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How to Hire a Superstar IT Athlete

If you are an NFL and NBA draft nut like I am, you’ve often heard teams say, “We drafted the best athletes available.” Likewise, it makes sense for companies to hire the best IT athletes available! (Sorry, had to make a sports reference.)

According to a recent survey and report by the Minnesota Labor Market Information office, more than a third of IT openings in Minnesota are difficult to fill.

Some companies turn to out-of-state consultants to fill the gap. For companies who want to hire full-time candidates rather than consultants, the task can be more difficult. Companies looking for full-time talent often try to fill the gap by developing job descriptions that ask for candidates who have a wide variety of development language, database and networking skills, or what I call an “everything and the kitchen sink” candidate.

It’s fine to cast a wide net for full-time candidates, but it’s smarter to hire the best IT athlete possible. Hiring companies should first look at a candidate’s track record. Candidates who change back and forth from consulting to full-time jobs are likely to continue doing so, depending on which option pays the most. If you have a choice, pick a full-time IT candidate who has a record of staying in one job for a longer time.

Hiring companies should pick one skill that is most important to them in a candidate, and not waver from finding that skill.

It’s realistic to ask for a Java developer with 5+ years of experience. It’s not realistic to ask for a Java developer with 5+ year’s experience who also has a list of database and networking skills. That’s when troubles arise in hiring a full-time IT candidate.

Hiring companies try to over-compensate for a shortage of IT talent in their company by asking for a candidate who can fill many holes. What they end up getting is a disgruntled candidate who leaves the job because they were pulled in too many directions and not able to develop marketable skills.



Instead of hiring for the widest assortment of skills, hiring companies are often better served by looking for raw technical skills or soft skills in a candidate that compliment the most important technical skills in a job description. Finding a developer who has great presentation skills or can be a great liaison between an IT department and other company department s may be the best IT athlete available.

What do you think is the most valuable trait in an IT candidate? 

Content provided by Joe Janasz