How You Should Be Hiring Tech Talent in 2020

Are you hiring the right talent to grow your company? Many businesses aren’t, for the simple reason that they don’t understand what kind of people and talent they really need to beat the competition.

It starts with understanding what capabilities a digital business needs—and while those will vary by market and geography, successful digital businesses share common traits.

A successful digital business is focused on the customer, operates quickly, and is responsive and agile. That, of course, requires the right (for your particular business) IT systems in place, but also the right talent behind the infrastructure.

Here are the two most common mistakes I see companies make when hiring tech talent:

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Mistake #1: “We’ll have the usual”
I’ve worked with hundreds of businesses looking for technical talent, and most find it easy to describe the skills and experience they want in potential employees. I typically get well-prepared job descriptions filled with laundry lists of desirable technical skills.

It’s commonly believed that a strong workforce foundation of technical Subject Matter Experts is the surest path to success. If you agree, I’d urge you to reconsider.

Mistake #2: Hiring purely technical people
Technology experts are rarely the people you need to grow a business. Instead of expanding your business’s technical layer, consider attracting the best talent in your organization’s top tiers.

How to Hire the Right Talent

Don’t misunderstand: I’m not advocating the 20th-century model of top-down management. Placing Subject Matter Experts under the authority of middle managers who report to executives above them is not a winning strategy.

Instead, build your organization around your most important top tier people—those who have the following skills. (Note: these three skills rarely, if ever, exist in one employee. You’re making a great hire if one person possesses two of this set.)

  1. Vision: they can establish strategic vision for a project and align the organization around a clear view of what’s required to achieve business success. they see the endgame—and also build and nurture a company culture that attracts and retains employees with “value focus” and “decisiveness.”
  2. Value focus: they possess a mini-CEO mind-set with a focus on delivering measurable business value and optimizing ROI. They can implement your business strategy, work outside rigid job titles, and do what it takes to launch an initiative or complete a project.
  3. Decisiveness: they are natural problem solvers who make decisions and prioritize initiatives using data and facts rather than intuition and feeling.

All of which is why merely hiring Subject Matter Experts, and “developing” your way to success, is a deeply flawed tactic. While there is a broad range of skills needed, it takes vision and decisiveness to uncover and illuminate the best paths ahead, and value-focused talent to guide and direct the changes needed to get you there.

Scott Simon is the CEO of Better Hire. He has hired and recruited top tech talent in Alabama for over 30 years.

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