Traditional recruitment fails to deliver DevOps!

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Traditional recruitment fails to deliver DevOps!

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That’s a pretty bold headline – failing to deliver DevOps, but the question is why?

With DevOps transformation from niche to enterprise well underway, the competition for DevOps expertise is rife. In our experience, traditional hiring methods using in-house or external recruiters have highlighted a dearth of high-calibre, technically skilled people in the market and with the pace of change rapid and a technological landscape shifting continuously, the arms race to source the optimum blend of DevOps skills is a challenge many organisations are facing.

Those project seekers that do make it through to the interview process often flatter to deceive. Whereas a candidate’s technical proficiency may look good on paper and appear like a credible submission, the gaps in skill sets are often blown apart by the time technical or scenario based questions are applied by true practitioners. Worse still, some land jobs they are not qualified to do through a poor recruitment process or inherent lack of understanding of DevOps skills required  – often highlighted by gaps that have opened up between the expectations of business executives and the reality of DevOps working practices. All in all, a waste of the recruiters time, the candidates time and the client’s time. That is before we even consider the commercial implications of delays in the delivery cycle, due to not having the resources in place to meet quality targets.

“Great DevOps teams will recruit one person for every thirty they reject, it’s a high investment in time to obtain quality. The twenty nine they reject are all qualified and capable but they weren’t the best one so they didn’t get hired. Now if a recruitment agency is feeding the recruiting company unfiltered dross or people whose skills don’t match their CV’s that hiring ratio will go from 1:30 to 1:60 (or higher) and that is too much of an overhead” Ryan Bryers, CTO, Worldline UK&I

We believe this is an industry wide problem that is only going to to get worse as more organisations adopt DevOps practices. A recent Computing research survey revealed the majority of respondents were “not confident that they have the optimum balance of skills in place to deliver DevOps” and that “Recruitment of the necessary skills was challenging”.

Whilst great strides have been made in technology and tools to drive DevOps transition, unless we fundamentally change the way we train, develop, source and onboard talent, the success of DevOps will be adversely affected by cultural and human factors. We have been here before – Automation, Agile….


At Accelerate, we believe that traditional recruitment methods are failing, so how do we ensure our customers have the right people to drive DevOps transformation?

We don’t pretend to have all the answers, but we are a practitioner led organisation and in partnership with industry leading training academies, our own network or ‘Community of Practice’ as we call it; and running DevOps community and peer-to-peer events (such as the M4 Meetup) our goal is to understand where the real-life skills-gaps and challenges are, and help the next generation of engineers meet the needs of Delivery Transformation.  

“If I was running a recruitment agency I’d be setting up a series of development tests and scenarios to put a candidate through, I’d agree those tests with the recruiting company and treat them as a gateway to the stage where CV’s are shared ?” Ryan Bryers, CTO, Worldline UK&I

Why wait for the industry to catch up to you, when you can lead by example?

DevOps needs you! (ps. oh and by the way, we are referring to the way of working not a person or a team when we say ‘DevOps’!)

Now is a good time to collaborate on this, because if we keep doing the same thing and expect a different result, then our industry will continue to suffer.  With your help, let’s build a long-term, sustainable solution so that the gap between expectations of DevOps delivery and the availability of skilled people that can achieve DevOps practices is nullified.

This is where you guys come in and we would like to understand your challenges around recruiting teams to deliver DevOps. Please comment below!

For example…..

In your experience is DevOps recruitment really as challenging as we think?

What are the common issues?

What skills do you require? Is there a shortage on the market? How is this currently being met?

How do you ensure technical proficiency of an applicant?

What would you like to see change in the training, sourcing, or onboarding process?

From a project hunter perspective – how do you demonstrate your skills? What would you expect to be tested on to demonstrate your capability?

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Together, let’s build a better DevOps future for everyone.

Craig Hodgson
Craig Hodgson
Technical Director, Accelerate QA

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