Ensuring You Hire the Right Team when You Don’t Understand the Technology

February 21, 2019

Martyn Hurricks – Director and Cofounder of Talent Locker explores the importance of hiring the right team in markets you are not experienced in.

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Introduction

The technology choices we make as businesses can have a huge influence on our capabilities as a business. We need to ensure that we pick the right technology, partner with the right people and put the systems in place to allow us and our employees to do our best work.

If you’re a manager or c-level exec and you don’t understand technology (or even an element of technology) what do you do when it comes to making significant choices about the team that looks after it for you? What do you do when this happens? How do you ensure you pick the right person to lead your team, or even the right partners to trust with such crucial decisions?


Start with The ‘Known Knowns’

At this point, it is important that you take a little time to outline what you have and what you need in the simplest way possible. The kind of questions you want to ask yourself are:

-          What technology/solution do you have in place?

-          Who is responsible for this technology?

-          Why do you need somebody new now?

-          Have any technology decisions been made?

-          What will change as a result of those decisions?

-          Why do you need somebody new now?

The key things to understand at this point is what you currently have in place – the people, the processes and the technology – and how these need to be improved or changed. This will provide you with the information you need about who your team are and what you require from them.

A common move is to attempt to remove a high cost (but also a highly expert) contract with a partner/supplier. The intention is that the expertise will be brought in-house and they will start supporting significant parts of their system themselves, improving productivity and reducing costs at the same time. Whilst this can lead to increased in-house expertise and direct access to a specialist, it can be a difficult process to manage.

The reason these partnerships come at a cost is because these companies add a lot of value to your business. Whilst arguably the very best partners may be able to help you gain a full understanding of who you need to require and take you to the next step, they may also be wary as they will see that they are effectively being replaced by your new hire. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start out by asking them for advice though, provided you have a good relationship with them.


Building Your Team

Once you have established your current position and what you need, you’ll quickly identify the gaps in your team and that’ll help you establish who you need. Whilst this will present you with the basic requirement, you may need to call on some support to sharpen this up and ensure that you are attracting the right candidates. The best places to start when outlining your requirement are a) the IT leadership in your organization and b) the team leader of the team with the gap.

If neither of these are in place, then those leadership or managerial positions are going to be the first that need to be filled to kickstart your process of change. The new hires should be seen as the lead dominos who will ultimately help define your systems and processes and have a huge role to play in whether or not your projects are a success.

At this point you can then call on a specialist recruitment company to find your lead domino who is going to make everything else possible. If you need someone for a CRM project, call on a CRM recruiter etc; your focus needs to be on finding someone with the technical capacity to help and advise you rather than a generalist agency.

Once you have them working with you, ensure that they are aware that you are looking for team leaders and work with them on the technology side of things. They are going to be able to highlight skills, qualifications and experiences that will make a candidate more or less likely to be capable of the work needed to complete your project. This will allow you to focus on the character, problem solving and leadership skills of the candidates they put forward. It’s a great way to collaborate on such an important decision that will shape how your business works over the coming years.


Getting the Right Person – 1st Time

The lead domino is so important in these projects, that it is crucial that you get this right and highly preferable that it is first time, with no costly mistakes. Your time and attention need to be focused on the leadership skills and character of your leaders, so that you can ensure that you have the right cultural fit for someone who is going to become a vital part of your team.

It is important that you do not underestimate the requirement as part of a cost-cutting exercise or missed key skills off the job description. So, work with a reputable partner who you can trust to get this right. This partner may be a trusted connection, a technology provider or a recruitment company with the technical expertise to help you get that 1st hire right, the first time around.

It really can be as simple as taking stock of what you know, using trusted partners to help you with the unknown aspects of your needs and then putting this combined knowledge to use to ensure you hire a team leader. This team leader can then take the responsibility for sitting within your team and identifying the future needs in line with the strategy of your company.

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