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How to hire a top-performing IT team


A dedicated IT team to keep your systems up and running around the clock has become essential for every business, regardless of size. Even a few hours off the grid can spell disaster for a company.

Building an IT team, however, is a challenging task. You need a nuanced understanding of the roles, skills, and processes involved in IT hiring. Unless you’re a professional in the field, you probably won’t know exactly what to look for, which makes the task even harder.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to build your IT team from scratch, even if you have no prior knowledge of IT hiring. We’ll go over the following topics:

Follow our guide, and you’ll build an effective IT team in no time.

What do IT teams do?

Your IT team’s key responsibility is to manage and maintain your company’s hardware and software systems. This includes a wide variety of tasks, such as: 

  • Providing technical support

  • Safeguarding and protecting your data and systems from malware

  • Setting up and managing IT infrastructure

  • Implementing new software

However, this only scratches the surface of what IT teams do. To gain a proper understanding of the many hats they wear, we can break an IT department’s duties into the following categories: 

  • Administrative support: An IT team will provide administrative and technical support by setting up, troubleshooting, and maintaining all technological systems. They must also update regularly, keep your systems clean, fix network and connectivity issues, and back up and recover digital assets. 

  • Security: A competent IT team will prioritize system security at all times. They must protect your data and systems from malware, implement cybersecurity measures in line with the latest best practices, and proactively address possible system vulnerabilities. 

  • Communications: Most companies nowadays have an online presence, which mandates some sort of digital communication. Whether it’s internal or external, your IT team will aid you in communicating with your team and clients through online means. This includes setting up the hardware and software for online meetings, managing login details, and maintaining email systems.

  • Programming and development: Another duty of the IT department might be to create new pieces of software based on your company’s needs. This can include building your website's front and back end, developing a digital product, or creating a new software solution for a specific problem you’re facing. 

What are the most essential roles in an IT team?

You must know what to look for when hiring your IT team. Below are the most essential roles in any IT department. 

Systems administrator

A systems administrator evaluates and optimizes IT systems for efficiency, ensuring all computers and servers are up-to-date and secure. They will also do the following: 

  • Maintain computer systems

  • Manage networks

  • Set up and configure hardware and software

  • Troubleshoot technical and network issues

  • Set up system and data backups and recovery procedures

  • Provide technical support to users

Some of these tasks are delegated to designated technical staff or network administrators in larger organizations. Companies may specifically look for cloud system administrators, too. 

For the best results, define the key duties of the role clearly before writing your job description for a system administrator.

Overall, the systems administrator is responsible for the smooth operation of your company’s networks and IT systems and is an integral part of any IT team. 

Cybersecurity expert

In the face of increasing cyber threats, cybersecurity experts are crucial for implementing and managing security measures. 

A cybersecurity expert will detect threats early on and implement changes to protect your organization from malware and ransomware. They are responsible for monitoring, containing, and remedying IT threats. 

When hiring for this role, make sure you ask the right cybersecurity interview questions for an in-depth understanding of applicants’ skills.

Data scientist

A data scientist works with datasets and extracts insights that can give your organization an edge over your competition. 

The data scientist’s job is to find patterns from the data you collect from customers and give you insights into their behavior. You can use this information to make better forecasts, enhance user experience, foster innovation, and identify opportunities and risks. 

IT project manager

Every team needs someone at the helm, leading them toward success and providing advice and mentoring when needed. 

An IT project manager is responsible for planning and delivering projects, meeting deadlines, communicating with stakeholders, and keeping their team in check. They’ll also implement changes and innovations to streamline your business processes. 

What skills to look for when building an IT team?

skills to look for when building an it team graphic

When hiring an IT team, there are several soft and hard skills to look for in all candidates. Here are the most crucial ones: 

Technical proficiency 

Every IT team member must have a strong technical foundation to perform their duties efficiently. 

