Recruiting at SOUTHWORKS: What we look for in new hires

Part 2 in our recruitment mini-series, Johnny Halife discusses the key attributes we look for in new SOUTHIES

What are the key characteristics that define a SOUTHIE? There are three things we look at when profiling potential new recruits – the fundamentals, alignment with our values, and experience. Let’s take a closer look at those three attributes and why they’re important...

1 - Fundamental skills and knowledge

As a starting point, we need people who are able to do their job well. It's all about knowing the software engineering and computer science fundamentals. We’re less concerned with specialties, as they can be learned – we’re more interested in candidates’ problem-solving ability, regardless of the framework or technology in question.

2 - Alignment with our values and the skills to uphold them

With tech changing so quickly, we prefer to hire eager, fast learners over specialists, so we seek out those who are driven by learning new skills, have a growth mindset, can take feedback on board, are self-aware, and understand that what they’re doing will change from day to day. Deep knowledge of a technology is handy, but we’re more interested in someone’s overall attributes and values, because if they only possess that depth in one area then they’re probably not the best fit for our company. SOUTHWORKS is a high-trust, high-autonomy working environment with an async culture, so hiring self-directed, driven individuals with a strong sense of ownership and effective communication is key to our success. We don’t micro-manage our people, so we need to know we can trust them to do a good job.

We also look for team players – having the skills is important, but our people also need to be able to function within a team, and have the desire to work with others and be part of something bigger. That’s exactly why applicants sometimes are interviewed by the whole team they’ll be joining so the team can find someone they believe will make them better.

We assure our customers that thanks to our culture, their projects won’t get stuck in the mud. This makes it absolutely crucial that our SOUTHIES have the qualities to uphold our core values and cultural principles.

3 - Experience and career track record

This is an important aspect too, we love to talk with our candidates and connect the dots looking backwards to understand what steps they took that led them to this new opportunity on their careers. By doing this exercise with them, we try to identify clear evidence that the people we’re hiring can solve problems and communicate effectively. Essentially, their existing experience tells us the journey they've been through, and what we need to know about whether they’ll be able to uphold our values by embodying the first two attributes on this list.

When recruiting using these three pillars, it is also important to us to be thinking about how we create a diverse team and an inclusive workplace (as you would rightly expect!).  For us, it’s all about giving everyone the same chances. Equality and diversity are important to us; we believe that people with different backgrounds and experiences enrich our culture and bring a fresh perspective to solving problems (which is super important to us - and not just because it makes for a great team for us to work with, but also because it helps us solve our clients’ challenges better), so we actively strive to be an equal opportunities employer. …And btw, we also pay everyone in the same role the same pay, no behind-closed-doors negotiations, no bias and unbalanced remuneration (check out the story on how we hire for more on transparent pay). And when it comes to selecting new team members, we encourage the diversity we are looking for by working from the top of the pipeline – in other words, finding ways to ensure that as an employer, we’re appealing to a broad range of individuals to begin with so that diversity is present right from the application stage.

When it comes to selecting new recruits, our three pillars of: skills, value alignment and experience, help us define the profile we look for when hiring. Our values of autonomy, trust, and ownership are super important for us, so whether their role is in finance, administration, recruiting, development, or something else, our people need to be autonomous and trustworthy and understand that the only way we’ll move forward as a company is if we all own what we’re doing, collaborate with those around us, and just as importantly, actively coordinate our work with that of others to create success as a team. Ultimately, hiring according to these principles is part of what has allowed us to become experts in our field, as well as in the various sectors and technologies we work with.

What are the most important things to consider when hiring new recruits? As a candidate, what do you think businesses should be looking for? Drop us a line and tell us your thoughts. And if you’re interested in applying to work at SOUTHWORKS, check out our open positions at: