May 30, 2016
I am the founder of a recruitment organization and most of my clients are technical managers of start-ups and small businesses. The positions we work on are highly technical and complex. The expectation is that we bring technically savvy candidates to the table, every time. Recruiters are not expected to be technical, and very few have any knowledge or understanding of technology. That means that the person who is interviewing you for your next job, holds your livelihood in their hands, has little ability to assess your qualifications.
While keyword searching is the norm, it’s simply not effective. When you’re in a niche industry like Software, strong applicants are few and far between. The system is broken. I have decided to disrupt this industry.
I have written previously about ensuring that our organization treats everyone fairly, avoids mass mail completely, and is responsive and caring to everyone we meet. That is the first step, but it simply cannot be the last.
Having a technology culture means that you have a team of individuals who are passionate about technology. They seek the answers to complex questions on their own, they go the extra mile to understand new innovations, and they are constantly learning, growing and adapting. A technology culture is the constant search for new information and a deep understanding of past, current, and future trends.
Building a technology culture with non-technical people seems impossible, but it’s really not. It’s not easy, but my father taught me that anything worth doing in life is hard. The question is not whether or not to do this; the question is how.
The first step is the hardest; building a culture of ‘sales’ people that are passionate about technology. How you do this will stay my secret for now, but I promise to write about it in the near future 😉
The second step is implementing an ongoing process for education. This must be malleable, requires experts in the field, communication and influence by your team, and a good ability to use my favorite resource, Google. This is where it gets hard, but again, not impossible. We have explored a number of solutions for this. First and foremost, understanding what software is. Starting with the basics the way that our candidates did in first year computer science, or their initial stages of learning development, wherever they achieved this knowledge. Beyond writing a comprehensive 40 page (and growing) technical manual, we have built interactive sessions that go on weekly and indefinitely to ensure an actual understanding of this complex material. With the help of a Technology Leader, we have achieved a knowledge base that allows us to have conversations that shock candidates.
The third step: Advanced training was the next challenge. The first thing we implemented were weekly “tech talks”, discussing new technologies, processes and methodologies. Each of us spends 15 minutes on Monday morning training each other. This builds a community, and really is a strong factor towards attaining a “tech culture”. These talks are built to keep ourselves informed about what the challenges our developers are facing with new technologies like Apache Spark or Google Go, why a client would choose native over hybrid, and what Agile really means.
The fourth step, but certainly not the final, is learning to code. So many online resources are available, but you can also learn web technologies at Bitmaker or Lighthouse, Ladies learning code (for now, as we are all women). The success of this education is yet to be seen, but rest assured it will be blogged soon. (One of my recruiters has built an entire food blog online using html and CSS, and it’s going live soon!)
Once you get to this point, interviews start to change.
The level of questions we ask takes some candidates aback, but most embrace it and respect us for it. This method does not find you the best talent; you still have to search for it! However, it’s how you avoid sending candidates that simply do not know what they say they do, and avoid wasting everyone’s time. There is a job for every person, and for every person a job. It’s about matching candidates and companies up seamlessly, and for this you need to know the intricacies of your industry. That’s why I am building a tech culture.
Please check out our website for more information: www.sagerecruiting.me