Recruitment in IT - a case study from the Full Stack Developer search

At the beginning, I would like to point out that I am not an HR specialist - for several years I have been active in the field of marketing and until now the topic of recruitment in IT was foreign to me. Therefore, the more I am happy that today I can present you my first case study on searching for the right person for TEONITE team.

Why the Full Stack Developer?

Before proceeding to the analysis of the recruitment process, let me explain the definition of Full Stack. I will use the description founded on the Quora portal during research for this case study:

fullstack_quora

Source Quora

The above definition clearly shows why the only matching term for the person we were looking for was "Full Stack Developer". We chose this position mainly due to its commonly accepted competences, but also to:

“Being a full-stack developer means being pushed outside of your comfort zone to constantly learn new skills”.

Why? Because TEONITE core is made with people who constantly gain new skills and work in frontend and backend technologies, but also in data science and machine learning.

Is content always the most important thing?

The original version of the job advertisement

After reviewing several case studies and guides, I wrote a "standard" advertisement based on the form: who we are looking for, what skills we require, what we offer, etc. Despite the correctness of this version and the use of the following promotional activities:

  • posts on our social media channels,
  • sponsored post on Facebook,
  • posts on Facebook and groups dedicated to developers,
  • posts on Facebook and LinkedIn groups dedicated to Szczecin,
  • ads on olx.pl and infoludek.pl,
  • posters with the announcement, posted at the West Pomeranian University of Technology,
  • support from IT entities known in Szczecin: Netcamp, Technopark Pomerania,
  • support from local influencers, acquaintances,
  • "manual search on the internet" for people who might be interested in the position,
  • the announcement did not result in the inflow of a CVs.

Metamorphosis of content

alt

We wanted to know what did not work. We analyzed the first version of the text and we came to the conclusion that perhaps these "standard" announcements simply do not match us. We decided to make a big modification: I changed the content and translated the components into our language, adding a bit more information about "our work philosophy".
After a few days of publication and promotional support, there were still no applications.

We were thinking about the next changes in the content and in the third stage I published (on Facebook groups dedicated to developers) a much less formal version, creating something like "anti-offer":

python_developer

Nope. Nothing happened

Small change, big effect

Wait for a second, maybe it is not the content of the announcement that is a problem? That’s why we decided to do more radical change - we split the Full Stack position into JavaScript and Python Developer (the skills of people who could apply to us were still compatible with our technology stack). The whole was supported by promotional actions written above and ... the effect was immediate - the first applications started to arrive on the first day of the publication.

python_developer

During the interviews we got to know the reason for the "failures" of previous versions of the announcement - it turned out that the majority of people who came to us had a lot of skills and features of Full Stack Developer, but ... they did not know about it! They could code in Python, they knew JavaScript (and vice versa), but they were convinced that larger skills in one language would immediately disqualify them as FullStacks. We did not realize that using the name "Full Stack" may be incomprehensible or overly interpreted!

To summarize...

Editing a job advertisement was a real challenge for me, mainly due to the generally accepted schemes for designing job offers, imposed by the regulations of portals, forums, and Facebook groups..

While writing down the requirements, and what we can offer to potential candidates is not a problem, the part concerning the job description was the most difficult. Mainly because:

The TEONITE core create people who constantly gain new skills and work in frontend and backend technologies.

During the entire recruitment process, which was proceeding correctly in terms of promotion, we learned that: the common understanding of Full Stack slightly differs from our practical experience, and candidates set the bar very high, explaining that they have too little experience. All influenced some dissonance between our requirements and how the applicant evaluates himself.

For us, the Full Stack Developer is (or can be) any programmer who is not afraid of discovering new technologies, is motivated, and the limitations are not a hindrance to him but a challenge.

As previously mentioned - in TEONITE, each Developer is Full Stack - code on the frontend and the backend. For us, it is something natural and consistent with what Ian wrote on Quora: "Being a full-stack developer is constantly learning new skills".

bee_talents It's really hard to define positions in IT. Someone who is a senior in one company, in another one can be mid and vice versa. There is no single development path that would clearly indicate at which level the candidate is located.
This is due to the fact that the scope of technology is very wide. Not every senior has a full range of technical competences, because he has not always had the opportunity to work with specific issues. Therefore, from the perspective of the candidate, determining the level of their competencies may be just as difficult as providing adequate salary ranges for the role they play. The solution to this problem can certainly be helped by well-written job offer, which contain a detailed description of the role and a detailed technological stack.

Aleksandra Pszczoła, CEO of Bee Talents

P.S. 1
In contrast, I recommend you the annual Developer Survey Reports 2017, developed by StackOverflow. The data contained in it indicate that almost 64% of users are people describing themselves as "Full Stack Developer".

StackOverflow

P.S. 2
Here I’m giving you a suprise that Facebook served to me when I was trying to publish a job offer on Facebook advertising aggregator - Marketplace;)

alt

Facebook questioned my ad because of the use of the word "Python" and rejected the publication because of violation of the animal sales rules...

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