Hiring for high stress jobs
Computer job hiring Tips by Donald Burleson
When hiring computer support personnel it's
important to ensure that the job candidate has the skill to deal with the high
stress that accompanies a production support environment. Everyone is
aware of the traditional high-stress occupations (law enforcement, firemen,
military) but many folks don't realize that computer support professionals must
bear a high degree of job stress.
Just like Dentists (who suffer a much higher
suicide rate than the general population of professionals), customers who
contact computer consultants only do-so when they are under great stress and the
computer consultant must be able to deal with irate end-users and IT managers.
When a factory is idle because of a broken
computer the company can be loosing $100k per hour, and their is tremendous
pressure on the support person to get the problem fixed immediately. We
also see high stress in troubleshooting performance problems and doing routine
Production support personnel must be able to stay
awake for days at a time during a crisis while maintaining a clear head.
The central question is how to screen for people who can thrive in a high-stress
One common approach is to hire computer
professionals who have been trained to handle stress. We have found that
U.S. Marines, Airborne Rangers, Seals, and military special Ops professionals
make excellent on-call production support personnel because they have been
specifically trained to cope with high stress situations.
Unfortunately there is no foolproof screen tool
that can separate candidates with a high stress tolerance, yet this is an
important issue for companies who hire computer consultants. The up-front
training costs are high, and you don't want to loose time and money hiring
computer professionals who will quit during the first crisis.
The most important predictor of success in a
high-stress computer environment is prior experience.
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