Sorry introverts! It’s time for customer-centric IT teams


There was a time when IT teams were insular groups, rarely venturing out of their corner of the company to interact with others, except to put hardware back online or fix an issue with an employee’s computer. Today, that landscape is much different. Technology is a strategic driver of success, and now that IT departments are interacting more with external customers and internal customers (employees) than ever before, customer-centric IT teams are starting to become the norm throughout many organizations.

Given this shift, it is necessary for hiring teams to evolve and stop thinking inwardly. They must seek out candidates who have the soft skills to collaborate with colleagues and drive customer satisfaction, and thus must re-examine their hiring process for the new era.

Redefine Your Definition of an IT Candidate

IT professionals have a reputation for being introverts. The field attracts people who do their best work when they are focused on their core tasks and don’t have to interact with others. There are still some positions that fit this description, but as IT teams become more responsible for strategic initiatives that impact the entire company and outside customers, outgoing personalities are a must.

To find people like this, companies must think outside the box. Look for IT professionals who have nontraditional experience. They may come from the “business” side of the equation, which means they understand how customer-centric IT impacts other departments, and they have probably developed the soft skills required for effective collaboration and greater customer satisfaction.

Rework Your Hiring Process to Recruit Customer-Focused Professionals

If you want to hire next-gen, customer-centric IT talent, you cannot approach hiring in the traditional way. In order to identify strong soft skills, managers must sit down and identify the core capabilities each positon requires in order to work better with internal and external customers. Develop an interview process that allows you to identify those capabilities and qualities, and be sure to talk about customer service expectations with each interviewee.

If customer service is a critical piece of your company’s mission and vision, make that clear throughout the interview process. Candidates need the opportunity to evaluate your organization just as much as you need the opportunity to evaluate them. Drive home the fact that you are a customer-centric business and that their jobs will require them to be aligned with that vision. It helps to talk a little bit about how IT fits into the customer service equation as well, so that candidates fully understand how their work impacts customers.

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