Finding a quality candidate is an exacting process.
Whether you are struggling to settle on the right developer in a crowd or make a choice between two exceptional finalists, it’s easy to find yourself locked in analysis paralysis and over analysing your decision. However, revisiting some core professional qualities can quickly help break the tightest of logjams.
So, here are three essential skills that can prove to be helpful ‘green lights’ when hiring for any software candidate. Starting with-
Diverse Professional Experience
When it comes to picking out a hire, it’s important to think about ketchup. Speaking on the Reply All podcast in 2016, University of Michigan Professor Scott Page put forward the idea that individuals who followed an unconventional path to their career often provide solutions and insights their conventionally trained peers would not. By way of explanation, he used the analogy of two individuals who were hungry for hot-dogs who wanted something other than ketchup on their meal. One kept their bottle in the fridge and the other in the cupboard. In reaching for a solution to their problem (the ketchup), both individuals would find themselves with a completely different range of options (alternate solutions), with variety adding value.
In reality, this can be as simple as selecting a candidate that has retrained from a role in a different sector or is transitioning from a client-facing to a back-end role. However, it is worth remembering that – however plentiful their potential - it’s vital to select a hire that has demonstrable proficiency in their future role.
While you can train someone to code, it’s much more difficult to teach them how to think. Working with care and diligence is an vital part of contemporary development practice and can often falls to the wayside when it comes to pressures of daily work. Choosing an employee with a natural aptitude for this can pay dividends in time sensitive situations where the greatest care is needed.
To give an example, many companies have found themselves in the fortunate position of a securing a genius hire - one who quickly proves to be a superstar developer. But when it comes to their code reviews and client interactions, the wheels come off. They find it difficult to share their proposed solutions as they work ‘intuitively’ in their head or become frustrated by ‘slowing down’ and being forced to outline their thinking. Having a demonstrable track record of diligence without it affecting delivery is a great sign that the individual will be a solid fit for any team.
It’s important to hire the best person for the job. However, failing to define exactly what ‘best’ means can be an all-too-common pitfall. It’s worth remembering that a high degree of job specialisation can often come at a cost, as extensive time spent working with one platform leaves their skills and knowledge lacking in other areas.
A simple way to catch this is to apply a rule that, the more specific their role, the more comprehensive their base knowledge should be. Remember that if your business pivots away from using the tool or process in question, this can leave your hire floundering and unsatisfied. And, at this point, it’s often only a matter of time before they move on - taking their embodied knowledge with them.
At Enso Recruitment we build high-performing software teams and rewarding, fulfilling IT careers in Northern Ireland. To find out more about how we can help you to grow a great software team, reach out to Enso and become part of our circle!
Tel: +44 (0) 2890993445