I have never known a time in our industry when businesses have been able to accomplish so much with so few individual IT resources. Rapid adoption of open source tooling and cheap access to computing platforms like AWS or Azure has significantly empowered individual engineers to build highly elastic and automated systems. This tech empowerment comes with an even greater accountability to create a quality workplace and environment for excellent talented engineers.
We are involved with many Enterprise IT organisations transitioning to a DevOps culture, a single engineer can make all the difference between a high-functioning team contributing boundless work in complete alignment with the business goals or a stymied mismatch of inefficient engineers fraught with tech politics and personal agendas.
Making a considered effort to develop domain talent and attract and hire engineers who appreciate the implications of the DevOps culture will enable organisations with the competitive advantage they seek.
At my own firm Speerhead, we have helped businesses hire many, many alternative styles and creeds. And indeed guided clients around different tribes of DevOps engineers across all our European communities.
Over the last three years, our experience in dealing with leading DevOps tool vendors and the visionary Enterprises ongoing massive Digital transformation has led us to come up with our own five tips for your success in hiring talent.
Tip 1: Sell your company and digital vision first!
The harsh reality is realise you are in a candidate-driven market with top talent hard to find and seemingly everyone IS working and very busy. We see 10’s of dull and boring and not thought- through ‘job specs’ posted ever so hopefully on LinkedIN. Those are not going to attract the right people to you.
Experience dictates you need to create an engaging sets of collateral, engaging internal meetings and how to show off your company. This is a chance to sell the company and sell the great IT team and work ethos you have.
Generate a clear understanding of the technical transition the business is going through and call out the great projects and the technologies that the team will use. An outline of where you are in the DevOps journey or your path to Continuous Delivery is essential.
Tip 2: Who’s the Daddy or Mummy ?
You need a company Digital mentor, a visionary who can inspire and engage with the new engineers. It’s vital to create the magic and make first impressions last through the hiring process. Do you know who that person is inside your organisation?
Tip 3: The three P’s; Personality, personality, personality
There are many profiles on the internet of DevOps skills. Half of these should be soft skills and communication skills, which are essential alongside tech ability.
Benchmark your existing engineers using Speerhead’s online tech & soft skills profiler. Once complete, you have an accurate profile of the engineer’s personality traits, then match the personality sets with all new candidates as they apply. We provide this as part of the CV when selecting engineers.
Tip 4: Rework and speed up normal HR processes.
You need to move fast. Most DevOps engineers are already working on interesting projects and get hired very quickly in the market and choose what projects they would like to work on. There are hundreds out there and yours needs to be special! So many companies lose top talent because they are on their ‘fifth interview’ and been asked the same questions time after time.
Your process has to be aligned with the market and most companies are not. We’re talking about a two- week window for you to find your mentor, excite the candidate by selling the role and company and complete the hire.
Tip 5: Grow you own.
Imagine a service that hires top development graduates or talent from colleges or University then places them with you for six months. Over that six months train the junior DevOps engineers on the relevant skills to become your home grown DevOps engineer, and at the end they transfer to your business full-time.
They will undergo soft skills training, like meeting skills, communications, presentations. Then through process re-engineering to IT automation and tooling and Continuous Delivery principles and practices. At the end of the six months whilst they have been working in your domain and in your business they are fully equipped to add their skills to the team.
So why is this such a great idea? Salaries are rising and the contract market is booming for DevOps engineers, Architects, Consultants. and this has led to a shortage of experienced engineers with exposure to the tech and practices to make it a reality in your organisation.
Bringing on new talent under a defined training program with an understanding of your domain and then backed by a solid on-the-job training will help you develop your own loyal and trusted engineers.
The result? They will grasp the principles and all the cultural attributes of the engineering role whilst being trained on the specific tooling and services that can transform infrastructures. Whilst they are technically competent, they would be shown the direction in which to develop with strong emphasis on soft skills like presentations, meeting, leadership, planning and organisation.
IT and HR partners need to think hard and significantly alter their hiring practices and processes to attract and keep talented DevOps engineers in their businesses.
Long gone are the days of putting a job ad out and expecting a flood of responses. Hiring measures will also have to change around the impact these engineers make to the business rather than the normal hiring KPIs.
Connect and engage socially with the communities, go to the relevant meet-ups and open source vendor events and conferences. The best talent is out there, but you need to go and find it. Or better still we can do it for you! Over the last three years we have access to over 15,000 DevOps architects, solution engineers and engineers across Europe.