manager," "help desk technician," "programmer)
Primary responsibilities—outlines the main duties of the position
Secondary responsibilities—describes periodic, rather than daily, duties (e.g., "train new staff members)
Core competencies—highlights the skills and attributes required to perform the job
Experience required—specifies types and amount of experience; for example, does the job candidate need to be familiar with a particular technology (e.g., "possess an MSCE certification" or have a minimum number of years' experience in the field)
Compensation—includes starting salary and basic benefits such as health or life insurance, 401(k) plans, paid vacation, life insurance, etc.; also, determine if the package you're offering is competitive
Preferred educational background—such as degrees, certifications and other credentials; be careful not to turn this item into a "deal-breaker" later in the hiring process - degrees and certifications can be a useful screening device, but their absence should not prevent you from hiring an otherwise qualified, experience prospect
By ensuring you're on the right track in terms of the skills you're seeking before beginning the hiring process, you strengthen your chances of finding the best IT talent.
Reprinted by permission from Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis. Robert Half Technology has more than 100 locations in North America, South America, Asia and Europe, and offers online job search services at http://www.rht.com.
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