Finding the perfect candidate for any job is never easy. When it comes to finding qualified candidates for technical positions, the task is often made more difficult by a growing talent shortage. According to a 2013 survey by ManpowerGroup, 39 percent of employers report difficulties finding qualified candidates for their open positions, with IT jobs listed at the fourth most difficult positions to fill.
Though it may seem unorthodox, hiring non-tech people for technical jobs can provide employers with a solution to the problem. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why:
Many education paths foster qualities necessary for the job
Most hiring managers require candidates to have a minimum of a BA to qualify for the job. Though computer science and information technology degrees are prized, other educational pathways can prepare candidates for a technical job by imparting some of the top qualities hiring managers look for in a candidate.
Some of the best techies are fast learners, possess a good work ethic, and are able to approach situations with an open mind. They have great communication skills and the ability to work well in a team setting. They are responsible, intelligent, and innovative. These qualities are instilled in political science, business, finance, and language majors, as well. There is a level of strategic thinking and learning ability that comes with these types of education and can be directly applied to a job in tech.
The essential skills are natural and transferable
Why should you consider hiring someone who possesses these qualities but lacks technical skill? These qualities may be brought out in education, but they are frequently wired into someone’s basic personality — or even acquired in other professions. Some brilliant HTML programmers lack the interpersonal skills to give them a real edge in their job, and interpersonal skills are hard to teach. On the other hand, someone with excellent communication skills and an amazing work ethic can use that drive to be trained in HTML.
Skills gained from work in other professions can be very transferable to a tech job, as well. For example, a customer service agent from another industry can use those skills as a customer service rep for a tech firm. By the same token, a skilled salesperson with quick learning skills can learn what he or she needs to sell new software or other technology.
Proper training can fill in the knowledge gaps
In today’s world, there are a plethora of environments and methods for training and learning. In many cases, new employees can be trained with specific courses. Some employers even prefer training new hires on the job, as many use proprietary technology with specific needs and usages.
If an individual is driven, has the capacity to learn, the creativity to innovate, and a passion for the industry, the foundation of a great techie has already been established. Though it may be increasingly difficult for your firm to find qualified talent to fill your open jobs, you should consider expanding your search to include these less obvious candidates. A bit of investment in the training they need will result in a multifaceted technical team with the agility to take your company to the next level.
What do you think? What can non-tech people bring to a technical job?
Lisa Bennett is Kaltura‘s Senior Director of Marketing and Public Relations.