When it comes to running a company big or small, IT staff are some of the most important people to have on the team.
IT staff is critical because so many companies nowadays are relying on computers to help their organizations function smoothly. So, it is imperative to have people who are computer savvy and can assist with any issues that may crop up with the network system or the computer’s software or hardware.
A typical day for an IT staff employee may include:
- Installing computer software on the company’s system and making sure it runs smoothly.
- Helping people understand how new software works.
- Testing out new computer equipment and making sure that any new needed software is compatible.
- Configuring computers for new employees.
- Diagnosing any problems with a computer or its associated hardware or software.
- Making suggestions on which new software or hardware would be most beneficial to a company.
You’ll ideally want to find people with the right information technology skills to take care of these necessities, at a minimum. This guide will give you a more in-depth sense of what to look for when hiring proper IT staff.
Key Information Technology Skills: Fill Your Company’s Job-Specific Needs
As mentioned, there are several essential information technology skills to look for in the ideal IT candidate.
For one, the IT candidate should have a degree in computer science, software engineering, computer software development, or computer engineering. Because most problems that an IT person solves have to do with computers, the background knowledge, and specialized skills that these types of degrees provide is indeed wholly necessary to perform the job well.
The candidate should have sufficient knowledge using standard software applications such as Linux or Microsoft. A majority of companies use the Microsoft suite of tools (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access) to create work presentations, write documents, send and receive Emails, and keep track of various data.
The IT person needs to have a thorough understanding of how each program works and what to do to fix any issues that may come up.
The candidate that is trying to prove their information technology skills should also be able to multitask. Frequently more than one person at a time is going to have a technical or computer issue that needs attention. The IT person must be capable of keeping track of many open cases simultaneously, and successfully attending to each one in a timely manner.
As a role that will have exposure to so many different parts of the team, and serve as such a fundamental component of how the company functions on a daily basis, the job requirements should not stop there. Along with the particulars, soft skills should also be highlighted in job descriptions – as with any significant role, but especially when it comes to IT.
Key Information Technology Skills: Hiring for Soft Skills is Just as Crucial
Every team member at one point or another can expect to be working with your IT professionals. You want to make sure that the IT professional is capable of working well within a team. Although much of the time an IT person may be working by himself to solve a problem, there will be instances where it’s a team effort to get computer or network issues fixed.
The ability to delegate tasks within the team, communicate clearly to other team members, and prioritize work tasks are necessary skills to have to work well within the team atmosphere and to get the job at hand done successfully.
Each IT person should be able to work in a fast-paced environment. In most cases, a computer problem needs to be solved as quickly as possible as not to compromise the company’s ability to get work done. The longer it takes to solve a problem, the more a company has the potential to lose out on maximum sales, profits, or production time.
The candidate also needs to be detail oriented. Much of the time the problems that computers pose come down to very minute issues, such as lines of code in software that are faulty, settings in the computer’s hardware that need to be updated, or even the ability to recognize and eradicate a virus that is wreaking havoc.
Having someone who is detail-oriented coupled with the right information technology skills will ensure efficient problem-solving.
Additionally, your IT staff must have the ability to communicate effectively with employees and clients in a way they can understand. Computers can be very challenging for a lot of people, especially when it comes to explaining what must be done to fix a problem.
Plus, if the IT person has to explain the protocol over the phone, he or she must have the skills to seamlessly guide an employee or client in a way that makes sense – without necessarily having visuals – and doesn’t leave room for confusion.
Now You Know the Skills and Requirements Needed for Informational Technology Positions
Relying on both their soft skills and technical skills that are more job-specific, members of an IT staff should be on their toes and ready for anything that might come their way during the workday. One thing they can look forward to is that most likely no two work days are going to be alike.
Things will always be kept interesting for your IT team.
The variety of tasks they’re in charge of will keep them from being bored and help them always feel that they are challenged in their careers.
If your candidate is prepared to work long hours and thoroughly understands computers, networks, and people – the three most important areas in information technology skills – he or she might be right for the job!
If you’ve kept all of our advice in mind, you’ve gone through the interview process, and feel you’ve finally found the perfect fit for your team, be sure to use our checklist to relieve any apprehensions the first day might bring.
Having everything needed to do their new job sends a strong message to your new employees. When they have everything they need, they instantly feel valued and supported. We have the experience, and we've done the research: new employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years.