Survey: Industry Experience Critical for Technology Candidates

Aug 25, 2005

MENLO PARK, CA -- All things being equal, insider expertise can tip the scales in a job seeker’s favor, a new survey of chief information officers (CIOs) shows.  Forty-three percent of information technology (IT) executives polled said applicants with industry-specific experience have an advantage when it comes to proving they’re perfect for the position.  Soft skills and relevant certification were the next most-frequently selected, attributes with 32 percent and 15 percent of the response, respectively.

The national poll includes responses from more than 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees.  It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis.

CIOs were asked, “If two candidates interviewing for an IT position had similar skills, which one of the following additional qualifications would you find most valuable?”  Their responses:


Industry-specific experience   43%
Soft skills   32%
Certification in a relevant technology   15%
IT-related undergraduate degree   8%
MBA   1%
Other/don’t know       1%

"While the job market is picking up, many companies remain selective when hiring IT professionals,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology.  “Executives seek individuals with a deep understanding of the issues, challenges and tools specific to their industries, and who can contribute immediately to the company’s success.”

Lee recommends candidates new to a particular field focus on transferable skills.  “To convince hiring managers they can excel in the organization, prospective employees should relate previous work experience directly to the requirements of the job opening.” 

With more than 100 locations in North America and Europe, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network engineering and technical support.  Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at

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