A new approach to tech recruitment is taking shape in Silicon Valley. Stripe, who are a payments processing group, are trialling a ground-breaking initiative in their quest to fill teams of software engineers, designers and other technical vacancies in their firm. Rather than hire individuals to make up these teams, they are inviting groups of between 2-5 people to submit applications for the team-based positions. They call this strategy ‘Bring Your Own Team’ (BYOT). Whilst they acknowledge that it is an experiment at present, Stripe has attracted a large amount of positive industry reaction in its innovative approach to the hiring process. This is likely to signal the start of a new movement in tech recruitment.
There’s No I In Team
Why focus on hiring entire teams of people for tech roles, rather than going down the traditional route of identifying a vacancy that needs to be filled by a highly skilled individual?
The performance of a business is often measured by the success of its internal teams as a collective. Of course, there will always be stars that shine within an organisation, but people are largely motivated and complimented by the teams that they work with. It can be difficult to create the perfect balance and blend of skills and personalities within a team from scratch, so wouldn't it be better to hire an existing group of individuals who have achieved that equilibrium already?
It is a common problem within companies that a skilled candidate is hired into a role after impressing with their past work experience and interview presence. Yet once they’re working at the organisation, they simply don’t fit in. Perhaps this is down to jealousy from existing employees, a difference in working styles or just a clash of personalities. Whatever the reason, a candidate who doesn't gel with their colleagues is not likely to stick around long, which creates a recruitment issue. Hire a team and they already know what to expect about each other’s professional habits, behaviours and standards. This approach is more likely to achieve longevity with a company.
Tech recruitment companies will be aware that they have many candidates on their books who are highly skilled and have a great portfolio of project experience, yet they don’t come across well at an interview stage. Naturally, technical staff have a range of personalities and some will suffer from nerves and a lack of confidence. Whilst recruitment companies will do their best to coach candidates about interview technique, the problem still exists when sending individual candidates off for an interview and hearing feedback that they have failed to impress in front of a panel. BYOT can assist in eradicating this common problem from the tech recruitment industry. If there are stronger personalities that can lead the team through the interview process by presenting the strength of the entire team to a hiring panel, then this will go a long way to solving the problem for more introvert employees.
One problem that needs to be confronted in the tech recruitment industry is that of diversity. Typically, women and several ethnic minority groups are under-represented in the technical industry. Tackling diversity was one of the key aims of Stripe’s BYOT experiment. Stripe Founder Patrick Collison told the BBC -
“Because they don’t ‘look’ the same, quote, unquote, they have more difficulty getting hired. It's a contributing factor to the lack of diversity that we continue to observe in the technology industry.”
Their belief is that interview panels in Silicon Valley in particular are often made up of white middle-class men who are more likely to hire yet more white middle-class men into technical vacancies. However, the BYOT approach has seen an increase in female applicants within a team, with the current data recording a 50/50 split between genders and several husband and wife duos putting themselves forward for selection. This can only be a positive development in tech recruitment, as we have recently discussed the digital skills gap and how more women in the industry could be the key to solving this crisis. Companies that hire minority groups into roles will also be less likely to be red-flagged as being discriminatory.
The tech recruitment industry continues to move forward at an incredible pace with BYOT being the latest development on the horizon. If you’d like to be a part of this exciting and ground-breaking industry, then why not consider applying to join our Graduate Training Academy – ‘The Next Step’. The academy’s courses are designed to assist graduates in increasing and enhancing their sales and business development skills. The opportunity will also provide a superior learning platform in recruitment which will support their development into 360 degree recruitment consultants in the tech industry. If you’d like to find out more about how to make an excellent career move by joining the academy, then contact us today.