A change in practices leads to a change in recruitment focus for software delivery applicants


A change is taking place in the IT Industry that has a major impact on the way organisations should now look to recruit software development people. The so-called ‘hard skills’ such as an applicant’s technology skills, qualifications, and certifications should simply be an entry requirement and a greater focus should be placed on the ‘softer skills’.

The core competencies that a recruiter should now be looking for are the behavioural skills. Whilst these are sometimes difficult to extract, a skilled recruiter with a competency based recruitment method should be able to identify applicants who will not only suit new ways of working but also enhance the team.

What are the competencies organisations should now be looking for?

Competencies such as a team-player, excellent communication and collaboration skills, results orientated, the ability to pick up new skills quickly, to see the ‘big picture, flexibility, someone who embraces change and a ‘can do’ attitude, to name just a few. Some organisations may already feature these as part of their profiles for candidates however these should now be a prominent part of the recruitment process, with new employees required to perform each to a high level on a daily basis.

What is driving the change in focus?

The growing adoption of agile software development practices has significantly changed the way project teams work. No longer are they required to work as technical specialists in silos but are now expected to work in cross-functional teams, often with direct customer contact to understand the business challenges and to enable them to deliver the right solution.

The success of these agile teams is directly related to the ability of the team to ‘gel’ together to deliver high quality software. This way of working is a significant departure from the traditional approaches to software development. The challenge for HR departments is to strategically align their recruitment policy and practices to support software teams and deliver candidates who will not only fit with the new ways of working, but enhance and develop it further to the benefit of the team, organisation and the customer.

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In 2007, Julian Holmes co-founded UPMentors to help organisations successfully deliver and cope with complex IT projects by transforming people’s software delivery capabilities. Since then Julian has established a reputation of software project delivery and capability to his clients. He is passionate about people in software development and believes that software delivery projects will fail without the right culture, education and collaboration. Julian speaks annually at the global IBM Rational Software Conference and also around the world at regional IBM and other industry events.

  • It would seem better to hire someone as a consultant who has a strength in one area rather than hire them as an employee who will need to function as a team member. Star programmers might be awesome for certain tasks, but in these situations, maybe being a contractor would be better.

  • Recruitment software has developed massively in recent years, and the amrket leaders have now established themselves. The software provided should be make the task of finding the right candidate who possess “Competencies such as a team-player, excellent communication and collaboration skills…” a lot easier.

  • Hi Julian,

    Great article you have. I think every recruitment software provider enhance the features of their software. Because if they don’t they are behind to changes. Everything changes and so with recruitment software. Every user of recruitment software suggest what needs to change and recruitment software should always upgrade.