DAILY INSIGHT: It's Hiring Time!

What are the most important qualities for a new tech hire?
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By Rob Mancabelli, CIO Advisor

It’s hiring time! So let’s have a discussion of the top traits for your next technology hire. This list might differ a bit depending on the position, but I think these six apply to almost any tech personnel:

1. Customer focused: She has to see the world through the lens of teachers and students to produce results that meet her needs. Key interview question: “Describe your customers.” Runner up question: “What technologies do teachers and students need most?”

2. Systemic: MacGyver makes for an interesting TV show, but I don’t want him working in a school. Schools don’t need bargain-basement quick fixes made of bubble gum and shoestrings; they need easy-to-use, affordable, long-term solutions. (That’s cheaper in the long run). Key interview question: “When you need to save money on tech, how do you do it?”

3. Modern learner: Does your potential hire participate in online networks for learning? If not, how will he understand why these tools are so important to the classroom? Key interview question: “Name the top three ways you learn.”

4. Technical ability: Why is this number four? Because technical expertise is easier to get than the ones above it. Also, depending on the position, I’m ok with someone who understands technology, but doesn’t totally geek out on it. That person often understand the customer better. Interview questions here are dependent on position, but use of a lot of tech jargon in the interview is a red flag.

5. Innovative thinker: On the surface, this might seem to conflict with number 2, but what I mean by “innovative” is someone who doesn’t just apply solutions the way they have always been done. Key interview question (it’s a toughie): “How could we put in a place a one-to-one program without increasing our budget?”

6. Energetic & friendly: A great personality opens a lot of doors and can help tremendously with building bridges to greater tech use. Also when things don’t go as planned, someone with a friendly and energetic way about him can save you from disaster with your customers. No key interview question, but carefully watch for reactions to difficult questions. Is he annoyed?

That’s my take. What are you looking for in your next hire?

Keep the conversation going at www.mancabelli.com.



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