How to Hire for Technical Positions When You Aren't Technical

You’re good at what you do, but what do you do when you need to hire someone who is really good at something you know nothing about? This will happen to every good company and every hiring manager at some point, and you need to be ready! 

When you’re looking for a technical hire — say, an IT administrator, a cybersecurity specialist, even a project manager with knowledge of many systems — it can be hard to know who is a good candidate. Here are some tips on how to hire an IT professional when you don’t personally have technical experience.

Research similar job descriptions

Looking for a systems administrator? Check out existing job descriptions! This will help you understand what a sys administrator does and what kind of knowledge they need. When you’re hiring for a technical position, it’s worth it to put in some extra time and effort to make sure you get someone who knows what they’re doing, so do what you’d do if you were going for an extended trip abroad: Learn a bit of the lingo. What does it mean to “document end-to-end processes”? Google is your friend.

You can also check out conversations that experts you’re looking to hire have amongst themselves. Check out sites like Stack Overflow, Hacker News, Reddit, and Twitter.

Look at necessary certifications

A great indicator of a candidate who has necessary knowledge is the certifications they hold. For example, if you’re looking for project managers, looking for Microsoft Project certifications, CompTIA Project+ certification, Microsoft Sharepoint, or other project management specific certifications.  

On an IT or cybersecurity side, CompTIA A+ certification and other CompTIA and cybersecurity certifications are excellent indicators that applicants have up-to-date, relevant knowledge for your organization’s technical needs.

Reach out to your network

Other hiring managers in your network are invaluable resources. Reach out to them for tips on hiring for your specific open positions — perhaps they’ve had experience hiring for certain positions, or themselves have experience working in those positions previously. Some might even help do a technical interview for you on your behalf, and if you pay them a small fee, it’s a win-win situation. 

Work with a technical recruiter

Plenty of external technical recruiters have niche knowledge and experience hiring for specific technical roles. Certainly there are budgetary considerations for fees with recruiters, however getting expert help for important technical positions can help you ensure you find a good hire, which will save you money in the longer term. Some recruiters might even offer you free advice, especially if you are considering using their services for one or more of your positions.

Hire a contractor first

If you’re unsure how to find a good full-term technical hire, you can consider hiring someone as a contractor before bringing them on full time. This would help you assess not just their skills, but the value they bring to your organization. Plus, you may even find a better understanding of whether you need that role or a different one. 

Try an influencer

There are plenty of influencers in both the tech and the hiring space, and they love ideas for content. You can consider reaching out to some — like those on this list of hiring influencers — asking for advice. They may want to make a post or video giving you advice. And it’s always worth trying to get free advice from the experts! 

Train an existing employee

Investing in your employees is a sound investment, and if you have someone you already like and trust who just needs a little training, consider helping them grow while also retaining a valuable employee! We have plenty of training and certification courses to help them grow and help your organization get what it needs.

Most importantly, know you don’t have to do this alone. There are many resources available to you to help you find the right candidates for your technical hires. 


Author: Ellis Fitch

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