Chapter OneInterviewing an IT Firm
As employers, we always request a resume and credentials from potential employees, but during the critical procedure of selecting an IT firm this remains mostly overlooked. This is an entity that we'll be entrusting our most valuable business resources, and as such deserves much more attention than is typically given.
What should we look for? Certifications, Credentials, Experience & References.
CERTIFICATIONS & CREDENTIALS
These initial inquiries made by a business interviewing an IT firm tend to be gone through quickly, as if the subject itself is undesirable. Most mid-level businesses and managers exhibit a form of IT phobia when called upon to do this because it makes them feel somewhat "less" than they're accustomed to feeling.
Virtually all critical areas of the IT field are now "certifiable," (pun may be intended at times) or tested and credentials are awarded. Technicians and firms' capabilities are tested on a regular basis as hardware/software environments change rapidly. These certifications require constant updating. Further, software and hardware manufacturers alike test and certify individual technicians on a wide variety of standards within their respective areas. These companies insist that their applicants meet and/or exceed high standards.
The manufacturers wish to insure that their particular product is being implemented and utilized by the most qualified individuals. This assists with the client experience and guarantees repeat sales. Properly implemented, headache-free software goes a long way towards a profitable relationship with a client. These software providers are highly motivated monetarily to do whatever they can to make sure the installation and configuration is performed true to their specifications by qualified personnel.
Further attention should be devoted to the type of certification (s) presented. For instance, I've seen many "technicians" wear their MCP certification proudly, as they should, but it does not certify that they can perform hardware upgrades or install network switches.
I've also seen, many times, firms dispatching less than qualified individuals to address problems for which no certifications, experience, or credentials are possessed.
This is a major problem. Management should know which certifications are possessed by the individuals within the IT firm that they contract with, prior to them being dispatched to address their issues. This knowledge can be gained by inquiring beforehand.