Published on October 2nd, 2018

This past July, U.S. tech companies added nearly 15,000 jobs to their rosters. Out of all those technologists, consider that a significant percentage will leave or be let go within 18 months, causing substantial project delays. Now take a moment to think about a great hire you’ve recruited who has been a star performer within their team. What made them so exceptional during the hiring process? Your ability to articulate and recognize those attributes going forward can make a significant impact on your technology hiring strategy.

Their Resume (to an Extent)

Naturally, reviewing a candidate’s resume is a starting place, but it shouldn’t be the ending place as well. Traditionally, 98% of applicants are eliminated at the initial resume screening. This is useful for weeding out those who have never performed the main functions of your open role or who lack the foundational skill set and necessary certifications. While stellar resumes can bring the remaining 2% of technologists further along in the hiring process, the right candidates for your company are much more than their resumes will reflect.

Their Potential for Growth

Hiring managers who wait for a unicorn candidate matching 100% of their role requirements are the ones dealing with the longest vacancies (and the highest salaries if that rare candidate is ever found). In fact, this coveted candidate may not even be your ideal hire. Technology roles evolve, and so too must the technologists in those roles. According to Forbes, a candidate’s potential is even more important than experience when hiring in tech. While it’s necessary to hire someone with the core skills under their belt, the best technologist for you is one who is trainable and can be shaped into your ideal employee for today and into the future.

Their Specialization

With so many open technology roles inside organizations, it’s attractive to seek out a technologist who is a jack-of-all-trades. There’s no question it would be wonderful to have an employee who is an expert in several niches with the ability to build an app, improve data security, and lead AI initiatives, but those are unrealistic (and prohibitively expensive) expectations. When hiring in technology, it’s necessary to stay grounded and understand that two or even three technologists may need to be hired to fulfill all the necessary responsibilities that current vacancies create.

Their Personality and Soft Skills

Cultural fit is like electricity: you may not think about it when it works, but lose it and productivity comes to a complete standstill. Research shows that when a new hire doesn’t work out, only 11% of the time is it because of a lack of technical skills. The other 89% of cases are due to issues surrounding cultural fit, coachability, and motivation. That’s how important it is to hire a technologist who meshes with your environment, is open-minded, and excited to engage and bond with other employees.

To that end, soft skills are vital. Many technologists are impeccable at migrating or securing a cloud, but how are their communication skills? Can they articulate their work to non-technical departments or to upper management? How are their presentation skills? Do they exhibit excellent teamwork skills with the ability to pick up and pass on technical projects seamlessly? Considering these questions and more can land you a well-rounded candidate primed for success in your open technology role.

What Truly Makes a Good Technologist for Your Company?

The old adage is true, especially in technology: good people are hard to find. While technologists are difficult to recruit for in general, too many companies compound that difficulty by searching for the wrong characteristics in their next hire. Take the time to scrutinize a technologist’s potential, skill set, and personality, and you can land the reliable talent that your projects require for success.

Discover more tips and tricks for boosting your technology hiring strategy by downloading our Denver Technology Salary Guide.

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Written: October 2018