Wednesday, 9 July 2008

A job for life...and why it's good to keep in touch with your ex...

I'm always pleased to read new posts on Johanna Rothman's blog Hiring Technical People, as I feel there is a lot of noise around recruitment hers is a voice of sanity. Her latest entry on Initiative vs. Entrepreneurship seems to match perfectly with my experiences in my current role. In short she advocates hiring those candidates who demonstrate an entrepreneurial streak - whilst they may be a flight risk (leaving to set up on their own) the ideas and skills they bring in their time spent as an employee are often invaluable. Whilst this stance can often be a lightning strike to traditional thinking of a job for life in truth we now live in time that a "long term" employee is one that has been in the same job for three years! These are now our "old hands" this trend towards a patchwork CV increases in the technical sector and is further exacerbated by the peaks and troughs of an industry effected by technical discoveries as much as it is by financial market flux.

It's a fine line between demonstrating high levels of initiative and entrepreneurialism. It can be a particularly fearful one for an employer who feels the investment thay make in sourcing and courting a "high flyer" should be rewarded with at least x-years of service. I've harped on about the "Values" ThoughtWorks holds dear before but it took Johanna's post to make me see the thinking behind our - "Entrepreneurialism - Imagine and Pursue". Actively encouraging this spirit within our staff can do only good, and has led to some truly innovative tools and products being created. Whilst it maybe true that some of these people have left to go on to pursue their own interests it's certain that as an organisation as a whole we have certainly benefited from having those people as ThoughtWorkers. In taking those initial risks we have an alumni network that has aided sales and continues to promote ThoughtWorks as a standard of technical excellence at a global level - as evidence it was just yesterday I received not one but two referrals from one of our ex-employees. Sometimes it pays to stay in touch with your ex :)

Excuses, excuses....

Firstly apologies for not having posted for quite some time. For a while there it looked as though this blog would veer into the same territory as my slack attempts to keep a diary in my teenage years. This time however I have an excuse :) I have now returned from a stint of recruiting in Calgary, Canada and I'm back in London. I've used the intervening time to find a new apartment, replete with all mod cons. Sexy black kitchen - check, underfloor heating - check, slightly dodgy area - er....check, unfortunately.

Looking for rental property seems to be as much about looking for your dream house as it is about making concessions on that dream. Finding a happy medium between the two seems about right.

All of this laboured decision making had me likening finding a house to finding a perfect employee. How much of an interview process is blurring the lines of that ideal candidate to match the person sat nervously in front of you? I'm lucky that I don't have to fill a checklist of "must have's" and "desired's" in order to find the next ThoughtWorker. The ideal, and "what good looks like" to us is different on a case by case basis. We acknowledge that people may have stronger skills in some areas and require coaching to grow in others - just like there's no "perfect" house there are no perfect candidates.