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Arizona’s tech industry is a “rising star,” Todd Sanders, the CEO of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, wrote this fall. The Phoenix Business Journal published a similar observation in December’s “Arizona tech industry hitting the fast lane,” essay by guest contributor Steve Zylstra, and there are many others. With the rise of our tech industry comes the challenge of staffing these companies with the best talent.

All companies do their best to hire technical staff who are capable in the technology they need.  Many attempt to locate qualified candidates through their human resources department initially. However, the typical HR department has many other responsibilities and not necessarily a solid understanding of the specifics required when dealing with technology hires.  Human Resource departments focus on the corporate culture, dealing with conflicts in employee relationships, payroll, employee benefits, and training in addition to managing hiring and retention.  When a hiring manager sends in a job request for a network engineer, does the department have a thorough understanding of what knowledge that position requires? What about a software engineer dealing with a specific stack of technology?

When dealing with technology positions and corporate culture, it becomes a little more difficult to find the right person for the job.  What are the baseline skills needed to perform the job?  Is it a mature environment with more maintenance than support and troubleshooting?  Is the business growing rapidly and does the person need to be able to think on their feet or are they dealing with general day-to-day support working with business users, physical devices, and applications?  Will the developers be adding functionality to the existing application landscape or will they be handling a new application build?

Why AI Isn’t Very Effective in Locating Great Candidates

When looking at resumes, companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) more and scanning resumes for keywords.  One job posting may have hundreds to thousands of applicants depending on the market, location, and posting.  Glassdoor conducted a survey and from 250 resumes, four to six candidates will be interviewed and one will be hired.

While AI will be able to search for specific keywords in a resume, can they truly help with getting the best candidates?  "AI speeds up the process but lacks the human contact needed to flush out actual understanding of the skill sets of the candidate," according to Timothy Derrickson, Director of Operations at Derrico Computers. AI may miss a qualified candidate because some technical candidates may not have the corresponding keywords in their resume, in spite of doing that job day-in and day-out.  For example, when looking for a network engineer, you may need someone experienced in working with a specific vendor’s device. If you look for candidates only with “Juniper” experience, you may miss all the candidates experienced with similar devices. Companies may be overlooking candidates that could perform well in their corporate culture, though they may need a small amount of time to get up to speed supporting the environment.

Why Technical Screening is Better

It’s important to speak with candidates in detail regarding specific technologies in order to help the hiring manager understand their true skill set. This is the reason technical screeners employed by Derrico Computers are all technology specialists working in the IT field. Only by examining the technical expertise of an applicant can you really get a comprehensive assessment of the overall knowledge of the candidate.  Without a thorough assessment, a human resources manager may hire a candidate who ticks all the boxes in the initial interview, but once in the job can’t learn fast enough or handle the specifics of the job. It can save your company time and money to use a technical screener to help find a qualified candidate who is able to ramp up quickly and provide the support your company needs.IT staff performing system checks

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