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Six tips to recruit the best DevOps talent

With thousands of jobs opening across the UK requiring DevOps or platform engineering experience, and few prospective skilled candidates, the DevOps market is becoming increasingly challenging for FinTech start-ups, consultancies and established businesses across the IT space. A strong, all-encompassing employment offering and an intelligent recruitment strategy are now crucial to secure talented professionals that can propel your DevOps strategy.

How can you improve your positioning in such a fiercely competitive market? Dan Greenwood, DevOps Consultant at Robert Walters, shares six tips to recruit the best DevOps talent.

Articulate what you want to achieve

Self-evaluation of your current body of work and the degree of maturity of your DevOps strategy enables you to identify exactly what resources you need to achieve your business goals.

Dan explains, “Our conversations with clients often begin with discussing the current stage of their DevOps strategy implementation. This allows us to determine the skill set they are looking for at that point in time and match suitable candidates according to their business need.”

“Without defining the purpose of the role, you’re simply picking up on a buzzword, rather than recruiting the talent that can implement or continue to build on your current strategy.”

Gain an understanding of the market

Having an awareness of current industry trends enables you to refine your candidate attraction strategy and ensure your employment offer stands out from the competition.

Dan continues, “For every business looking for a DevOps professional, there are at least 20 other businesses in the UK market demanding exactly the same skill set. It’s important that you can identify what motivates professionals’ to ensure you meet candidate expectations and differentiate yourself from the competition.”

“Salary benchmarking allows you to evaluate a candidate’s worth against the current market rate and adjust your remuneration package. However, to really draw in talent, you need to be able to prove you provide the best fit, for example, a clearly defined progression path or career development support. Understanding where the market is going and what attracts them will allow you to do this effectively.”

Download the 2018 Robert Walters Salary Survey to help benchmark your DevOps team.

Open up your talent pool

Dan explains how being open during the candidate search can allow you to reach strong performing professionals with the skill set to deliver in a DevOps role.

Focus on cultivating the talent that can truly make an impact on your business.

“Rather than focusing on job titles, you should focus your efforts on skill sets. For example, a traditional Linux Systems Administrator, despite not currently working in the practice, may possess a great in-depth knowledge of systems, technical skills and mindset to thrive in a DevOps position.”

“Often, preconceptions of candidates’ knowledge can narrow your candidate pool, meaning you miss out on high potential talent.”

Looking further-afield can also help you to expand your talent pool, Dan explains; “An emerging industry trend is to look beyond your own backyard, as looking further afield and even internationally could help you uncover the best talent. Both regionally and internationally, there are a number of DevOps professionals who are happy to relocate for their next great opportunity, bringing fresh innovative ideas to the market and helping promote business growth.”

Consider a flexible employment offer

Willingness to negotiate an offer with a candidate could be the difference between securing a DevOps professional, or losing them to a buy-back from their current organisation.

Dan highlights, “Clients can regularly expect to be challenged with their employment packages, with companies known to propose exponential salary increases or even to fund an employee’s pension to retain their current talent. Flexibility over salary, remote working, or even offering wider exposure to industry training and events could encourage a candidate to accept your offer.”

“Additionally, rigidity during the recruitment process can dissuade candidates from accepting an offer as, from an employee perspective, this can be synonymous with a lack of autonomy or flexibility within the role.”

“Simply put in a very competitive market, businesses need to compete all throughout the process”

Streamline the recruitment process

Once you source a skilled DevOps professional, acting swiftly decreases the likelihood of losing a candidate to a counter offer.

 “A traditional three stage recruitment process does not always translate effectively to the DevOps market. Candidates will make snap decisions from interviews so a lengthy waiting period increases the chances of other businesses placing an offer. Rather than waiting to interview a candidate face-to-face, a Skype interview enables you to assess candidate suitability immediately, rather than waiting for relevant staff members to be in the same location at the same time.”

“It’s not all about shortening the recruitment process. Make your candidates aware from the outset and set realistic time frames, so they know when they can expect to hear from you,” Dan recommends.

Establish a long-term talent strategy

Taking a long-term approach to sourcing DevOps talent is an innovative way to create a sustainable talent pipeline, as well as to avoid competing with the inflated salaries in the current DevOps market.

Dan says, “Really innovative recruiters recognising the degree of skills shortages in the market will be looking to upskill the future DevOps specialists in their long-term strategy, rather than just the current skilled professionals. DevOps professionals come from a variety of backgrounds, so get ahead of the field and start to invest resources into training this wider, untapped pool of potential talent.”

“Instead of looking for a specific skill set straight away, a candidate with high aptitude and a propensity to learn who is invested in your business will be more valuable to you long-term. Focus on cultivating the talent that can truly make an impact on your business.”

In a saturated DevOps market, identifying your business needs, understanding your target candidates and diversifying your recruitment strategy will help to set you apart from the competition and recruit the talent that will future proof your DevOps strategy.


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