The role of the IT department is evolving – there’s no doubt about it. As CIOs and senior IT leaders seek to shift the IT department from a cost center to a source of profitability for the organization, it requires a model of IT support beyond the traditional “break-fix” model. This means a culture focused on training employees on how to use new tools and continuously communicating the benefits of these new technologies and processes.

This change in the IT department’s role is driving an emphasis on service quality across IT and, in particular, the service desk. As CIOs look to improve their standing within the business, the question emerges: should their organizations hire candidates based on technology knowledge or customer service skills?

An alternative to hiring for customer service or tech skills is to look for candidates with the right attitude. For instance, when hiring for attitude you might look at how a candidate interacts with staff during shadowing sessions as a part of the hiring process. This will have several benefits:

  • A larger candidate pool: Hiring for attitude opens the organization to candidates beyond the traditional service desk community.
  • Supports the changing IT service desk: By hiring for attitude, the IT help desk can seek out candidates with skills that best suit the new support methods. For example, for chat support, personal initiative is an important skill set to have along side strong grammar and typing skills.
  • Stronger department culture: Because you are hiring for attitude, new candidate should be a natural fit for your department, ultimately strengthening the team and reducing turnover.

Hiring for attitude doesn’t mean that technical skills are not important – they are. But assessing attitude along with technical capabilities may be the best approach for meeting the service expectations of the business, therefore keeping the IT department and the CIO happy.

For more, Bomgar’s Stuart Facey shares a deeper look at striking the right balance between soft and technical skills in this article in Information Age.