Imagine that you are running a recruitment drive for your company. And you are frustrated because the “right candidates” don’t seem to be coming your way!

You choose to curse your luck and grumble, instead of wondering what’s going on. The problem might actually be lurking within the carefully crafted selection process itself, which focuses on hiring rather than mentoring.

Let’s see how this might be possible, with a look at a common conception regarding Indian developers. They are often considered to be of poorer quality and of mediocre technical competence compared to their Western counterparts.

What are some of the usual complaints?

  • Indian developers are not as curious or enterprising as others.
  • They often do not know basic material or are not updated with the latest technological developments.
  • They are hardly the best candidates for recruitment, and not the “ideal talenthiring processes to look for.

The case of the Indian developer is as unique as the country he/she is from. Many of these issues are rooted in indigenous factors.

An inefficient education system that chooses to prioritize rote learning of dated material over in-depth understanding contributes to these.

So does a social structure which values a large pay package over job interest or satisfaction.

At this point, you’ll probably think, this must be the reason why India produces such poor developers even within large companies. Without denying that, let’s look at the issues arising from the employers’ end.

In a bid to recruit only the “best talent”, companies create complex labyrinths as their interview processes, with multiple complicated steps, and often impractical questions or tests, requiring the capacity to do things which might be not be needed during the job at all.

Consider the situation where a potential candidate is asked to write code on pen and paper, in front of the entire panel!

Not only is the experience very different from the computer-based code the candidate would have to write if hired, the very effort of performing while being watched, locked under a time constraint is enough to blow the whistle of even experienced engineers!

Now suppose all the companies are hunting out, via these stringent processes of elimination, the very best of talent. The pool of “best” keeps getting smaller and smaller, leaving behind the scenario mentioned in the very beginning.

The biggest question that comes to the mind then is – where is all the “best talent” going? All the students the professional training institutes are pumping out, how are they drying out in the desert of employment?

One answer to this question is that the real “best” tend to avoid corporations which have often been known as the “slaughterhouse of talent.” Those with true talent and potential are far more interested in a productive work atmosphere and freedom to produce codes rather than be stuck in a cycle of reluctant task completion within a restricted time.

Also, companies have often been accused of not really wanting to hire the best talent, for fear of these talents usurping the top level jobs.

Rather, such recruiters are considered to only want people who fall in line with company policies and can be made to simply cater to the demands of the higher level professionals.

The other answer to this question is interesting. The interview process; by focusing on knowledge accumulated by the candidate completely fails to engage with the question of whether a candidate has a good growth mindset, or whether they are ambitious enough to learn to do the job well.

Think back to interviews you may have attended or conducted. Did these expect the candidate to turn up “already perfect” for the job, pre-prepped with full knowledge about the specific technology used by the company; in short, did the interviews expect the candidates to be absolutely flawless rock stars in their field?

If you nodded yes to that, then there lies your answer.

The “best” in these cases has not disappeared. The company’s filtration processes rather are so rudimentary, that none of the new, eager and interested developers have a chance of getting through or being considered true talent.

Companies are so fixated on hiring talent, that they completely ignore the idea of training, mentoring, and developing talent from the vast pools of local candidates trained for the job.

Think of the diamond. It was, after all, a stone at one point, valuable only after being cut to perfection by a professional.

Why can’t we think of developers in the same way? Instead of locking out “not good enough” candidates, we can take in the ones who are new but have a great growth mindset, or were not lucky enough to have had a good mentor in the past, and train them to become tech ninjas and assets to our company.

Consider it to be a kind of D-I-Y, custom made workforce.

And if this solution makes you think, diamonds cannot be made out of plain rocks, candidates must have some inherent diamond-ness within them, then the reply to that would be – but how would you know if you don’t even try?

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