Every now and then a rash of blog posts appear looking at the process of hiring good engineers. Some just lament the difficulty (it is hard!) and some claim a new silver bullet by doing something unusual. The markets we hire from in both Leeds and London are highly competitive and the best people usually have several companies vying for their attention. When you do find someone there is the difficult task of measuring whether they’ll actually be any good at the job.
Bizarrely, when it comes to hiring engineers few people seem to actually look at their hiring requirements and derive a selection process to fit. Odd when you consider the day job for almost all the engineers involved in recruitment is exactly about understanding requirements and designing a suitable solution.
Hiring engineers is hard
As a consultancy we need to find those engineers who are technically excellent, understand a broad range of approaches and be personable with it. They need to not only be able to understand and talk about the pros and cons of possible solutions, but also lead by example and actually “demonstrate by doing” in implementing their proposals.
“Do-ers who think and thinkers who do” as our strapline goes.
In order to find the right people, part of our process at Infinity Works involves a technical test. For developers the technical test is a take-home coding exercise and involves creating a simple application. We allow you to use your favorite IDE, libraries, and language. For platform engineers it’s a simple automation exercise and again you’re free to use your favorite tools and techniques. There are some deliberately ambiguous parts and you’re free to pick some sensible assumptions so long as you document what those are. In both cases the purpose is to demonstrate some real-world skills akin to what you’d actually use on the job.
If you haven’t read “Peopleware” I highly recommend it. It’s one of those works, like “The Mythical Man Month” who’s messages endure despite the apparent march of technology around them. The chapter opening for “How to Hire a Juggler” is still as relevant today as it was in 1987: