Marc Andreu

I have been a front end, backend and quality testing software engineer now I am following the path towards cybersecurity.

Why IT recruitment is broken

“Why is the I.T. recruitment process broken? Because we are performing the Cinderella tale over and over again.”

What follows is my point of view about the I.T. recruitment system. After many years of being on both sides of the game, I would like to share some ideas about this subject and hopefully making life easier for everyone working in this field.

In my opinion, the current general process in many companies is way to much complex and difficult to digest for both sides, companies and candidates. I presume that we can make it easier and faster if companies prepare better and clearly define the problems to be solved.

In the current hiring market, managers attempt to prepare one nice pair of shoes (one job description), one general description to fit all the same category of candidates. Often those shoes are not very pretty either, and companies then wait a long time expecting that the passing by the candidate will have the right foot (knowledge) to fit in those shoes.

Most of the time, those shoes are way too strange and way more extensive than the company’s actual needs for that role. On top of that, HR employees do not get clear indications and definitions about the real problem and what the team needs to be more productive.

All of this is not to blame HR, Team Leads or Managers; it is just how “business as usual” works in the current race to develop as many features as possible. There is little time to dedicate to explain things adequately, and there are also too many assumptions like just get me another software engineer SE as if all SEs would be the same full-stack masters. Sometimes we may get a bit more specific, like backend, frontend, full-stack (I still do not understand what that means), etc.

“The problem is the way we frame the question. That shoe is strange, complex, too large and not very accurate to reality.”

In my opinion, we ought to start thinking about what problems we have inside the company. Why do we need someone to help us in some specific field? How is that going to help to improve our productivity? People involved in the hiring process should carefully consider what actual problems need to be solved. Define small and simple tasks which are simple to understand and concise to a specific problem.

One significant and generalised mistake of the recruiting system is its overly abstract and complicated job descriptions, which no one fully understands. We try to prepare one size footwear for everyone. No wonders then that takes months to fulfil that role description.

Instead, if companies carefully design and build that wide variety of nieces shoes to be carefully displayed, it is just a matter to ask candidates if they would like to try them on. Invite candidates to come to solve some of those problems. That is it, just ask for help.

Do not try to find that Cinderella candidate to fit that strange looking shoe. Instead, prepare as many shoes as simple as possible and ask people if they would like to try them on.

The chances to find the right person for each shoe will be much higher. I mean, how many people know how to implement an API? And the opportunities to keep internal and external candidates regularly coming and fitting more shoes will be much higher as well.

In summary, a complex role definition for one size fits all is not helping anyone. It just makes everything unnecessary complicated. Instead of having HR, Team Leads and Managers fighting the lost battle to sell those big ugly shoes, it makes much more sense to spend the time designing better shoes for each set of problems.

Design better shoes (job tasks), make them friendlier and comfortable, then just invite candidates to try on as many of those shoes as possible and help them go home with a nice new pair of shoes. For the successful candidates, help them go home knowing what problem they need to solve and support them in developing practical and productive solutions for your company.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay