If you’ve had experience recruiting for full-time IT professionals, then you probably already know that qualified candidates not only possess technical aptitude, but also have great interpersonal skills.
It may seem a bit stereotypical, but it’s not terribly unusual for people who proudly describe themselves as “geeks” to exhibit less-than-perfect social skills. It’s a quality that is often accepted as “par for the course.”
However, certain interpersonal skills are indispensable. Qualified candidates should understand the importance of teamwork and know how to communicate, collaborate, and coordinate with fellow IT staff members. They should also know how to handle disagreements and accept opposing viewpoints.
Here are some questions you can ask that will help you gauge the interpersonal effectiveness of a given candidate.
1. Interpersonal Skills
How a potential candidate will interact with co-workers and customers is an essential function you want to be able to judge before hiring. Knowing that a person can work well with others in any situation and react to situations in an appropriate and positive way is key.
A qood question to ask is, “Tell me about a time when you had to work with a team member that you didn’t care for or get along with.”
With this question, you want to find out a few of things. First, why didn’t the candidate like the co-worker? Was it because nobody liked the co-worker? Or were there some interpersonal conflicts unique to the candidate? Second, how did the candidate handle the conflict? If it was handled professionally, then that’s a good indicator that the candidate has strong interpersonal skills.
2. Handling Disagreements
A cohesive and well-oiled machine can produce power and has durability. As a hiring manager, you want the same results with the people you decide to add to your organization. Conflicts can destroy or build a stronger relationship with the team. So, how can you determine a person’s ability to handle conflict?
A good question to ask here is, “Tell me about a time when you didn't agree with your manager’s decision? What did you do to change the situation?”
With that question, you’re determining if the candidate has enough initiative to speak up when something is perceived to be amiss. That’s a great quality to have in an IT professional because a lot of them are known to just “go with the flow.”
You’ll also be able to gauge the level of professionalism that the candidate uses when expressing disagreements. That’s another important quality for people who work in teams.
3. Culture and the Candidate
A company can help to ensure success by adding new team members that fit well with the culture of the company. Creating an environment where team members feel comfortable, enjoy their work, they have opportunities for growth, and hiring to fit that environment is a path to success.
A good question to ask to ensure the candidate will fit into the culture is, “What kind of qualities do you not like in a manager?” You could also ask them to, “Describe the manager that you liked the least throughout your career history.”
Here, you’re trying to find out if the candidate is a good fit for your company’s own business culture. If a candidate explains that they work well in a tightly structured environment where a manager is closely overseeing all projects, while the company operates by letting people handle their own work and asking questions when needed, then this candidate will not be a good fit.
On the other hand, if the candidate looks for managers who possess the exact same kind of qualities that are expected of managers at your company, then the candidate is probably a great match.
Finding the right candidate can be tough, especially when you are trying to put together a team that personalities complement one another. Utilizing a focus on interpersonal skills, conflict resolution and making sure the candidate fits the company culture will ensure greater results. The next candidate you hire could be the guy or gal that revitalizes a sluggish performance to lead the company into unfathomable growth.
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