To find and hire the most qualified candidates who are also the best culture fit, use in-depth behavioral interviewing to invigorate your IT staffing efforts.

IT StaffingPast behavior is the best indicator of future behavior is the premise behind behavioral interviewing. Asking candidates to discuss why and how they’ve done things is an staple in the world of IT staffing. But a more effective best practice, whether IT staffing or any other type of staffing, is using behavioral interviewing to drill down a few levels deeper to uncover candidate motivations, personality traits and capabilities. In a competitive economy, human capital is a competitive edge, and hiring that competitive edge is the goal of in-depth behavioral interviewing, especially when it comes to the red hot field of IT staffing.

Skip Predictable and Traditional

When you need to cut through the B and C candidates and identify the A-list-quality prospective hires, don’t use predictable and traditional IT staffing questions. Forget about questions like “Where do you want to be in five years?”, or “how well do you know SQL?”, and instead prepare questions directly related to the opening you have, such as “How have you motivated someone who wasn’t doing the job?”. To do this, you must first identify the qualities most desired for the person in the position by talking to people who will be working with the new hire, and analyzing previous employees in the position and why they worked out or didn’t. Document all of those critical success factors, with an emphasis on the soft skills as opposed to just technical skills. Then, use that information in the interview. For example, if you are trying to fill a position for a Java developer, and the position is open because the previous employee was very good at programming but couldn’t collaborate well or perform well in groups, compose behavioral interview questions that involve asking the candidate to explain how he or she has worked collaboratively, what was accomplished, how they felt about it, etc. Cutting-edge IT staffing and recruitment methods goes way beyond just screening for technical skills, it requires using behavioral interviewing techniques that require the candidate to tell you stories about how they performed in previous real-life situations.

Use Your Employer Brand and Company Culture

If you have or are trying to develop a collaborative corporate culture to foster innovation and drive profitable product and service development, incorporate discussions and questions into your IT staffing process about those aspects of your business when you engage in behavioral interviewing. For instance, ask the candidate’s opinions about their own real-world experiences and contributions to teams that attempted to work together to achieve common goals. If your employer brand includes an emphasis on giving back through volunteering, talk to the candidate about that and ask about experience volunteering, favorite charities, non-profit groups or social issues. Using your employer brand and company culture in the behavioral interview not only provides a lot of material to stimulate conversation and elicit information, it will clearly show if there is a good culture fit.

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Ask for a Demonstration

In “Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0,” Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry teach today’s job hunters how to stand out in a hypercompetitive job market by developing a personal brand, leveraging social media and networking and demonstrating their skills and achievements for prospective employers. A lot of what they advise job hunters can be turned around and used by hiring managers and recruiters involved with IT staffing in next-level behavioral interviewing. If it’s not already obvious, ask your candidates what their personal brand is, how and why they chose it and how they manifested and exploited it in previous companies and roles. Ask about their understanding and use of social media, what they know about networking and how they have used that in previous positions. And although behavioral interviewing attempts to elicit stories of past behavior, a twist that many IT staffing teams have found effective is to have the candidate come prepared for a “working interview” in which they will perform some aspect of the open position with you so you can see their skills and experience first-hand.

To find and hire the most qualified candidates who are also the best culture fit, use in-depth behavioral interviewing to invigorate your IT staffing efforts. Don’t be afraid to cut out the boring parts of the interview process and skip ahead to the meat of the matter, getting to know the candidate. Fine-tune your IT staffing process to make it the most productive and effective way to hire the talent you need by documenting the critical success factors for each position, and using behavioral interviewing to get your candidates to explain how they have manifested those behaviors and qualities in their previous environments.


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