Core technical skills to look for: 

While not every IT team member will need to know the intricacies of Python or JavaScript, having some knowledge of programming languages and the rest of the skills mentioned above is a must for your IT employees.

Software skills 

Every IT team member will work with many different software tools, regardless of their exact role. This could include more common programs, such as Microsoft Excel, or more complex ones, as working with SQL Server Management Studio

Whatever it is, they need to have practical knowledge of specific software. TestGorilla offers various tests that evaluate software skills and proficiency. 

Analytical skills

The ability to analyze data, information, and situations is an important skill to look for in IT team members. 

Analytical skills will enable your IT department to make informed decisions, increase efficiency, and prioritize what’s most important. They are also more versatile since they can think quickly and change their perspective to align with new circumstances. 

Problem-solving skills

Hiring IT professionals with top problem-solving skills will help you build a strong IT team. You want employees who can quickly find solutions to complex situations and confront issues in the best possible way, while also keeping an eye on deadlines.

Solving these problems involves a great deal of creative and analytical thinking. IT members who can think outside the box will be able to find innovative solutions to common problems and figure out how to tackle new issues. 

Тhis will save you money in the long run, as you won’t need to hire outside experts each time you need to deal with complex IT challenges. 


It cannot be stated enough how important good communication is. 

According to David Grossman, the average loss attributed to poor communication to and between employees is $62.4 million per year per company.

Good communication entails listening carefully, expressing ideas and concerns clearly, and finding solutions that serve everyone well. When hiring and building your IT team, find candidates who can do those things with ease. 

It’s no secret that people working in the IT sector have struggled with their bad reputation regarding communication skills. Many are perceived as introverts; however, that shouldn’t stop you from looking for people who can talk clearly and listen carefully. Of course, you need to ensure good communication is the norm at your workplace in the first place. 

Team and project management

For role-specific skills, focus on finding an IT manager with top project management skills.

You want a person with great cognitive skills, excellent numerical and verbal reasoning, and strong attention to detail. The ability to listen carefully and prioritize and delegate tasks according to the department’s and the company’s goals are also a must. 

Naturally, qualities such as leadership, great communication, emotional intelligence, and integrity are key for a leadership role. The IT project manager is the heart and glue of your IT team, so make sure to find candidates that tick all the boxes. 

How to build a successful IT team: A step-by-step guide

To build a successful IT team, follow our step-by-step guide and find the perfect candidates. 

Step 1: Define the structure of your future IT team

The first step is to define how your IT team will function when assigning and coordinating tasks. Picking the right team structure ensures that everyone: 

  • Knows what they’re responsible for

  • Who they should turn to in case they encounter problems

  • Understands how to delegate tasks to others

  • Functions at their best ability

Depending on your company’s size and what you want to achieve, you can use one of several structures for your IT department, such as: 

Functional structure

The functional model is one with a clear hierarchical structure

The IT department has its own leadership that delegates tasks to teams based on their functions: tech support, cybersecurity, administration, network management, and more. The head of the department then reports to the CTO. 

This structure is suitable for large organizations with many departments.

Divisional structure

The divisional structure is suitable for businesses that have multiple locations or divisions. 

Each division has its own IT department, which is responsible for the specific needs of its division. One division might need only tech support, while another could need tech support and application development. 

This structure allows for more versatility and customization. 

Matrix structure

The matrix structure is a mix of functional and divisional structures. 

In it, IT departments are structured functionally, and each functional structure supports different divisions. This allows for better resource allocation and is ideal for businesses tackling complex issues. 

Project-based structure

Finally, you could use a project-based structure. 

The IT department is structured based on projects, where each project has its own IT project manager and team. 

This structure is perfect for businesses that develop various applications simultaneously and must divide production lines to maintain efficiency. 

Step 2: Identify the roles for which you need to hire

Once you decide on your IT team’s structure, it’s time to identify the roles you want to hire for. 

Define your objectives by asking these questions:

  • Are you currently developing a new application or software solution?

