Real SMB IT: Hiring that First Tech leader

March 12, 2010

I have written several times that when you are looking for that first technology manager for your SME business, that when you evaluate candidates, looking too much at only their technology skills is a mistake.  (One example is this post titled; Results? or Skills? )

My reason for that statement is simply that the pure “tech” part of the position is easy for a technologist to pick up quickly. As your hires start being required to be more results based, you need different metrics.

I want to give an example!

As an IT Manager in a small business, yes, I do a lot of the down in the weeds “techie” tasks as well as the longer term strategic planning.

The  Case In Point

Help Desk Failure!

I was having a problem with the support team of a hosted (SaaS) product we are using. Plain and simple, after a week of phone calls  they had still not resolved the issue.

As this software can be purchased in both SaaS format, (where you run the software off of their servers), and also by direct purchase where you install the software on your own servers, that gave me an option that I chose to use!

The version of that software designed for you to buy and install yourself? Well, there was a demonstration version available for download!

You guessed it! I downloaded that trial version of the software, I installed it on a test computer, I configured it, and then I identified on my own what would resolve my support issue.

Of course, I called my hosted vendor back on the support ticket and told them what to do to fix the problem.

The SMB Takeaway

If I was assisting you in reviewing candidates for a new IT leadership position?

I would recommend candidate ‘A’ who has successfully implemented similar, or even competitive products, rather than candidate ‘B’ who has years of just technical experience with the product you are thinking of.

Because like my story above, the pure technical part is the easiest.

The difficult part is the leadership, the relationships, and the results.

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Photo Credit Francisco Martínez via flickr

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