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12 common IT hiring mistakes and how to avoid them

Rich Hein | Feb. 1, 2013
Bringing a new employee into your IT department has the potential to make or break your team. Avoid these common hiring mistakes and build a team of IT pros that fire on all cylinders.

Another important note: While many IT pros are happy to follow the beaten path for advancement, management isn't for everyone. If you are career-mapping it's important to include a career map that doesn't take the typical management path, says Tracey Cashman, partner and general manager in information technology with WinterWyman.

Going from a programmer to an architect is one example where a programmer is getting more responsibility but not necessarily performing management responsibilities. "It's critical to have both paths outlined to appeal to both sets of employees," says Cashman.

6. Restricting your search to job boards or recruiters. "Sometimes the right person is already in the organization and with a little TLC and training you can get them where you want them to be. That and they are already a known quantity," says Cashman, who notes that it's good for retention if employees feel like there is a good probability they will be promoted because the company promotes and hires from within.

7. Not motivating everyone in your organization to refer candidates, and not giving employee referrals special attention. "Every study we've seen supports our experience: Good people recommend other good people. And you get a built-in reference, usually with contact information for other former colleagues who will vouch for the candidate as well," says Lichty.

Put your job postings out there to your peer network and reward employees for referring good new hires. "We have a very active employee referral program. Our most significant source for new folks is people who know an existing employee," says Rosenbaum.

8. Setting the bar too high for a new hire. Many companies are guilty of waiting too long while searching for a proverbial needle in a haystack, according to Cashman . "Despite the fact that it's difficult to find qualified technical people, some companies are still keeping the bar extraordinarily high. If they've got a laundry list of 10 items, they want all 10 [and] they aren't willing to settle for five and a great personality; they want everything" says Cashman.

9. Taking too long to hire a new employee."It cost money not to hire," says Cashman. If you're not producing a certain application or your resources are overloaded because you haven't brought on that new developer, it can affect your bottom line. "People get wrapped around the axle trying to find the perfect profile instead of the best athlete that's available to them," says Cashman.

10. Creating a poor job description. The job description and profile will be the device that brings many applicants to your door. Not taking the time to do this right can cost you in hours, patience and dead-ends.


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