Do your job applicants for the IT help desk look like carbon copies of one another? Do you get cross-eyed looking at the heaps of resumes with the same listed qualifications? If you are looking for new ways to separate the good candidates from the great ones, this list could be invaluable to you. Here are some skills that make for a great IT worker, but don’t fall into the normal expectations for a tech geek’s resume.

1. The Power of a Positive Attitude

In a field that lives and dies by hard skills like computer science, attitude isn’t always the main focus when seeking a candidate. But it should be. Candidates that truly believe they can tackle any problem, those who can think outside the box, and the ones who can negotiate with the best hard-noses make great help desk workers. These applicants will forge good relationships with both users and management, while finding unique and innovative ways to solve problems that have plagued your organization for eons. Look for the upbeat interviewee who doesn’t break a sweat when you pop off those tough questions.

2. The Ability to Speak a Foreign Language

Now that the entire world is online, even the smallest businesses find a need for multilingual speakers at the help desk. You never know when you need to communicate with a vendor in Brazil or a consultant in Germany, or a user in French Quebec. Even if you believe you have no use for the particular language skills a candidate possesses, the act of learning a new language improves a worker’s ability to communicate with others effectively and learn new things. This means they pick up quickly on new processes and how to use your ITSM software.

3. Musical Talent and Skill

Study upon study shows a correlation between musical abilities and success in math and science. Students of music have a better grasp of mathematical concepts (think whole note, half note, quarter note) and tend to be strong computer programmers. Musical skills are also a good indication of the ability to use logic.

4. A Background in Library Sciences

Library science, like music, requires a certain set of skills that translates well into IT work. Candidates with these skills have strong research abilities, which is inherently important on the help desk. Library science also teaches the ability to aggregate data and view data sets in unique ways — meaning they are excellent job prospects in environments dealing with big data.

5. Strong Communication Skills, Both Written and Oral

An ongoing problem has existed between the tech workers and the other business staffers since the innovation of computers in the 1960’s. Tech workers speak tech and nobody else understands them. An applicant with a proven ability to speak to average users in plain, simple language is invaluable on the help desk. Written skills are also important if the job involves writing and developing presentations, such as proposals for executives to consider when drafting the IT budget for the year. Good communicators can “Keep it simple, Stupid.”

6. Knowledge and Experience with Mainframe Computers

Mainframes are not dead. This is just an ugly Internet rumor made up to get more people to read tech blogs instead of watching cat videos at work. Mainframes are still responsible for about 60 percent of all enterprise transactions, and most of the programmers with mainframe knowledge and expertise are Baby Boomers getting ready to retire. It’s crucial to get some younger workers into the business who can help maintain systems, write code, develop patches, and generally keep the business running after all those gold watches are given away.

Look for these skills among your job applicants, and score the hidden gems your competitors ignorantly pass by.

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