4 Tips to Hire the Best Tech Team for Your Business
One of the biggest challenges in hiring a tech team for your business is knowing what they’re talking about. How do you make a decision among your top three candidates when one tells you your website needs to be more than “brochureware,” the second says you need to transition to “cloud hosting,” and the third recommends adding “cookies” to your site?
If you’re tech savvy yourself, this might not be too great a challenge, but if you are not, you’ve got a problem. As a business owner, you don’t have time to get up to speed on CRM, analytics, cascading style sheets, embedded links and extensible markup language – but you still need to hire people who can take care of these issues and do a good job for you.
So, how do you hire a competent tech team if you don’t know that much about tech? Here are 4 tips for hiring tech people for your business when you don’t know that much about technology yourself.
1. Interview at Least Three People for Each Position
If you are hiring a full tech team, odds are the lion’s share of your communications will be with the person at the top of the food chain – perhaps a Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Technology Officer (CTO). But there are probably going to be times when you need to speak with others on the team – the Application Developer, or Data Quality Manager – and it’s important that each person you hire can speak to you in language you understand, is a team player, and wants to work for you for more than 6 months or a year.
Interview at least three people for each job (or have a trusted HR professional do so), even if the first one you speak with seems ideal for the job or has been strongly recommended by your top IT person. Your tech team needs a certain degree of independence and autonomy, but you don’t want them to become a self-contained unit within your business. For your business to be successful, your tech team needs to work with you and your other people. Interviewing several candidates for each job will give you confidence every member of your tech team can work harmoniously with other members of the tech team, other departments, and with you.
2. Have a Translator Attend Interviews
The ideal candidate for a tech position will know how to speak to you in a language you understand without deferring to indecipherable technical jargon. When they don’t, however, you’ll want to have someone in the room who is able to tell you what they are saying. If a candidate deduces that you don’t understand what he/she is saying, he/she can give you inaccurate information or inflate skills and competencies. If you can’t spot that kind of self-promotion, make sure you have someone with you who can.
3. Know what you’re looking for
You need to clearly define what skills you want each member of your tech team to have before the interview. That can be a challenge if technology is one of your blind spots.
You should work closely with someone in your organization who does understand your tech needs and can advise you about what a Network Engineer or Senior Programmer does and help you prepare a “must-have” priority list for each position. For example, your list might include things like organized workflow,” “consistent communication,” and “regular feedback.” Every business is different, as is every tech position – make sure you know precisely what skills and competencies you need before your start interviewing.
4. Be Prepared to Ask a Few Hard Questions
To hire the best candidate for each job, you should be prepared to ask a few questions that candidates don’t expect – and challenges them to reveal aspects of their work style that might not otherwise come to light. This will help you discern how they deal with direct questions, and how they think.
For example, you could ask candidates, “In your last job, how did you handle it when you and your supervisor didn’t agree?” This will show you how a candidate deals with conflict on the job. You could also ask questions such as, “If you could change one thing about the way we run our business, what would it be?” This helps you understand if a candidate has thought critically about your business, and whether he’s committed to its success.
Putting an outstanding tech team in place can be a challenge, especially if you yourself aren’t fluent in tech. If, however, you get help from people who do understand your tech needs, clearly define those needs and ask the hard questions of each candidate, you’ll put in place a tech team who will collaborate with you, find solutions to your most pressing problems, and help you grow your business.