  • Is your organization growing and in need of new hardware and software?

  • Are you working with large datasets and need to analyze them for more efficiency?

  • Does your organization have multiple offices in different locations?

Based on your answers, you’ll know what roles to look for and whether you need one person to do the job or create a team with different functions.

Another thing to consider is whether your objectives need a full-time employee or if you can achieve them with a freelancer.  If the project is small, you might decide to hire a freelancer rather than a full-time employee. 

Step 3: Source IT candidates

After you define the roles you want to hire for, it’s time to find your candidates. Consider these options:

  • Social media: Social media is a great place to find fresh talent. Use your own channels to reach out to candidates – and make sure you leverage your LinkedIn presence. 

  • Your website: Your website’s job board is also a good place to start. Post your job opening and wait for people to reach out on their own. 

  • Freelance job boards: If you need to work on a small project, consider finding freelance IT specialists on job sites such as Upwork or Fiverr.

  • Agencies: Another way to find candidates is through specialized agencies like Adecco.

  • Referrals: Finally, use your employees to find more talent through employee referral programs.  

Step 4: Evaluate key IT skills for each role

When you have enough candidates to choose from, it’s time to evaluate their skills. 

Resumes can be misleading, because you can never know whether they reflect reality and accurately describe a person’s skills – or whether applicants have embellished their experience and abilities (like 55% of Americans who admit having done this in the past).

Pre-employment skills testing ensures you can objectively evaluate candidates’ skills before employing them, avoiding bad hires and biased hiring.

Use TestGorilla’s skills tests to find skilled IT professionals in no time. Here are our top skill tests for IT recruitment: 

  • Communication: Use this test to find strong communicators who know how to convey information and listen carefully to others.

  • Problem solving: Anyone working in IT needs to be an expert problem solver. Evaluate applicants’ skills with this test.

  • Cybersecurity: Check whether candidates are aware of the best practices in cybersecurity and know how to protect your data and IT infrastructure.

  • Clean code: If you’re hiring for roles that require coding, make sure your candidates know how to write clean code.

  • Project management: Make sure applicants have the right skills if you’re hiring for project management roles.

  • Bash: Identify applicants who know how to use the Bash shell in Linux effectively. 

  • Windows Server Administration: Find out who has the right skills to deploy and use Windows Server.

Step 5: Use the right IT interview questions

Once you identify the best candidates in your candidate pool, you can invite them to an interview for a more in-depth assessment of their skills. If you need inspiration for questions you can ask, check out our: 

In each of the above articles, you’ll find sample answers to the most important questions, enabling you to evaluate candidates even if you’re not an IT expert yourself. 

Step 6: Hire and onboard new employees

After you’ve gone through your interviewing process, it’s time to extend an offer to your best candidates. Once they accept it, it’s time to enroll them in your onboarding program

This includes preparing all the legal paperwork, setting up their login details, introducing them to their new colleagues, organizing orientation tasks, and assigning them to a mentor. 

Ensure your new IT employees feel welcome and cared for so they can start performing well as soon as possible.

Step 6: Use the right IT tools

Keep in line with the latest IT trends to stay on top of your game and manage your IT department with ease. Here are some IT tools to consider using:

  • Project management: Jira, Asana, ClickUp

  • Document management software: Adobe Document Cloud, eFileCabinet

  • Cybersecurity tools: Tenable.io, InsightVM

  • Help desk software: Zendesk

Build the best IT team with TestGorilla

Building an efficient IT team can be easy if you know how to do it.

The most important thing is to source candidates with the right skills and mindset for the job. Pre-employment skills tests enable you to evaluate candidates’ abilities, behavior, motivation, and even how aligned they are with your company culture.

Get started with TestGorilla’s free plan today and find your perfect IT candidates in no time. If you would like to learn more about how TestGorilla can help you create the perfect IT skills assessment, book a free live demo with a member of our team today.


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