In recent times I have been heavily involved in hiring testers. This is includes fine tuning the hiring process, screening CV’s, interviews, take home exercises and so forth. It also includes spending time with recruiters. I have found two aspects of hiring interesting and we’ll look at one vital component of the process in this post.
I have found recruiters fall into two categories – those that listen and those that don’t. I have met some very good recruiters who have gone out of their way to build a rapport before trying to sell me their wares. I have appreciated this as I have found that they’ve listened to what we were after (our ‘requirements’ if you will) and we got to know each other better. This is important as testing (and the tech business) is about people after all. An example of this is when I recently spoke at a testing conference in Melbourne, Australia (ATD2K16) – three people from the same recruiting firm came to support me because we had established a very good relationship before hand!
Conversely, I have had the (mis) fortune of dealing with recruiters who seem to want to push their candidates onto you as if you owe them a favour! This is a big no-no for the simple fact that the recruiter has not bothered to connect with us and attempts to push their agenda as opposed to listening to what we require.
So with this in mind, here are so dos and don’t s (from a hiring tester perspective).
- …take time to know the person(s) involved in the hiring process (preferably a decision maker)
- …take time to build a rapport with that person, be interested in the hirer before you talk shop
- …understand who the hiring client is – I have had recruiters know that I align with the context driven school of testing and they have attempted to understand what that means.
- …understand the requirements. For example, dropping the phrase ‘context driven testing expert’ onto a CV is going to get scrutinised closely (especially if you a context driven test shop and you call yourself an expert). I had this happen and the credibility of the recruiter (in my eyes) took a hit.
- …get a feel for what testing is and some of the challenges testers face. This can useful when empathising with the client
- …note that when clients are asking for technical skills that doesn’t automatically automation
- … know that good communication MOSTLY means good comprehension (not just the ability to talk or write)
- …keep in touch periodically – I appreciate a quick call or email at the appropriate time
- …find out something interesting about the candidate and put in the CV. I like finding out what makes person stand out (for example community service or blogs they write or talks they’ve given)
- …do provide a cover email or cover letter that summarises the candidate. This usually provides more context than a CV and is extremely useful
- …try and circumvent the hiring process as this can become annoying (unless you’ve already got a good rapport with the hirer)
- …litter buzzwords throughout the CV and hope that the client will miss it and assume that the candidate knows what they are talking about
- …be pushy – things will happen when they happen (its not like hiring teams look to make things really drawn out, complicated and slow). And we do understand the need for timely feedback
- …try and make us feel guilty for your candidate NOT making the grade. Despite what you think, that particular person just did not meet our requirements
- …assume you know testing if you haven’t worked as a tester – theory and real world experience are two different things
- …assume certification makes a difference – it usually doesn’t. Experience counts for more
- …think that because a CV has the necessary skills listed does not mean that person is a “fit”. A CV is only one reflection of the potential candidate
- …think that we would give answers or hints to about any tests that we may perform. We’ve run them enough times to know if a candidate has done good work or not.
- …think buying a hot chocolate makes us friends (but it might help)
- …spam us with CV’s – quality trumps quantity especially when the CV’s are not what we are after!
Whilst most recruiters have been (in the main) generally good, there are always the exceptions. Most do a good job and they help take most of the pain out of hiring. I appreciate those recruiters who look to do what’s best by us and not what’s best for them. They spend the time to build a rapport and they find ways to support.
Next post I will discuss hiring from the perspective of interviewing.