Recruiting in web development is not just a race to the best technical skills

As a recruiter of digital talent in the energy sector, we know software development and engineering professional roles cover a broad spectrum of technology disciplines. The needs are high for hybrid software developers fluent in languages like Java, C#, PHP, JavaScript, and SQL. In this article we’d like to share our insights about the factors involved when looking for the perfect role as a web development professional and provide some considerations for employers on locating the right talent for your business.

Although some technical expertise are scarce, we find the toughest part of securing the right talent is not only assessing their technical skills, but finding their motivations and the softer skills essential to be successful in communicating their knowledge and negotiating solutions whether the roles are at a software vendor or in-house within an IT organisation.
The type of organisation and development environment is normally a good indicator for recruiters in finding the appropriate soft skills that provide the framework for a software developer, solutions architect, applications engineer or web designer to perform well for that business.

Thinking beyond the in-house IT organisation

Web and software consultancies that work for the US oil and gas sectors offer a great opportunity for early and mid career professionals to gain a broad knowledge and are ideal for those that thrive on deadlines, problem solving and inventing solutions. However, working in a corporate environment for one client throws up different challenges as the people networks maybe more formal and involve working across a matrix of departments and stakeholders.

The market demand for software engineers is not as high as it was before the decline in the oil price that began 24 months ago, however, positions do become available. Corporate recruiters at these organisations are often looking for professionals who are performing a similar role already and may look for those currently working in the industry, however, technical skills are very transferable in the digital sector so candidates that can demonstrate successful projects completed at vendors to the corporate sector will be looked upon favourably.

A new era for working in start ups and technical consultancies

With pressure on businesses in the energy sector to deliver cost and lean efficiencies there has been a noticeable increase in web start ups and specialist consultancies to whom projects are outsourced. The established enterprises where  pressures from governance can slow down some innovation projects see the benefit of working with more flexible players especially on SaaS product developments.

These small to medium organisations offer candidates some really exciting opportunities but their focus is on delivering brilliant and unique solutions for the clients not scouring the market for the best in talent. These organisations build up great relationships with recruitment agencies like Petroplan as we work as their people partners with our expertise in identifying and engaging the right talent with the aptitudes to succeed in a flexible work-culture.

Winning skills in today’s technical economy

We’ve already mentioned the importance of communications skills in technology environments whether that’s with colleagues in larger enterprises or with clients. So what do we mean?
For example, applying tact assertively to ensure a client whether internal or external to your team is getting the solution they need is really critical. This is in ensuring you can describe and agree on specifications to manage expectations that get the project completed in an acceptable time period.
Empathy is also really important. Being able to see a situation from the end-user’s perspective will involve active listening. Non technical users often won’t find articulating their own needs very easy or may not know the right questions to ask

Being flexible will also build trust with owners of a project, requirements will shift but the confidence built during the scoping period will also be invaluable in insuring against scope creep that may put a project over budget and time.

If you work to deliver projects that have a screen based presence, such as desk top applications or mobile interfaces, the ability to think visually and demonstrate what an application will look like is useful to confirm if the application will realise the end user’s goals.
Finally, a handle on project management is a must. Even if a role does not involve overall responsibility for a web project, demonstrating how you have experience of prioritizing tasks and dealing with the deadlines of others will set you apart as a candidate, in medium size organisations – where project management is not a department but a way of thinking.

Working with people partners

If you are a job seeker then Petroplan is a good link to the less obvious opportunities as many tech businesses have cut back on in-house resourcing, likewise as an employer we can put you in touch with the networks of active and passive candidates quickly. As we have already outlined, to us the culture at an organisation and its potential fit with a candidate’s motivations and softer skills will have been assessed in advance of any vacancy specific conversations.

Although we have a deep understanding of the markets in Houston, Boston and Dallas, as key oil and gas hubs, our network uses online sourcing too to keep in touch with the best talent that cares about their online brand and social networks. The kind of talent that is perfect for the next generation of web challenges in the energy sector. If that sounds like you or you are looking for your next team player get in touch. Josh Chavez is a specialist recruiter for web development roles you can get in touch on 832-779-4602




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