The Technologies Don't Always Matter

Don’t be obsessed with acronyms or technologies. Almost any technology can be learned with enough training, and if you truly have deep needs in one particular technology, you can always outsource. Capital letters in resumes are more often red herrings than harbingers of a good match. Stop staring at those acronyms on the resume and listen to the words that come out of a candidate’s mouth.

Don’t be afraid to play dumb, or better yet just be dumb. Ask them to explain almost everything they tell you. Anytime they mention some system or technology that you’ve never heard of, stop right there and ask them to explain it. Better yet, have them draw you a picture. After all, this is exactly what your faculty and staff will be doing to the candidate on his or her first day of the job.

One corollary to this piece of advice: avoid the overemphasis of technologies in your job posting—particularly when it comes to academic technology. Do you really think someone needs experience with iMovie, Prezi, or SMARTBoards to be a good trainer of those technologies? A good academic technology specialist will pick up a new technology as easily as a professional saxophonist can pick up the flute, which any musicians out there will know is also a reed instrument. The number one role of your job posting is to make sure you separate out the saxophonists from the violinists, so you don’t waste your time during interviews and call screens.