Build the right team for your business by looking beyond qualifications, says ‘rising star of the year’ winner Craig Dean of Web Applications
Technology will play a crucial part in driving a robust economic recovery, so it is vital that we nurture the industry and encourage innovation to ensure a better economic future for the country.
To do this, we must attract talented, passionate individuals to careers in IT, sciences and engineering. As Web Applications UK has another record-breaking year, the secret to our success is simple: it all comes down to recruiting and retaining the right people.
Traditional routes of recruitment using indicators such as qualifications, skills and experience will always be a useful way to find competent people. But I believe there’s real value in actually meeting individuals to see they have the right mentality.
Listening to recommendations from existing employees and speaking to people at graduate fairs and industry-related events allows you to see who the person is, beyond a formal interview.
Recruiting people who are willing to learn and passionate about technology means that they can grow with your business, even drive your business forward. Someone who genuinely cares about their job can often be a more valuable asset than someone who achieved a better grade in an exam.
Technical tests and formal interviews reveal the level of a candidate’s current knowledge but skills can be taught to anyone who is willing to learn.
While our business has grown astronomically over the last few years, we have retained our base in Greater Manchester. The northwest has a great deal of technological talent and we take pride in recruiting and nurturing this local talent for our business. Forming relationships with educational institutions and other technology organisations has helped us to spread our name among potential recruits.
Attending and sponsoring tech events such as Hack Manchester has enabled us to build a reputation.
Attendees at these events are clearly enthusiastic about technology, keen to take on a challenge and willing to give up their free time to learn skills. It is these people whose enthusiasm will ensure they continue to improve.
Engaging young people in the industry is vital for the future. The recent ICT for Education debate highlighted ways that businesses can work with schools to ensure the next generation are prepared for when they enter the workforce.
One way we’re doing our bit is through holding workshops with local schoolchildren to teach them how to code and create simple programs, not just use existing software as is taught in traditional IT curriculums.
Our internship and industrial placement schemes prepare students and young people for a career in software development.
From this we have taken on successful interns as full-time software engineers. Placements are a great way to introduce future graduates to your business.
Continuous training is essential to ensure that staff stay at the top of their game. This improves efficiencies and retention. We give all our software engineers half a day’s personal development time per week to work on areas they want to improve. As a result, our code quality has improved and our team is eager to learn more.
Getting the right team in place is a continuous endeavour, but one that is well worth the effort.