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Doubling Our Product Development Capability AND Keeping The Bar High!

18 April 2017 | Stephen Paterson | About a 5 minute read
Tags: Academy, ANDacademy, ANDtech, Development, digital jobs, Hiring, jobs, Product, Recruitment, Talent, tech, tech jobs


Our CEO and founder Paramjit Uppal has previously blogged about our company BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal!). One of those goals is to grow to a 600+ people business by 2020. Built up over the previous three years, we started 2017 with just over 140 people. Three months later we are now 180 strong. By the end of the year we plan to be circa 250 in size. We also recently received the fantastic accolade of being one of the Best Small Companies to work for at the Times 100 Small Best Companies awards, alongside the special award for Learning and Development – great recognition of the quality and impact of our people!

So how do we approach our recruitment and hiring challenge? For starters we have our own in-house recruitment team, led by Rachel and ably supported by Taiwo, Samuel, Nermin and Sam (@Wiser). I believe having such a talented team that is part of our business, shares our values and can translate the uniqueness of what we do and how we do it for potential candidates is key to our success. For us to continue to grow at our current rate and attract the very best people in each role we go to market for, requires going beyond traditional sourcing techniques. To give you an idea of what this might be and what we talk to potential candidates about here is my top 5 areas of focus:

  • We task our Client Acquisition team to find respected and well known clients, across a range of sectors to provide challenging and deeply interesting work for our people where they can tangibly deliver value for our clients. For us this means, working onsite and side by side with client’s Agile product development teams that are often focussed on a range of IoT, omni-channel commerce, digital automation, CX/UX and app development initiatives. Working with a range of technology stacks, DevOps tools and latest frameworks for both front-end and back-end development our engineers and Product Analysts are always stretching themselves and their clients to deliver remarkable value enhancing digital products.
  • We like to work in a pragmatic, Agile way! We like the classic Scrum, Scaled Agile and Kanban however we flex and adapt to really make this work and delight our enterprise clients – no room for pure evangelism here! Our approach really helps create a frictionless and effective way of working to align Agile product development teams, with more traditional technology governance processes, at pace. From day one we establish our Agile teams, underpinned by a DevOps and Continuous integration approach, empowering the co-located client and AND Digital teams to take accountability for building digital products.
  • At the very heart of what we do is upskilling and learning. We kick-start the careers of all AND Digital people with a four week Bootcamp – providing tech, Agile delivery, digital, professional skills and a week long Hackathon experience – a social, fun and engaging way for our squads to really form and learn as a team before going out onsite with our clients. This is just the start of the continuous learning experience at AND Digital – we build individual, squad and club upskilling plans – this can take the form of interactive workshops, e-Learning, meetups, online challenges, hackathons, lunch and learns.  We invest the time to really make this work for our people. We also like to share of course. All of the learning experience I have described is also available to our clients, shaped as a bespoke service and relevant to their journey of building their digital capability.
  • We believe our approach to recruitment is different – a view shared by most of the candidates we meet and new joiners that start with us! As you might imagine the recruitment funnel at given time is dominated by a forensic approach to research, headhunting and sourcing activities. We also believe that top talent likes working with top talent. To keep the talent bar high we like to have choice for all roles – we may speak to and meet 5-10 people for every one offer we make. This gives us and our candidates the opportunity to really decide whether AND Digital is right for them.
  • We believe we treat candidates in the right way – reflecting how we ourselves would want to be treated – being respectful of the time they are giving up for calls and meetings; providing the opportunity for them to ask as many questions as they like to really understand AND Digital; making the interview process both comprehensive, informative but also expedient, providing a quick response and feedback to all candidates, whether they we go to offer or not.  We are quite strict on cultural fit – we want all candidates to wonder at what it would be like to work at AND Digital and for us to make a similar judgement. For us, cultural fit will always trump technical and functional skills.
  • We adopt a truly multi-channel approach to sourcing and connecting with people that could be a great fit for our business. We recognise that the whole of the London digital workforce may not be looking for a move to their next dream role at AND Digital right now, however we believe in building our network, relationships, referrals and our connections with as many people as possible. We have hired many many people that we started a conversation with 12 months+ before joining us.  Omni-channel to us means that you should see us consistently represented wherever you come into contact with us – meetups, calls, emails, face to face interviews, social sourcing (GitHub, Stack, Twitter, LinkedIn amongst many others), recruitment events and marketing events.  We cast our net far and wide!

I hope this has given you a flavour of what we do and how we do it and why the recruitment process and candidate experience is so key to how we go to market for top talent and in particular keep the bar high, particularly in a world where we have set such an ambitious and achievable BHAG!

If you would like to test us out in what I have described in this blog drop us a note on [email protected] Digital.com!

 

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