IT has long had a problem with hiring. I’m not certain where it started; most of us blame HR, and that’s probably incorrect, but gives us someone to blame. It’s that we post jobs with insane requirements. Sometimes this is done to keep the applicant pool down, but most of the time it is a simple case of throwing in the kitchen sink. We have laughed at advertisements that wanted applicants to have more years in a given technology than the technology has existed. The laughter was because someone quipped, “So what we really want is only liars to apply.”
But it doesn’t stop there. How many advertisements have you seen for a person to join an already good-sized team of developers, and the requirements include experience in every single language/tool the person might encounter—and sometimes ones the organization might use in a year or so? And DevOps, with its increase in toolsets and broadening complexity, make this problem worse.
If you want good DevOps team members, you have to focus your search. We’d all love to have unicorns who could do it all on day one, but those people don’t really exist. Even with experience in every single tool in your chain, they still have to learn apps and environment. Try to craft job requirements that focus on the couple of core tools, and then filter for ability to learn and adapt. Because the only certainty about IT at this point is that technology will be shifting, so focusing on the tools you are using today is pretty limited.
Maybe your company is one of those shops where everyone on team X is expected to be an expert at everything. Kudos for you, but there aren’t a ton of those people out there. There is a different mindset to DEVops versus devOPS, and even if unofficial, most employees lean one way or have a more proficient side. If a candidate fits the bill in an area you are weakest, consider training them on the job in the area you are strongest, rather than waiting for who knows how long for the perfect person to fill the open req.
And we still have a need for hardware specialists. I’ve said it before, but do you want your EMC (or Cisco or whomever) person to be a generalist, or do you want that person to make the infrastructure that underlies a huge chunk of your applications hum? Hire specialists for specialized skills, hire broad knowledge for app-spanning needs.
It’s been a problem for years, and only you can fix it. Call out overambitious job postings and make managers ponder what they’re actually looking for. You know you have a need, you know what the position will do. Help hone down postings so that they fit the actual requirements, not some blue-sky version of potential requirements.
And get the best people for the job. After all, you are going to have to work with them.