Disruptive Hiring: Empowering Developers to Move Beyond the Job Description

Interview process

by Yewande Ige
Yewande Ige is head of North American recruiting for ThoughtWorks, a software company that thinks disruptively to deliver technology to address challenges, and guest blogger for CitizenTekk, Startup & Technology company news

The phrase, “we hire really talented people,” is the same line given by any software company these days who is serious about producing great software. I have seen, firsthand, that talent does not necessarily have an Ivy League background or a 4.0 GPA.

Creativity and innovation is fostered in an environment where people are able to be their authentic selves, work in a culture that is a “safe place” for everyone, are collaborative, are transparent and that gives people the freedom to make mistakes in the pursuit of “getting it right.”

Recruitment for a Software company

It starts with the interview process. It has to be a two-way conversation. When we embark down the road with potential candidates, we have a tried and tested process.

First, we have an initial interview with a recruiter — we then have an applicant’s interview with a potential peer colleague to talk about their technical skills and experiences and gain more information about working at ThoughtWorks.

Afterwards, we have the recruit conduct a code assignment that gives the prospective developer the opportunity to show us how they think about coding. Would you hire a musician without hearing them play? We see the assignment as an opportunity for developers to not be assessed purely on an ability to answer theoretical questions

After the technical assignment is reviewed, candidates usually come into one of our local office to meet with us in person. We hire from all across the US and will typically combine video interviews with in-person meetings. At the office interview, a candidate will pair with a developer to work on their coding assignment and extend the problem. This gives candidates an opportunity to see what working on a project would be like. It also is a great assessment on collaboration, openness to feedback, critical thinking and ability to learn quickly.

Candidates will then interview with consultants to talk more about consulting and projects as well as the culture and values of ThoughtWorks.

A dynamic interview process has allowed us to uncover talented professionals that results in disruptive thinking. Bottom line, disruptive hiring means not taking a one size fits all approach.

In today’s business landscape, developers need to be able to engage with the client in one way or another on a project, whether it’s as a programming pair around a screen with a developer from the client company or as a business analyst facilitating a planning session with C level executives. The role of tech developers, therefore, needs to combine interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. The ability to communicate effectively, engage, build rapport, influence and build trust are as important as technical skills. When looking to hire, successful companies are taking a 360 degree look at a developers skill set.

Our approach to delivering software is built on the notion that everyone has a collective understanding of the business problem we are trying to solve. Gone are the days where QA simply got handed things to test or the “build” teams were the last on the scene once everything has been designed and coded. Every functional consultant associated with the delivery participates in understanding and solving our client problems from inception through release.

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