Thursday, May 8, 2014

Frustrated at Work?

I'm recruiting at the moment.

The beer mat was something I came up with a few years ago when Linguamatics was growing quickly and we were looking for ways to promote ourselves locally. Where might we find the hip young gunslingers of the software business, I wondered? In the pub, I thought.

It didn't get used in the end. I seem to remember we advertised on the packaging and serviettes of a food van near the Science Park instead. Even developers gotta eat, right?

I'm recruiting at the moment.

It's always a time of mixed feelings. I'm excited about the opportunity for growing and extending our team, of bringing in someone with new skills, new passions, new approaches and experiences. Someone who's going to refine and grow what we do, teach us, challenge what we do, challenge what I do, and who's going to be excited and challenged in turn by us, by our product and by the wide range of application of our testing services across the company. And I'm excited by the thought that I'll choose someone who can do those things and respond to that challenge, like my current team have and do.

But against that there's the mundane reality of wading through the CVs, doing the interviews, inspecting the exercises and weighing up the pros and cons of the candidates (who are usually apples and pears). Almost inevitably that's followed by an agonising choice that will have potentially large and irrevocable effects on the candidates and perhaps also me, the team, the company and the product. And then the wait to see if the chosen candidate will accept.

I'm recruiting at the moment.

It's traditional in test manager posts of this kind to talk about certification. I'll be completely frank - I don't care whether you've got the ISTQB certificates or not. It makes no difference to me either way.

One of the things that does make a difference to me is that you've taken the time and care and effort to make your CV explain why you're a good tester, what value you've given, what insight you've provided, what skills you have. And by skills I don't mean software you've used. And by used I don't mean seen. And by seen I don't mean heard of. And by heard of I don't mean searched Wikipedia for and then copy-pasted while injecting typos. 

One of the things that does make a difference to me is that you're prepared to engage with me in interview. That you will listen to what I'm asking and respond in a way that shows you're thinking. That shows me you think, generally. That convinces me you have the kind of attitude and approach to do a job in the face of incomplete knowledge - because that's a position I will put you in if you interview with us - and the job will be a good one, one that you can justify based on reasonable criteria in the context you are given.

I'm recruiting at the moment.

I like to think we're a good company to work for, that the people here are good, that we provide a good working environment, that we're serious about what we do, but that we've got a sense of humour about things too.

And on that point, if you've suffered this stream of consciousness to the bitter end, perhaps it's because you've been wondering what I would've put on the other side of the beer mat. For you, then:

I'm recruiting at the moment.

Come and work with us.

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