As a recruiter or hiring manager, it’s your task to staff open positions for your company, and in some cases, this involves a highly familiar set of core skills. If you only cast your net for CPAs or marketing pros or machinists, you know exactly what you’re looking for, because you work these types of experts every day.

But if your role is more general and you hire across multiple departments, you may face obstacles when it comes to fine-grain practical details. For example, during a search for “tech talent,” you’ll need to know exactly what your position requires. And beyond those specific areas of knowledge (cybersecurity, network management, coding in Python, etc.), you’ll need to be able to spot broad personality traits and background elements that suggest a good match. Here’s how to make this happen.

Listen very carefully.

Your managers and employer clients will tell you exactly what they need—if you know how to ask and listen to the answers. If you sense a disconnect, get clarification before you start approaching candidates. Otherwise you may let top talent slip away.

Look for social intelligence and multitasking skill.

A network maintenance expert should know everything they need to about the job in question; that’s a given. But you also need someone who can work well with others, change gears, adapt to a social environment, and engage meaningfully with a team. Given the choice between a poorly adjusted candidate with one additional year of experience, or a well-adjusted one with a one-year experience deficit, choose the second.

Look for the ability to learn on the job.

Some candidates come to an interview or a new job believing they already know everything they need to know, and they aren’t interested in learning or letting go of old approaches to make room for new ones. Skip these candidates in favor of those who have a clear sense of how much they don’t know yet. You want open-minded, humble learners rather than arrogant, rigid know-it-alls. Many of the skills your tech teams apply will be learned during their tenure with the company.

Look for cool-headed efficiency.

Choose tech pros who can solve problems, but just as important, choose employees who can move forward steadily and patiently until a problem is solved. Sidestep those who are easily distracted or undone by small obstacles. Too often, strong skill sets, a perfectly matched background and great social skills aren’t quite enough to overcome challenges to a candidate’s patience in the face of tedious, open-ended problems and puzzles.

For more on how to get exactly what you need from your tech candidates and how to select the very best talent available, turn to the Milwaukee staffing team at Extension, Inc.


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