“I want to make Ruby hiring your problem.” One of our current clients said this to me in our very first phone call. He was looking for software development teams in Latin America that could handle Ruby on Rails development, and naturally AgilityFeat came up high on the list.
“Here’s my problem,” our client continued, “I have a hell of a time finding and affording Rails developers here in the US, and so I end up hiring newbies. After they work with us for a year or so and beef up their ruby skills, they leave us and go work somewhere else.”
“I want hiring and retention of ruby developers to be your problem.” – The reason one of AgilityFeat’s clients first called us.
In addition to hiring rails developers internally, our client has also tried offshoring rails development to companies in India. This has led to mixed results – generally speaking the teams they have worked with have done an excellent job on specific tasks and when given strong direction. But they have been lacking in the more innovative work.
That’s where our teams in Costa Rica and Nicaragua have come in to the picture. Our client came to us initially to solve a problem with hiring ruby teams, but now loves us even more for our creative abilities with design, user experience, and real time communications frameworks.
We’ve discovered that solving this hiring and retention problem is one of the biggest values we can provide to our clients. Here are a few keystones of our recruiting program at AgilityFeat:
1) Keep a constant pool of talent on call
AgilityFeat recruiting graphic: “Looking for ninja programmers.”
We had a couple experiences early on where we won a project with a client and then had the pleasant problem of figuring out how to staff it. We don’t want to rush those decisions though, and so now we have a constant recruiting pipeline going, regardless of our upcoming project pipeline. We know that job applicants can’t always wait for us, and we may lose some people to other jobs, but it’s worth our time to always be able to cherry pick the best talent from our waiting list of people eager to work on our teams. We are aggressive in reaching out to the social networks that top developers in Central America use, and apply a rigorous screening and interviewing process to keep only the best applicants in our pool.
2) Pay well
AgilityFeat recruiting graphic: From a post to job applicants about the weapons that a great programmer keeps in their arsenal.
We make sure to pay above the local market value for our team members because it helps us to attract the best talent. We know that when companies go offshore or nearshore for talent that price is part of the equation. But a “race to the bottom” on pricing means that quality will inevitably suffer, and that is not something we are willing to compromise on. We are able to strike a good balance on paying our talent well, keeping prices reasonable for our clients, and providing excellent value.
3) Filter for entrepreneurs
AgilityFeat recruiting graphic: “Your extracurricular activities tell us a lot about your resume, to have programming projects on your own time tells us where your passion is.”
It’s relatively easy to screen people for talent at coding. We make sure to dig deep into problems they have solved so we understand their technical mindset. But equally important is their ambition, creative drive, and ability to think like an entrepreneur. In this case I don’t mean that they all have startups on the side or are good at cash flow analyses. Instead, we are looking for problem solving skills, time management skills, an ability to prioritize on the most important task at hand, the initiative to teach themselves what they don’t know, and the ambition to always look for the next big thing. These are skills that all good entrepreneurs need, and we expect our developers to have those skills too so they fit into our culture and our clients’ culture.
4) Keep top talent engaged
AgilityFeat recruiting graphic: “Dominate.” From a post to applicants that talks about tackling problems and staying on the bleeding edge of technology.
Top performers are motivated by more than money, as Dan Pink and others have taught us. To keep our developers engaged, we seek out clients with interesting problems to solve. We also love to have our clients work closely with our developers using agile methods, and get to know them personally. These interactions help our team to feel a stronger sense of ownership in a client’s work, and keeps them motivated. On longer term projects we like to rotate people in and out of teams on a regular basis so that they stay fresh and highly engaged with the problem at hand.
Benefit from our experiences
We’ve learned from our experiences over the last several years and put together a strong recruiting program that ensures we have a ready bench of “Code Commandos” to come up with innovative solutions for our clients.
Are you curious to learn more, or would you like to speak with our design or code commandos? Call me at 434 996 5226 or email Arin@AgilityFeat.com.