Upon first establishing a need for tech talent, most IT hiring managers will begin by making a list of specific skills, traits, or experience levels that are most desirable. They may also make a list of skills and traits to be avoided. However, both lists can prove detrimental to their talent search, particularly in light of the tech talent shortage. Instead of blindly following traditional guidelines to filling a role or contract opening, we challenge you to consider why the following three qualities have made your “no” list. You may find that these often-considered “negative” qualities will lead you to your next great hire.
Skipping or Streamlining? Recasting “Laziness” As “Efficiency”
“Laziness” is probably one of the top qualities you seek to avoid when searching for an IT pro to fill your IT staffing or contract needs. But consider the industry: technology exists primarily to make our lives easier. Thanks to software developers, we no longer have to get out of our chairs to change the TV channel, or search through a book or magazine for the answers to our questions. Perhaps a “lazy” person, who will seek to solve problems and issues quickly so as not to become bored by them, is exactly what your business should be looking for.
According to one Stanford psychologist, people who regularly participate in mindless activities are not only happier than those with a laser-like focus, but are also more productive. These people are able to avoid the chronic stress and burnout that others experience, and therefore can operate with a clearer mind. “Lazy” people recognize the importance of the 80-20 rule, which states that 20% of the things you do in a day produce 80% of your results. Instead of becoming burnt out from focusing on the unused 80%, they strategically pool their energy into the areas where it is most likely to produce results.
It’s important to note that laziness is only a desirable quality if it is the product of such a results-driven personality. If an IT pro’s laziness leads to him or her missing an interview, showing up at the office in a hoodie and flip flops, or cutting corners on projects, then that person probably doesn’t have the positive lazy traits you’d want to consider. However, laziness that leads to increased task efficiency and creative solutions could create great new opportunities for your company, and help to minimize the input of time spent while maximizing the output of work produced – all of which is good for your bottom line. So before you turn a candidate away for exhibiting this behavior, consider whether or not you could benefit from his or her so-called laziness.
Top Quality Doesn’t Always Come From High Quantity: Evaluating Inexperience
When crafting your job posting, you may be tempted to specify an amount of experience that the “right” candidate should have under his or her belt. While bullet points reading “10+ years in a managerial role preferred” or “3-5 years of experience in a similar position, required,” may have graced your position postings in the past, these specifications may be significantly slimming down your candidate pool, and could cause you to miss out on an IT pro who is more than qualified to be a part of your team.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that working for a number of years does not necessarily mean succeeding for that number of years. For example, it’s possible that an IT pro may have advanced quickly due to exceptional skills, and therefore doesn’t have a “traditional” background. It is also important to note that all companies delegate position responsibilities differently, so an IT pro with many years of experience in a similar position does not necessarily possess the skills required to succeed at your company. On that note, others suggest that those with less experience may be more innovative, and up-to-date on the latest technologies, than their seasoned counterparts, who run the risk of falling into an established “rhythm” or preferred way of doing things which may not be most effective for your company.
Instead of assuming that an IT pro will be the right fit for your company based on previous roles held, consider the individual’s potential, culture fit, and skill sets. Ask questions during the interview to identify these traits, and focus on whether or not the answers align with what your company is seeking. Though inexperience should neither be a deal-breaker, nor a deal-maker, considering the quality of an individual’s experience instead of the time spent attaining it could ultimately help you to land high progressing talent who may have a greater success rate and a longer work timeline than those IT pros who are further into their careers.
3. No College Degree
Skills Don’t Need To Be Learned In A Classroom: Understanding The Value Of College Degrees
It’s common to assume that an IT pro who holds at least a bachelor’s degree is a better fit than one who does not. As an employer, you’re looking for individuals who are motivated to learn, dedicated to their career path, and equipped with a well-rounded set of skills – all of which, you may imagine, can be assumed of those possessing a degree. But is that assumption accurate? Should the lack of a college degree really be cause for eliminating a candidate?
The reality is that many IT pros hold less than a four-year degree – a path that most avoided because they were already experienced coders by the time they were in high school. In 2013, this was true of 38% web developers, and today a multitude of other non-traditional IT pros, including but not limited to those working in networking, infrastructure, and systems administration, are following suit. These independent learners may have mastered the skills they needed to succeed in IT at a young age, and therefore chose to enter the job market while their skills were in high demand – simultaneously avoiding the heavy financial burden that comes with paying for a university education. Furthermore, recent number have revealed that many degreed professionals in STEM industries didn’t go to college in the hopes of pursuing computer science careers at all. Instead these professionals graduated with Liberal Arts degrees and made the switch to IT later on in their careers. Comparatively, non-degreed IT pros, who have been pursuing a future in the tech industry for many years, may be the better fit for your company.
Finally, don’t assume that a lack of college education means a lack of formal education in general. IT pros are able to pick-and-choose from a variety of cost-effective learning options, from Codeacadamy.com and local TechHire trainings, to a variety of other programs. Ultimately, considering whether or not an IT pro possesses a college degree is much less important than evaluating whether he or she has the skills to succeed. Hire the person who is the right fit to assist with your IT needs – not the one whose learning is more explicitly stated on paper.
While the purpose of reconsidering these “negative” qualities is not to argue that such qualities are superior to their more traditionally positive counter-traits, questioning their true value can help you to open up your options and discover a great fit you would have otherwise written off. By opening up your candidate pool to employees who are “lazy”, “inexperienced”, or “uneducated,” you may become inundated with more qualified applicants than you’ll know how to choose from – a good problem to have in the midst of a tech talent shortage. Remember to always keep your primary focus on finding the candidate who is the right fit for your present IT needs, and you’ll find yourself with a unique and high-functioning IT department.