How are IT Hiring Managers Evaluating Candidates?

Hiring managers have a tough job as great IT professionals with experience are not only hard to find, but discovering someone who has the ability to grow, learn new technologies and interact with others across a company often feels like a diving for a needle in a haystack. IT is one of the few industries where technology, and even processes, can change quickly, and that requires a very unique and talented individual. There are several criteria, skills and other attributes that hiring managers tend to review:


Common Criteria

Similar to any role, IT hiring managers have their common list of criteria they use to see if candidates “check the boxes.” While these can vary based on the industry or company, the list below is often used by hiring managers when interviewing candidates for a new role:

  • Technical Assessments and Interviews – Hiring managers want to know you can do the actual job duties. While you often don’t see this for other professions, the IT world is full of complex technologies that can be hard to learn if you haven’t experienced them before. Not only will they often have tasks for you to complete, but you can expect in-depth technical questions during the interview. For example, some assessments can be based on specific software/programming language knowledge and/or scenario based questions to gauge your thought process.
  • Current Role Review – Your current job should require similar skills and technologies. Hiring mangers want to see you possess direct experience with the tech they use in their organization.
  • Job History and Tenure – This is often a mixed bag. For some companies they want to see candidates who have been at their current job for an extended period of time (over 2-3 years), and for others they don’t seem to mind. Relevant skills and general IT experience often reigns supreme over this category, however you should be prepared to address your job and tenure in your interview.
  • Location and Proximity – No one wants a flight risk. If this role requires on-site work and you are not in a reasonable commuting distance during normal core hours that may turn away a future employer unless they have flex or telecommuting options.
  • Resume (all of it!) – Yes, resumes are still very important. Regardless of the job (IT or not), a clean, concise and well-written resume will always get pushed to the top. Take the time to build and format a great resume.
  • Education, Certifications and Training – This is important, but IT professionals have often learned many of their skills through actual experience or on their own. It is one of the few professions where these “on the job skills” weigh just a heavily as a degree. With that being said, any and all education, certifications and training can go a long way!
  • References – Strong references will also be one of the best ways to make a great impression.


Secondary Criteria

Depending on the specific role, there is often “secondary criteria” that hiring managers review when searching for the right fit:

  • Specific Industry Experience – Certain companies prefer candidates who have experience in their industry. For example, an upstream oil & gas firm may want a candidate who has worked within this subset of oil and gas. However, most hiring managers are often more concerned with experience regarding the specific technologies you will be managing.
  • Size of Company – Some hiring managers prefer candidates who come from organizations that are similar in size, so they are accustomed to either a large or small work environment.
  • Budgets/Cost – Every role is tied to a budget and that is always a factor when a company is making a hiring decision. A great recruiter will help you work through this as you move through your job search.


Recruiters Role

Your recruiter should not only be preparing you for these interviews, but also helping to guide you towards roles that best fit your skillset and experience. A great IT recruiter will objectively evaluate your professional skills and desired career path to provide you with the best possible opportunities. Being open and honest with your recruiter on the vision you have for your career will help you significantly in the long run. If there is a technology or platform you aren’t as familiar with, tell your recruiter! Not only does it help you avoid awkward interviews, but it helps you narrow in on anything you should learn to be at the top of your desired field.

The need for skilled IT professionals continues to grow and if you have any questions regarding your skills, the job market or what steps you should take, please don’t hesitate to contact the Talance Group at 713-357-9565.