In our tech-dependent world, finding and locking down the perfect IT managerial candidate can be the difference between company growth and stagnation, or even staying in business altogether.
As demand for advanced cybersecurity measures increases, the need for IT managers is expected to grow by 12% by 2026. What does this mean for your small business? Your search for an IT manager is likely to encounter the problem of IT talent shortage.
The competition for qualified IT managers is high (and climbing ever higher), but this doesn’t mean you should give up the search altogether. There are ways to make the hiring process easier for yourself.
One way to make your search for the right IT manager easier? Ask the right questions in your interviews.
We’ve got four simple questions you can incorporate into your interview process to ensure you find a candidate with successful leadership skills, the right personality to fit seamlessly into your company culture, and the passion to deliver the best results.
1. We’re growing. How can you help?
You aren’t looking for an IT manager who wants to maintains the status quo. You want your new manager to help your business grow, and leading growth means embracing and driving change.
“We always want to know how a potential manager will function in an ever-changing work environment,” says Rashea Drake, a B2B analyst for Verizon Business. “If they’re not prepared to grow with us, they’re probably not a great fit.”
At a small or midsized business, your new IT manager’s first task might be installing new software for 15 employees. But if all goes well for your business, in three years, they could be responsible for managing information security for a workforce of 100.
These challenges are radically different, and you want to hire an individual who understands the role they’ll play in your company’s growth and how that growth will affect the scope of the job moving forward.
It’s also important to evaluate the candidate’s background. Are they moving from a small company to a large one, or vice versa? IT challenges vary immensely, so someone who managed multimillion-dollar technology purchase orders at a Fortune 500 company might not have insight into what it takes to successfully negotiate equipment rates for a company grossing one million dollars per year.
Pending on how the candidate answers this question, follow up with queries that are specific to your business and its unique challenges.
2. What will your job be like in three years?
The first question is all about discovering whether a candidate has the skills to grow with your company, and this question is all about a candidate’s vision of what that growth might look like.
Remember: technology advances at an exponential rate. If your company is slow on the uptake, you could be left in the dust.
Your IT manager should be keeping an eye on emerging trends and how they will affect your business (via The Emerging Future)
A candidate’s answer to this question will demonstrate their ability to keep pace with the lightning-quick evolution of technological trends and give you insight into their ability to think innovatively about how anticipated changes might be incorporated into the job.
If you want to dive a little deeper, ask how the candidate keeps up with trends. Industry publication subscriptions, a network of contacts at other companies, and a healthy obsession with tech blogs are all signs that they are invested in and passionate about their work.
3. How will you fit into our company culture?
Your IT department can’t be “treated like the mop—left in a closet and fetched when there’s something to clean up,” says Jacob Grana of TechRadar.
When you hire an IT manager, you’re not just contracting a tech wizard. You’re employing someone who will lead a whole department and interact with co-workers who aren’t fluent in the languages of data storage and cloud computing.
An IT manager isn’t just an extension of the technology they manage, but a person with outside interests, family, and aspirations. If your company follows strict nine-to-five hours but a candidate needs a more flexible schedule, they might not be the right fit. Happy employees do better work, so shoehorning someone into a role because of their impressive credentials is a recipe for poor performance and high turnover.
Considering the fact that hiring a new employee can cost six to nine months of their salary, it’s always best to hire someone you think will be happy within your organization. Be sure to go over your company culture, and talk with your candidate about their past experiences in environments that may differ from yours.
4. Describe your conflict resolution strategies.
Repeat after me: an IT manager isn’t a robot. An IT manager isn’t a robot. An IT manager…OK, you’ve got it.
Your new IT manager will spend a large chunk of their time dealing with employees who are grouchy because their computers froze, they can’t log in, or they spilled coffee on their keyboard. This part of the job requires plenty of patience.
Conflict resolution skills and keeping your calm in the face of frustration are essential skills for your manager to have. While this question may seem cliché, it’s often overlooked when it comes to assessing the potential performance of a new tech wizard.
It’s one of the dozens of questions you’ll ask, but it’s one of the most important in determining whether someone has what it takes to be a key contributor to your growing business.
As you begin your search for a new IT manager, keep these questions in mind, and in your interviews. Remember that you’re not just looking for any hire, you’re looking for the right hire.
If you try these questions out in your IT manager interviews, let us know how they worked out. Have any other tips and tricks related to IT candidate searching? Drop us a line in the comments!