How to Hire, Train, and Align a Technology Team
25 October, 2021
A short time ago, I had to ramp up hiring to scale my technology team. I struggled to find candidates quickly that were qualified and fit the culture of our company. I learned that candidates appropriate for our company might not be ready to jump on board with the rest of the team. So, I had to create a training process that enabled new members to close the skill gap. With a team of less than 20, we hadn’t had any previous decision-making or onboarding framework. This created a conflict of aligning my team to our business and product goals. I needed to provide exemplary technical leadership and engineering metrics to measure the new team’s success.
In order of priority, I developed a hiring process before our company began interviews. It was essential to plan for the roles that needed to be filled, as I found it troubling that many different countries have different transition times from position to position. For example, the United States requires two weeks to transition out of a role, whereas India can take three months. Keeping this in mind, I focused less on the candidate’s interview but on the candidate deciding whether the company would be a good fit in the hiring process. Visibility was essential for the candidates to understand what our company stands for.
We rethought our marketing strategy to advertise our opportunities. I wanted the company to be effective for new members to join. This was a struggle since we are a tech agnostic company and would hire anyone that worked on any platform. We evaluated systems to complete this process and created an approach where the interview largely remained the same, except for pieces related to specific technologies. Our approach was primarily focused on candidates being the right fit. It was less important to have the core skills than the right values, and we would be transparent about this from the start. Our company could always train new core skills; however, teaching new attitudes would have been more difficult.
I believe that training is required for everything. Understanding the company, business structure, reporting structure, stakeholders, and communication, were all important topics that our training focused on. We created an initiative where new members would be assigned a buddy that worked closely with them. The buddy would work on the same projects with new members for two to four weeks. The buddy system improved our new members' skills and independence when they developed their own features. We also worked to establish feedback loops that provided actionable feedback in a short time. This benefited our training process and helped new employees be accountable for their work early on.
The last challenge I overcame was producing a transparent career ladder and compensation bands. I wanted my new team to have clarity on long-term growth and career trajectories. This was directly related to the compensation structure, as I wanted all of my employees to be paid fairly. It took two quarters to create a system that was as transparent as possible that new members would understand and respect.
- It is essential to train your talent acquisition team to be your company’s brand ambassadors. When your candidates can feel the company's culture through its members, they can communicate more effectively and be candid about their values.
- The training process revolves around experimentation. Therefore, it is vital to test your methods with trial and error, and when you succeed, reinvest that talent within the organization.
- Have patience when designing a career ladder or compensation scale for your company. It is vital to understand each role and its expectations to create a just and fair structure. I recommend taking time to enable your senior engineer leaders to motivate the team towards growth.
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