When it comes to demand for IT talent; developers, coders, and programmers have never had it so good. But do those making these key hires always know what they’re buying? As Peter Cummings, Founder, DevScore, wonders how long recruiters can stay on the backfoot for.
Recruiting for niche IT positions continues to be a problem. It’s not that there’s (necessarily) a shortage of talent, but as demand for connected devices and Internet of Things technology starts to gain traction, organisations that have never before hired software developers and programmers now find themselves in desperate need of them. Yesterday.
Great news for us techies, right? Well, kinda. The thing is we need to make sure that what we’re being hired to do, is exactly what the companies hiring us need us to actually do. That might sound odd, but if (like me) you’ve been in the dev game for a good few years, you’ll appreciate the challenge of being led tentatively towards a role that your skills aren’t the best fit for, or being ushered into an organisation where the need initially identified isn’t quite as urgent as first thought.
With the shoe on the other foot for a moment — it’s hard for those tasked with hiring us to keep track of IT demands. Not just because IT has a pretty steep learning curve; but it’s constantly changing. A lot of HRs and recruiters don’t know what they don’t know. They lack the depth of technical knowledge needed to hire the right coder for the job — because they aren’t coders themselves.
Conventional wisdom just doesn’t apply. Illustrating a developer’s breadth of expertise using just a CV doesn’t work, so recruiters resort to other methods, doing their best to assess skills through coding tests and other time consuming tasks. Which can often be a massive waste of time for all.
Where development’s concerned, for HR types, getting the right person in place matters more than in most other hires — mostly because we coders come at a premium and are often fought over tooth and nail by different companies.
So how can we demonstrate our skills and expertise in the right way?
Well, first we need to emphasise our specific skillsets and explain how experience and expertise supercede formal education. A lot of software developers are completely self-taught (myself included) and few have any formal education (and we’re in good company considering the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg swapped education for entrepreneurship).
The fact is the best person for the job might not be who you’d first expect. This fact requires a bit of a mindset shift from a HR perspective. And while skills are inherently difficult to prove, demonstrating impact is a good alternative to coding tests, in-depth interviews, and awkward discussions.
Overall, it’s crucial that companies hire developers that can hit the ground running — for everyone’s benefit. But getting the right fit for any job means helping HRs and recruiters better understand the value you can bring and guiding them through your specific skills — without dazzling them with technical jargon.
Insight like this will ultimately help recruiters and HR managers minimise hiring errors in an increasingly important and costly area of their businesses.
Plus it’ll make your working life a whole lot easier — so you can concentrate on doing the job you were hired to do, rather than pick your way through Jira tickets and technical documentation until the lead dev gets it together…