When you are hiring a data center employee, you are hiring someone who’ll be responsible for expensive hardware, critical software and sensitive data. According to a US Department of Labor 2003 report, an average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30 percent of the hire’s first year of salary. But this might be a very conservative estimate. In a data center, an employee’s mistake can cost you hardware failures, software corruptions, security vulnerabilities and data loss. So it’s crucial to hire the right person for the job.
Proper Hiring Isn't Easy, But Worth the Effort
Unfortunately, as a data center manager, hiring is one of the great challenges you will face. It’s difficult to figure out what makes a great employee. There are no clear roadmaps. However, the following criteria might give you a blueprint for what to look for in your next hire:
When you start the hiring process, the combination of education, experience, and certifications of the candidate gives you an idea of the level of competence. Education doesn’t necessarily mean a college degree. The candidate might have gained competency through hands-on IT projects. The level and longevity of the experience can indicate the candidate's ability to learn and grow. It’s a good starting point to figure out whether the candidate has the necessary skills to handle the tasks in your data center. Certifications can show the candidate's drive and willingness to improve core competencies and go beyond the call of duty.
The problems in a data center often require the ability to think creatively. It’s not enough to know the processes and procedures. Data center employees need to have the ability to go beyond what is known and resolve new issues. During the hiring process, managers should look at the candidate's ability to think about problems with no clear solutions. It can give you an estimation of an employee’s ability to think creatively.
In order to work in the data center, all your employees need to work as a team. Whenever you are hiring a new employee, you need to make sure that the person has an agreeable demeanor and can cooperate with others. A lack of compatibility can lead to conflicts and create a hostile work environment.
Each data center is unique. Training an employee to handle the ins and outs of a particular data center takes time. According to a study conducted by the Center for American Progress, turnovers for any organization can cost from 16% of the salary for low-level employees to 213% for high-level employees. This highlights the need to ensure the candidate is serious about working in the position long-term. Previous work history can be an indication of the individual’s work ethic. It can help you guess the kind of commitment the person will bring to the job. Also, a noncommittal employee is more prone to make mistakes due to negligence.
The values an employee brings to your organization can affect your whole data center. Data centers are dynamic environments with a lot of opportunities for mistakes. You want to work with an individual who is honest and forthright. Owning up to mistakes and fixing the problems require strength of character. If you hire someone who tries to hide problems, you can end up in a very precarious situation. Also, according to a Symantec study, half of the employees who left or lost their jobs kept confidential corporate data. Data center employees will be responsible for financial and personal information of others. For these reasons, adherence to ethical principles is a must-have quality for your candidates.
Understanding the culture of your own organization requires a little bit of introspection. If your team likes to work in t-shirts and shorts, hiring someone who likes to come to work in a suit is probably not the best choice. Of course, determining a company's culture goes deeper than just the choice of outerwear. You need to develop an awareness of your own culture to understand whether the candidate can fit in or not. Even perfectly competent and committed employees can be problematic if they don’t fit in with the company’s ethos.
Ideally, you want to hire the right person for the right job. But you can’t expect candidates with several years experience to work on a new graduate salary. So you need to research the market and be aware of the current market trends to be able to provide a lucrative package to a potential hire. Without a fair salary, even if an employee accepts a job offer due to personal financial reasons, the individual might underperform on the job in the long-term due to the feeling of being unappreciated. Always ensure that you hire the right person for the right job at the right price.
Human resource management is one of the toughest jobs for any manager. In a down economy, you might find yourself drowning in applications which can make it harder to find the right person. In an up economy, you might have a lack of applications, making it harder to find an employee. Even though hiring is always challenging, time-consuming and costly, the above guidelines will give you a strategy to evaluate candidates and make the best decision.