There used to be a time not so long ago, in a place not very far away, where the landscape of technical recruitment was very different. The mandate sent through from clients focused primarily on the technical skills of an applicant, how well versed they were with certain technologies, and their ability to assist in previously murky areas along with potentially saving them on consultancy or outsourcing costs. This was a time where propeller heads or just generally unsocial types could sit in dark corners, potentially in their basement at home, focus on the technology, and only on the technology – and it was the sole responsibility of the Business Analyst to provide translation services backwards and forwards. A little bit of a ‘he said, she said’ model if you look back on it.
But oh, how the times have changed! The focus of technical recruitment in 2016 is all about finding that fully rounded individual to add value across a multitude of processes and functions within their area. This can include covering some business analysis tasks like requirement gathering, systems mapping and gap analysis; through to actively participating in agile stand ups, scrum meetings, and providing proactive feedback and information around potential technical improvements. We are now looking for technical evangelists with a voice to be heard.
We are looking for those who know their stuff in the depths of a hard drive, and can explain what they have just done, in layman terms to the GM, or a customer services representative. Now that might be a slightly extreme example, but you get what I am saying. And aside from the obvious business benefits of tapping into this previously underutilised knowledge bank –such as being able to get your systems to better reflect your actual business needs. A lot of this is all in the name of Culture or Team Fit. With the Google’s and Yahoo’s of the world as the forerunners in this area, driving more socially aware, engaging and inclusive workplaces are a great way to help retain those technical superstars who were hard won in the first place. And encouraging people in all areas of business to stand up and be heard all plays into this – particularly within IT where it wasn’t necessary a focus before of anyone but the IT Manager reporting back to the board. Often too, it is at the coal face of the technology where you find those who are most aware of new market developments, the best new tools on offer, and the kinks within your current software that if ironed out could represent massive increases in productivity/sales etc. for your organisation.
If you are a candidate looking to make a move at the moment, think about this when going through the job application process. Do you have examples of your own business engagement, and how you assisted technical improvements within your team that you could discuss with your new potential employer? Think of the business implications of your work, not just the technical work undertaken. I certainly wouldn’t suggest telling a hiring manager every place they are going wrong with their technology at first stage interview though… it could have fairly limiting results.
The essential idea here though is that technical candidates when given a voice, often have suggestions that are worth being heard. Although potentially not always the most cost effective solutions. If you are looking for developers in particular get them onto the Open Source bandwagon! You might be surprised at the insights they can offer!