Recently I had to look for a new devops for our team. I have been handling
technical recruitment at many occasions, and each time I have to explain my
colleagues that I have a special process. The fact is, the technical sphere is
a small one, we are all linked, more or less, to a community. Well, in my
case, I always have had to recruit people in companies that were hiring the
kind of people that commit on github, have some kind of community activity, at
least. I guess that in huge companies where people are just a set of
checkboxes, things go a bit differently.
But anyways, in my case, and probably in the case of all recruiters in modern
and small businesses, it’s not all about checkboxes and profiles. It’s about
personality, compatibility, and mindset. So when I first get a contact with a
candidate, I invite him (or much more rarely, her), to a chat online,
preferably on irc or whatever real-time discussion media is more fit (for a
linux geek, if you can’t go on irc, then there is a problem).
I noticed that during my past sessions of recruitment, I established contacts
with very interesting people. By having an unformal discussion online, just
chit-chating of what work we do and what we did before, it’s kind of easy to
get an idea of what is the kind of relationship you will have with your
potential future colleague. But beyond that, it’s all about making things
personal. We are all unique. It cannot be computed, scripted, engineered in a
way that non-technical people would be successful conducting that process. It
takes a geek to recognize another geek.
At Gandi of course we have a HR person. But she usually appears at the very
end of the process and not at the beginning. The peers are going to evaluate
candidates, make their mind to see if they want to spend days and days
collaborating with them. It matches with my way to do things, fortunately. If
I have any doubt of the technical abilities on someone, I don’t do stupid
technical tests, I try to find other people that know the candidate and get
third party feedback. If not, then I try to use a meetup in a community
related to the speciality in question, so we can discuss and be around other
people where some tangent discussion can happen.
At the end, if all goes well, then the candidate is going to enter the more
formal whatever the company uses as a recruitment flow. But that’s merely a
formality. And after 20 years building up teams and recruiting people, I can
affirm that instinct always wins, in my case. If I smell anything fishy in an
unformal context, there is going to be problems. Well, the process is never
perfect, it also can smell ok but stink after 3 months, too.
But the thing is that having those chats online with peers is pretty
interesting. I learn a lot about how other companies work, how they handle
their management, what kind of work conditions they have. Just because it’s
part of the contact process. So I’m not really in hurry to make a final
decision because, to be honest, I just enjoy those contacts.
It certainly takes some time, I can’t be in constant recruitment, but from
time to time, it’s very valuable. And not only for the effect of recruiting
someone. It creates bonds with the industry, with people, with communities.