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5 Key Skills to Look for in an IT Hire


As a hiring manager, you know that finding the right person for the job is essential to the success of your team. When looking to fill an IT position, it’s important to focus on skills that are essential for the role and will help your team reach its goals.

With that in mind, below are 5 key skills to look for in an IT hire. 

1. Look for someone with a strong technical background

It is important to look for someone with a strong technical background when hiring an IT employee. After all, they can’t fix what they don’t understand.

If you need someone with specific IT maintenance skills, then you should be looking for resume experience that demonstrates this particular technical ability. 

Before the mid-1990s were people considered technically competent if they had degrees in mathematics, physics, or chemistry. They received no training beyond their undergraduate courses and whatever hands-on experience they could pick up on their own or as part of their continuing education.

Today, IT employees need to be able to work in teams and with different kinds of people. They must also be adept at solving problems that not only require technical skills but the ability to communicate.

They can take online communication skills training and develop their communication skills. Being good at math is not enough for this new breed of worker. 

2. Make sure they have experience in your specific industry

The frequency of technology-related inquiries from job seekers has been steadily rising. As a company, if you’re seeking to fill a position with an IT professional at any level, it’s essential that the candidate has the requisite experience in your industry or related industries.

A good way to test whether someone has IT experience in your specific industry involves having the candidate explain and describe products they use (hardware and/or software) every day to do their job and how those products work together.

For example: If you manufacture something specific, ask IT candidates about specific types of hardware they might use on a daily basis. If you produce software, ask the candidate how they plan to use certain types of programs in their day-to-day work.

3. Check to see if they have the right soft skills for your team

Technical ability is not the only thing that counts when hiring an IT professional. You also want to make sure they have the right soft skills for your team.

Soft skills include communication, teamwork, and the ability to work with others. Soft skills are sometimes referred to as “people skills” because they facilitate interaction with other people.

While technical abilities can be taught, it is more difficult to instil soft skills in an individual. That’s why it is important for you as a manager to hire individuals who have the right soft skills for your team. 

4. Ask about their problem-solving abilities

To gain insight into an IT professional’s problem-solving ability, consider asking them questions on how they would handle certain situations. These can be more general problem-solving questions or more case-specific. 

You might give them a scenario in which a group of 20 users share a folder that gets filled up with data very quickly. The IT department has been asked to implement a solution that will prevent this from occurring, and the candidate needs to indicate which solution they would implement.

Would they a) Implement file quotas on the data folder to limit how much space they can use, b) put in place a schedule that archives all files older than 6 months into an archive folder after they have been moved out of the main data folder for 30 days or c) change the security permissions so only 5 users are able to access the folder?

5. See how well they work under pressure

When hiring an IT pro, it is important to gauge how well they are able to work under pressure. 

Some questions you can ask to get a feel for their ability to handle pressure include:

– How do you deal with deadlines?

– Tell me about a time when you had to solve a problem under pressure.

– Do you prefer working alone or in a group?

– What are some ways that you stay motivated at work?

These questions should help give insight into how well your candidate can handle high-stress situations.


IT continues to play an increasingly important role in organizational success, especially as companies continue to go digital.

Hiring the right person is crucial. Keep the above skills and interview tips in mind and ensure you are always getting a qualified hire that is right for the role.

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