For companies looking to hire top coding talent, we offer a hard-won secret: great engineering talent, by itself, is not enough to ensure success.
Most software projects these days require contributions from an ever-widening circle of specialists, from specific coding languages to DevOps, from UX/UI design to security, and so on. Digital project development is a team sport.
Now more than ever, there’s no room for the “hero” developer who won’t play nice with others.
Being on a team means that personality traits such as creative problem-solving, forward-thinking, flexibility, and resilience are critical success factors that cannot be ignored.
That’s why Pentalog works to ensure that all of our people consistently demonstrate a combination of technical and non-technical skills so that they can contribute to project collaborations that optimize satisfaction, productivity, and quality.
Such performant teams exist and make the difference between success and failure through technical knowledge, responsiveness, and comprehension abilities.
Therefore, Pentalog has put in place a rigorous, 6-point recruitment process that combines technical and collaboration skills, a process we use for new hires and also for period re-evaluation of existing employees.
Some IT services companies might find our process onerous, but it works for us and delivers results for our clients.
Why Do Soft Skills Matter for Coders?
In addition to technical prowess, experience has shown us that high-performing tech professionals have personality traits that set them apart in dealings with their teammates and with customers.
Let’s name a few of these skills:
- Growth mindset: Learning, collaboration, accountability
- Self-management: Time management, agile methodologies
- Human skills: Team-focus, willingness to share knowledge, empathy, patience, positive attitude, humility, confidence, and detailed-orientation
- Communication: Strong speaking and writing skills, being a good listener, being open to new ideas, transparency, and an ability to give and receive feedback
Therefore, soft skills are just as important as technical skills. Even “the best” tech professionals have to develop and polish their abilities to become better team-players and meet customer expectations.
At Pentalog, our business model comes down to providing people for our clients to work with, whether in a staff augmentation or managed team format or as part of a consulting mission.
In each case, we believe the benchmark needs to be strong tech talent combined with strong collaboration skills. That’s what it takes to be a top tech pro, and we reward this kind of excellence.
Robust Recruiting for Vetted Profiles
Assessing soft skills is part of a complex process that identifies the best matching profiles for a specific team and project.
Our approach means assessing the whole person, so during the assessment, we look for ways their skills and abilities would fit into a cross-functional team, raising the competence level of the entire cross-functional unit.
All the contributors in the process, from recruiters to technical experts to practice managers, keep their focus on these competencies.
Aside from assessing soft skills, we use open-ended and behavior-based questions in our first meetings to learn relevant information about the candidate’s former work experience and values.
When there’s clear evidence of demonstrated passion for building useful software through teamwork, it’s a good sign to go further and evaluate the tech skills of the candidate.
Data-driven Recruitment Decisions
Because we are committed to upholding our reputation for world-class engineers, testing technical skills remains a core aspect of our recruitment process.
Assessment tools make recruitment faster and better. We use a battery of online coding tests and hard skills tests to evaluate candidates’ level of knowledge.
These are data-driven evaluations that help recruiters make smart decisions:
- SkillValue IT tests, multiple-choice tech questions, coding exercises, and algorithm evaluations matching the candidate’s technology and level
- Test taken from an independent coding platform
- In-depth technical interview using the Dreyfus model to evaluate knowledge, experience, autonomy, and adaptability
- Technical interview conducted by the recruiter and either the Customer Success Manager or the Scrum Master
The aim of the technical evaluation is not simply to see if the candidate knows a few coding tricks but to prove solid knowledge of:
- Fundamental skills for all tech engineers: architecture, OOP, CI/CD, Cloud, Version Control System, Design Patterns, Testing, Clean Code, Algorithms, Web protocols, Security, Data Privacy, Legal, and more.
- Specific core competencies related to the technologies we use.
Last but not least, we also evaluate candidates’ proficiency in English and French with SkillValue tests or evaluations with the Pentalog’s language teachers.
English is the universal language in business, so all employees must know it. Many engineers also speak French and those who want to improve can access free language classes.
Assessment Doesn’t Stop on Day 1
A final consideration for recruitment is the value we seek to instill in new hires for continuous learning. We explain to candidates that this will become an expectation after hire.
Continuous learning is the key to growth as an IT professional, an objective we support both in learning opportunities and our culture, but in the end, it should be self-directed. Candidates who come to Pentalog to learn, do well here.
For our colleagues, we prepare recommendations for training, mentorships, and coaching sessions, nurturing their constant need for professional growth. Then we identify and address knowledge gaps as team members work on different projects. It’s something that continues for all our team members.
Our approach works for us and our clients. To learn how Pentalog people can help advance your technology objectives, let’s talk.