Taking the long view
David Lewis is also taking slow and careful approach as he seeks to hire new staffers. The vice president and CIO at Deseret Mutual Benefits Administrators in Salt Lake City, Lewis plans to add two programmers to his 35-member IT team to help develop applications needed to address the growing complexity, workload and government regulations facing his company.
He says he competes with other local employers as well as Silicon Valley companies, making it more difficult to find the right people. So he's looking long term, taking more time to find candidates who have the technical aptitude and a cultural fit with his IT shop so they'll want to stay and thrive.
"It's the soft skills that differentiate between an OK candidate and a great candidate," he says, adding that he wants people who "work hard and work smart." To ensure that he finds such people, Lewis brought on two college interns to train and ultimately, he hopes, hire after they graduate.
But his long-term thinking doesn't end there. Lewis says IT leaders have to look at high school students and encourage more of them — particularly women, who are traditionally under-represented in the field — to get into IT. That, he says, is what will guarantee that hiring won't be a problem in years to come.
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