If you truly want to take your small business into the digital age, then you need to hire the best IT talent available.

Not only will an expert IT department keep your business running smoothly, having an experienced tech professional on hand will also help your business avoid any computing pitfalls.

Here are just a few tips to keep in mind when recruiting IT staffers:

Know What Skills You Require

Before you invite candidates to interview for your IT position, you need to know exactly what that position requires.

Are you looking for someone who is well versed in cloud computing and big data or do you simply need someone who can manage your network and small business software?

Chances are you already have a clear idea of the type of IT professional your business needs, but don’t assume a jack-of-all-trades candidate is the right choice. Not all IT professionals are experienced in all aspects of business technology.

Choosing someone who has strengths that align with your needs is a wise choice. Further training can always come later.

Consider Certifications and Experience

The article “Building Your IT Team: How Your Recruiter Should Help” mentions the importance of understanding a candidate’s certifications. Sure, certifications are extremely important, but you shouldn’t overlook experience.

Finding a candidate with the right balance of training and experience is ideal.

For example, if the candidate is a certified computer examiner and certified in applications lifecycle management, ask the candidate how he or she has put those skills to the test.

Calling references can also help when determining the experience level of the candidate.

Ask for a Digital Portfolio

The best IT professionals love what they do and have a real passion for computer technology.

So, if you want to get a sense of the candidate’s passion for the job, ask to review their digital portfolio.

Most candidates won’t have a literal portfolio, but they probably have a few examples of their digital handiwork.

Whether the candidate has designed an app or website or built a CMS for another company, there are a number of examples that can prove a candidate’s passion for the work at hand.

Don’t Overlook Chemistry

The professional qualities mentioned above are important, but don’t forget about chemistry. Unlike other employees at your business, IT staffers interact with all departments on a daily basis.

As a result, you need to find a candidate who is friendly, communicative, and patient. All of these qualities help with chemistry.

Although you won’t be able to really get a feel for chemistry during the interview, choosing a candidate who’s likeable and engaging is a good start.

Try Testing Applicants

As part of the application and interview process, consider giving candidates a practice test in the area of their expertise.

You can either base your test off IT certification information or give a real-world test that presents a common IT problem. This will give you a good idea of how the candidate works under pressure.

When your small business is ready to hire the best IT talent, keep in mind the hiring tips above.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including business IT and job recruiting for small businesses.