Client Technology Survey – Collecting All Development Job Requirements
Imagine each piece of a puzzle is information that impacts the further stages of the recruitment process. The first step required is opening the box and seeing what’s inside. Professionally speaking, this is conducting a client technology survey to specify job requirements.
In our article How to Design a Recruitment Process that Saves Weeks on Hiring Remote Developers, we mentioned that our developer recruitment process is divided into 2 parts: sourcing & screening. Long before we even start sourcing candidates, we need to know the needs of our clients.
Do we have a strategy we follow to understand our client’s needs? Yes, read below to see what the 3 essential steps of it are.
Step 1. Determine the company’s development goals
To keep recruiting customers happy, we need to make sure the programmers we provide will add real value to their business. It isn’t enough to know what a company is looking for, ex—a PHP Developer. Of course, by knowing just the name of a job position, you may be able to determine the job requirements. However, if you don’t get familiar with the client’s long term goals and desired outcomes, there is a risk the candidate you find won’t align with them.
We can assure you that online research about a specific company won’t be enough and you will need to conduct a client technology survey. There is still a lot of information that companies aren’t willing to share, and they have a right not to be fully transparent. You must devote some time to get to know and make an effort to meet your client. We use video tools for that like Zoom or Eyeson.
Important: Before asking detailed questions, explain why you need such information and how it will help you do the right job for them.
After the client interview ( technology survey), every technical recruiter should be able to determine:
- If it’s an interesting project (business domain & tech or toolset),
- If it’s a good place to work,
- If the company is prepared for remote employees,
- If the budget for external recruitment is enough,
- If the company offers fair pay for work,
- At what stage of development is their product/service,
- What makes their company stand out in the market for such solutions,
- How their business model was verified and in which markets they operate,
- What skills and qualities they look for in team members,
- What can a candidate learn from the company while working on the project?
This step is also crucial for the client. Before reaching out to any technical recruiting agency, an external technical recruiter or Hiring Manager, CEO, Founder or anyone else who is responsible for hiring; should clarify some necessary information. If it’s not your area of expertise, you need to discuss all the details with the development team to get a crash course in that role.
When you are well-prepared, it is easier to notice if a technical recruiter you are speaking with is a professional in his/her field. Our article Technical Recruiter – What Shouldn’t You Miss Before Hiring One will give you some valuable tips on it.
Step 2. Draft the MOC document (mission/outcomes/competencies)
To attract top talent, every recruiter needs a solid job description. As a tech recruiting agency, after receiving the necessary information, from the client technology survey, about the company itself, we start creating a MOC document in which we provide details of the job requirements for a specific development position.
In the article “How to write an eye-catching IT job ad without scaring off potential candidates” included in the “Software Developers’ Insights on Hiring” ebook, a Full Stack Developer wrote:
“Before you start describing anything in your ad, you first need to be clear about who you are looking for. It seems obvious, but so many recruiters get this wrong. If you don’t understand your client’s needs, then you’re not doing your job. Even if they aren’t able to tell you what they require – it is you who needs to live and breathe the IT world to be able to provide them with the next superhero that will turbocharge their business.
Is your client looking for a developer? Or perhaps they are just willing to build a product but have no idea where to start? Be honest in your job ad copy. Positions that include working on a new project from scratch are very appealing to many IT specialists since there is no (or little) on-boarding, there is a promise of real impact on the end product, and there will be a place for creativity. On the other hand, well-established projects might be more appealing for specialists with less experience who are looking to learn from successful businesses.”
During interviews with clients, we need to receive enough data to cover all 3 parts of a MOC, which is mentioned in the article “How to Hire Executives” – enabling us to estimate later which applicants are the closest to our ideal candidate persona.
These parts are:
- Mission: the essence of the job, what does the company need from the hired person over the next 12–18 months.
- Outcomes: what should be the result of the work of a newly employed person after a period of 12–18 months (only 4-5 specific/measurable business outcomes)
- Competencies: what skills are considered must-have and what other experiences/accomplishments are expected.
