The Joys and Sorrows of IT Hiring


By Tina J. McConnell
Director of Professional Services
Trivalent Group, Inc.

Wow, have I had a lot of practice with IT hiring! With a negative unemployment rate in IT in West Michigan, the market is ripe for staff to move between IT companies. Know IT? You can almost pick your job and your salary.

Some days, as I listen to the team dynamics, I think, “What a great job I did hiring that staff member!” Other days, I ask myself, “How did I miss that?”


The joy of hiring occurs when you find that employee that fits with the team, really does have the skillset you thought you were hiring, and is a delight to both observe and work beside. I am lucky to have hired and work with a lot of those people.


In our organization, we create a service ticket based on our “Departing Member Checklist.” As I was creating and updating one of those tickets today, I realized that what I was feeling was grief. When the last staff member left, I forgot to create her ticket until almost the last day; I think Dr. Sigmund Freud would have something to say about that! After I hire that perfect right fit, a little piece of me dies when that person leaves. Even when I’m proud of him/her for growing in his/her field and pursuing the next opportunity in his/her career (as so many of our hires are young), it is still a blow to me when that person leaves.


That’s what happens in-between joy and sorrow. Joy = great hire. Sorrow = great hire leaves voluntarily. Frustration = thought it was a great hire. Perhaps he/she turns out not to know how to do what we need or can’t follow directions or has an attendance problem or a myriad of other “misses.” Now, there’s coaching, improvement plans, and exit strategies. Time suck.

What if every hire were the perfect hire? What if no one ever quit? I’d have a lot more time on my hands! Finding candidates, reviewing resumes, screening, evaluating skillset, face-to-face interviews, negotiating, on-boarding, training—these all take a great deal of time. And it’s important. I expect I have a better-than-average track record, but it isn’t perfect; is anyone’s? Share your “silver bullet” (if you have one) for sorting the wheat from the chaff and hopefully experiencing the joy of hiring more often than the sorrow.