Even for the most seasoned hiring manager, recruiting and retaining DevOps talent can be a challenge. It requires a unique combination of know-how, an eye for detail, and the ability to think outside the box. But it is not impossible.
The value of DevOps
The evolution of DevOps has driven a culture of ongoing improvement, cooperation, and open dialogue between development, testing and operations teams. It has helped break down departmental barriers, bringing cross-team collaboration and streamlining the delivery process. With such a revolution in software development, the race to win top talent is fierce.
The difficulty with DevOps recruitment
DevOps is a hybrid role where software development meets operations, and interpersonal skills must match technical know-how. The demands on DevOps professionals are high: they must be able to work harmoniously with a diverse range of colleagues and be mindful of how changes in one area may affect other sections of a rapidly-evolving business—DevOps requires a specific persona and skill set which can be hard to find.
In such a highly competitive market, the DevOps recruiting process needs a careful and strategic approach. Here are our tips for winning top talent.
Gain a good market insight
Knowing the realities of your target market is key to successful DevOps recruitment. Do your research to find out up-to-date salary expectations, desired working patterns and market size. Beginning your search with a realistic outlook will enable you to shape your DevOps recruitment strategy accordingly.
We are often approached for guidance on whether hiring requests are realistic, especially regarding budget. To those unfamiliar with DevOps recruitment, salaries can seem too high, especially for those wanting permanent staff.
But the reality is that demand within the DevOps contract market has pushed rates very high. Be prepared to shift your mindset to meet the market need—it could be the difference between attracting top talent and reaching a stalemate in your negotiations.
Know what you need for your role
When it comes to DevOps, there is no one-size fits all solution. Consider it not as a role but as a way of working, which varies depending on the end goal. Weigh up which qualities you need in your candidate. Does having solid operations experience take precedence, or is superior technical proficiency the better bet? When creating recruitment searches, consider that not everyone will have 'DevOps' as their title but might still tick all the boxes for your own DevOps needs.
Director Darren Amador pointed out that DevOps roles, at times, need to be tailored to fit talent and budget constraints:
"Think about what you're really looking for - are you asking too much compared to your budget? Where salary/rate is a block, our consultants might suggest, 'Is it possible for you to take ownership of one part of the role elsewhere in the business? Then we can find you someone that can take on the rest of it within the proposed budget.'"
A top priority for DevOps professionals is flexibility, so offering flexible working arrangements and remote working will help put you at the top of the list. In our post-pandemic world, and with the cloud, remote working should be an accessible and straightforward option.
That said, a solid partnership between operations and software teams is essential, and that often comes from a presence in the office. Clashes like this are common and often cause a standstill in DevOps recruitment, but such differences can be ironed out with careful negotiations. Be open to finding an arrangement that suits all parties.
Retain existing talent
Our experience is that contract DevOps staff are invested in doing a great job and finishing the projects well. Showing you value them by offering contracts for new projects within the company, means DevOps staff don’t need to actively seek to move on.
But the DevOps industry is a highly competitive one, where valuable skill sets can be recognised and poached by competing companies. Offering lucrative opportunities with attractive perks is a good incentive for your DevOps to stick with you.
DevOps recruitment can be a challenge. We work with growing businesses who care about employing top DevOps professionals who will be the right fit. We’ll get to know your business, your needs and those of the valuable DevOps personnel you want to attract, and create a strategy that will make your DevOps recruitment work. For help finding the right DevOps talent to join your team, get in touch.