The first four verses show the must-have skills/experience. There should be no more than 5 highly expected competencies because you don’t want to narrow down your candidate pool too much. Especially, if a later stage of the recruitment process is a technical assignment that eliminates the candidates who do not match the given job offer requirements.
Step 3. Fill in the client technology survey
There are no technical specialists who wouldn’t carry out a survey to table ‘findings’ that provide insight into a company’s workflow. Conducting a technology survey is necessary to clarify the requirements mentioned earlier in the MOC, and to explain the relevance of working in a team to potential candidates later on.
We prepared 8 examples of technology survey questions that employers should be asked about when they want to hire a software developer:
1.What project management methodology is being used in the company?
Candidates should know how a company organizes its work and if they are comfortable with this approach. The more familiar they are with the company process, the more productive from the start they will be.
2. How do you communicate/document work progress?
In a remote setup, communication is the key. We need to know if a company is well equipped to get the most value from hiring a remote professional with us. This question helps us determine if implemented standards allow productivity without blocking the progress of other teammates if someone is unavailable. Everyone should be able to find the necessary information to continue to work even if a team member is unavailable.
3. Do you have an employee handbook, on-boarding process?
A well-organized onboarding process is essential to enable the productivity of a new hire. Employers should outline what kind of resources they need and what information is required for them to do the job well and, if they’re a software engineer, how fast can they make their first commit. We like to support our clients from the start, and we want our candidates to know what they can expect.
4. Other technical details like:
- hosting/cloud environment;
- test automation, CI/CD, tools, etc.;
- frameworks, libraries, technologies?
We want to find out as much as possible about our client’s technology stack to be able to share relevant details with the candidates, but also to prepare the right tech assessment strategy. Finding out about these details allows us to design a challenge that closely matches the day to day of new hires.
It helps us find the perfect fit for our clients and also improves the candidate experience with a relevant screening process. One of the issues candidates complain about the most is solving problems that are in no way related to the job they will be performing.
5. Can you show your codebase?
Software Developers are like mechanics – they want you to pop the hood and see what is driving the vehicle. Knowing how dirty their hands will get daily to ‘keep the car driving’ is vital.
No project is perfect, but a company’s new hires should know what they will be dealing with and what the strategy for improvement is. As tech recruiters, we don’t sugar coat – we want employees to join you for the long term, and knowing what they are getting into from the start will help achieve that goal.
6. Do you track time? What tools do you use for that?
Does a company have an environment based on trust and accountability? Will you treat your remote workforce as consultants/hired guns, or will they join your company on equal terms as your onsite employees? Knowing this helps us find a person with the right mindset. It also affects the competitive rates for the type of work required.
7. Team size/roles/experience?
Future employees are curious about who they will be working alongside. They want to know what gaps they will fill with their expertise and where they can improve their skills.
If employers can share the profiles of other team members, their achievements, as well as any materials they produced (blog posts, keynotes & presentations, certificates, etc.) recruiters, will be more likely to attract high achievers. A common trait with Rockstars is that they don’t want to stand still and are continuously striving for improvement.
8. What approach do you have to testing & QA? What types of tests (unit, integration, e2e)? What’s the test coverage?
Great developers take pride in their work, and they want to make sure it’s following the highest standards, which is why we want to learn about a company’s testing practices. If you’re in the MVP stage, it’s OK not to have too high coverage, but have you planned for when you’re scaling up the business?
Many times we’ve interviewed developers from mature projects where they never had time for testing. You don’t want to accumulate too much tech debt, or you’ll have trouble acquiring the talent to get you where you want to be months or years from now. It’s essential to be conscious of the QA standards you want to meet and acquire people who can enforce them.
Recruitment processes are like a puzzle. When you put all of the elements together, you will succeed and see the entire picture – the profile of a software developer who is perfect for your development team and company. Conducting client technology survey can help you with that.
Follow these 3 steps when recruiting software engineers, and you’ll be able to create a solid offer that includes job requirements description and other comprehensive information on technical product details, features and challenges. With further steps can help you our article on How Our ATS Helps Us Improving the Candidate Experience and Data Flow.