5 Ways To Build A Balanced IT Team - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IT Leadership
12:15 PM
Connect Directly

5 Ways To Build A Balanced IT Team

Here's how one CTO assembles and cultivates a well-balanced IT team. Consider some of his hiring and talent tactics.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Kristin Burnham
Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
7/8/2014 | 10:27:26 AM
Re: Common questions have common answers
 Lots of people play with technology - not as many understand how they got there.

^^Great point here, and another way to hone in on critical thinkers. A few commenters have discussed interview techniques; what other ones can you all share to separate the good from the best?
IW Pick
User Rank: Strategist
7/8/2014 | 8:05:49 AM
Common questions have common answers
Lots of good ideas - here is how we go about it.
Since we are a company whose sole function is to implement technology in other companies - we ask - what is your network like at home, what is the latest technology you have tought yourself, how do you see this technology helping other companies?  In short - all of these questions are to assertain the individuals passion - and technical prowess.

Common questions have common answers.  We always ask "what is your greatest achievement" and ask for the why.  The we follow up with "what is your greatest failure" and ask for the why and what was the follow up.

Lastly we propose a few scenario's on a white board and ask the person to troubleshoot the issue with us being the client.  this attempts to measure their decision making/analytical thought process.  Lots of people play with technology - not as many understand how they got there :).

These are our tips so if you are currently looking for an opportunity in MA - talk to us. :)
IW Pick
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2014 | 3:05:13 PM
Re: 5 Ways To Build A Balanced IT Team
First of all, I will definitely agree that interviewing (from both sides of the table) is an art form unto itself. It's absolutely worthwhile for us to talk about that when talking about the hiring process. As much as we swap tips as IT pros for what do during interviews and how to land the job, it's important that interviewers themselves swap strategies, and hone that process to keep the whole machine running smoothly - otherwise, as others have said already, we run the risk of interviews just becoming a rote process; a formality. However, today interviewers are often not trained HR people - for example, IT managers (not known for their great personal skills) are often interviewing the IT candidates. It's great to see some team-building tips targeted squarely at tech managers.

I do have some concern about the idea of being novel just for the sake of being novel, though. I think you could just as easily get a buzzword-laden answer to the question 'what does teamwork mean to you?' as you could to the question 'what do you look for in a team?'. Maybe it will catch your interviewee 'off-guard', but maybe that will just lead them to giving a safer answer like they've been conditioned to, rather than really thinking on their feet. I think there's a little more to refinement to be done on the hiring process in the modern age than just the questions that we ask - but it's a good start, and the beginning of a conversation worth having.
Li Tan
Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2014 | 9:45:19 AM
Re: GitHub
Any kind of exam have shortcuts and tricks behind, interview is not an exception. The interview questions of Top-500 enterprises have been cracked all the time. So HR and hiring manager need to come up with new questions.
Lorna Garey
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
7/1/2014 | 5:30:30 PM
Re: GitHub
Seems like the point of all these "innovative" interview questions is to see if people can think on their feet and improvise. As potential employees get wise to the tricky questions, HR people need to keep coming up with new ones.
User Rank: Author
7/1/2014 | 2:47:49 PM
We hear that GitHub advice form lots of people. Almost a must-have. What do you think of the premortem approach, readers?
AI Regulation: Has the Time Arrived?
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  2/24/2020
Fighting the Coronavirus with Analytics and GIS
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  2/3/2020
IT Careers: 10 Job Skills in High Demand This Year
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  2/3/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Current Issue
IT Careers: Tech Drives Constant Change
Advances in information technology and management concepts mean that IT professionals must update their skill sets, even their career goals on an almost yearly basis. In this IT Trend Report, experts share advice on how IT pros can keep up with this every-changing job market. Read it today!
Flash Poll