Looking for people for difficult and ambiguous positions in the IT area is a challenge in itself. And if all of this were to impose very specific company requirements regarding soft skills? The candidate’s experience is one thing, but how to effectively examine his approach to work at the sourcing stage? Buildit @ Wipro Digital set us up against such a challenge by ordering to find Platform Engineers, which we present in our case study.
Buildit @ Wipro Digital is a global engineering studio network founded in 2016, part of Wipro Digital, more broadly – the Wipro organization. Studies are located in various places around the world (USA, UK, India, Poland), but they share a common vision, values and work approach. Although each study can deal with something completely different, the way they do it is one – solid.
The company operates on a project basis in a consultancy model, carefully selecting the projects they undertake. However, it doesn’t end with projects, they also carefully select their employees! People who can count on a place in the Buildit ranks are the ones who not only have very good technical skills, are constantly developing and following industry innovations, but are also autonomous consultants who have a great understanding of business, and pay attention to accuracy and transparency in everyday work.
Wanting to expand their intimate team (only a dozen or so people work in all studios in Poland) Buildit has commissioned us to find Platform Engineers. What is their role in the project? Platform Engineer is not only responsible for development, but also for creating code deployment strategies. Working in Agile and iterations requires process automation, you can’t do it all individually (manually), so the specialist the company was looking for was responsible for the entire CI/CD process (in addition: containerization strategy, micro-service strategy, strategy of everything that is as-a-code). The strategy of monitoring application and infrastructure operation is crucial especially when entering the cloud, and Platform Engineer at Buildit is the person responsible for rethinking this issue.
As it results from the above description of duties, Platform Engineer is really the result of combining several positions: Software Developer, System Engineer, Solution Architect, and all this is adorned with tasks specific to the DevOps methodology.
The quintessence of activities was to find Platform Engineers, i.e. people who:
Also, have all the features of an ideal Buildit employee described above.
Our role in this project was to define the client’s requirements, create the ideal candidate profile, plan and effectively spread the search, as well as develop an effective, long-term search strategy so that we can regularly present the tailored candidates to the client.
In order to best understand the position, approach and values of the company and the specifics of the job, we decided to go to Warsaw, to the main Polish headquarters of Buildit. We met there with Studio Lead, a recruitment representative and a team member. We were shown around the office and interviewed virtually all people directly involved in the recruitment process, which allowed us to better outline the requirements for future employees and to develop a flow of cooperation which is very important for any efficient recruitment process.
After returning to Kraków, knowing who we are looking for, we started creating Persona. We decided that the position is so specific and unusual that creating a profile of the perfect candidate will bring many benefits and will facilitate our sourcing and decision-making process. To this end, we wrote down the skills of the candidate sought, his character traits and professional predispositions. The next step was to find a more or less clear correlation between what the client offers and how the sought Platform Engineer would (and would like to) work. With this Persona we started to plan activities!
Being aware of the demand of Buildit, that is, after finding one Platform Engineer, our work will not end – we had to think about how to plan our actions so that we could still have candidates for longer searches (how we have dealt with such projects so far can be read (HERE). So we focused on very accurate and systematic mapping of the market, even greater relativity (even if the matching candidate is not considering a change of job now, who said that he won’t be more willing in six months?), accurate tracking of our own internal recruitment activities and on regularity of work based on daily and weekly tasks, as well as individually set goals.
Having Persona on hand, so knowing exactly who we are looking for, we started searching! However, we did not start with alternative channels, because we felt that a difficult position requires such actions. Why? Because the initial “Linkedin” estimation for Gdańsk itself has shown that there are over 600 people who fit this position! So we focused first on locating and contacting potential candidates who already have an account on this portal. Are we closing ourselves to alternatives? Of course not! Everything, however, has its time and place, and inventing alternatives just to use an alternative channel takes a lot of time and is not justified in business.
After preparing the long list of potential candidates, the time to contact them has come. For this recruitment, we abandoned the idea of Job Description, but fully focused on storytelling. What was the candidates’ reaction to something that would seem like a wall of text to an outside observer?
Positive! We have received a lot of feedback that they like the form of offer submission, that it is different, creative and original, while preserving the specifics. So it is a ‘can do’! This form of communication also allowed for a cross-sectional, but much in-depth presentation of the offer, which we then discussed in more detail during screening calls. It would seem that making such an amount of information available at the start will result in short telephone conversations with the candidates. Nothing could be further from the truth! Most conversations for this position lasted at least an hour! Earlier disclosure of comprehensive information about the company and the position to the candidates allowed them to calmly familiarize themselves with the specifics of the work and to prepare a list of the most bothering questions. Thanks to a wide brief we were able to answer all of them and break the objections that arose, which resulted in a good Candidate Experience and a high call-to-submit ratio.
Communication is very important in every recruitment, especially it is visible in long-term orders, where priorities and requirements change regularly and being “up to date” takes on a completely new meaning. To know how the recruitment process works and how the needs of Buildit change, we chose Slack as a daily communication channel. Thanks to this, in the form of short messages we were able to keep up to date with changes, and during regular video-conversations to plan further recruitment activities and monitor customer satisfaction with our work. We also talked to the candidates on a regular basis, asking about previous impressions from recruitment and solving problem situations that arose during the process.
The main goal was to find people who were suitable for the position of Platform Engineer. We cannot say at this point that this is a successful project. Why? Because this is a long-term recruitment of more specialists, so we’re still looking. We can reveal that the first Platform Engineer we employed was also the first candidate sent to our client. This means that the Persona we created allows for accurate identification of candidates.
Long-term search for candidates for a specific position, limited talent pool, and the client’s high expectations regarding personality and candidates’ work approach can be a challenge for any recruiter. At Humeo, we decided to treat this order as another challenge, which was aimed at expanding our competences, and which additionally resulted in the incorporation into work of our own solutions, which is not necessary to use when working on simple positions. Recruitment challenges enabling development? We love it!
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