How Recruiting Graduates Benefits Our Business

Chris Palk

As DabApps has expanded over the past few years, one of the issues that we've had to deal with is how to recruit good quality staff. We're a company with a focus on specific technologies, and we need staff who have the right skills and are keen to learn. We get calls from recruitment agents on a daily basis, not to mention hundreds of unsolicited emails and LinkedIn requests from companies all over the world offering outsourced software development. However, we've always believed that the right thing to do is focus on building and strengthening our in-house development team.

How do we find new talent?

Good recruitment agents definitely have their place. Whilst working in London, I both found jobs through agents and hired from a good list of candidates provided by agents. However, for a small software company like DabApps, cost is an issue and also differentiating ourselves to developers, who can be cynical of agents, is also important.

In the last two years we have hired three talented graduates (pictured below) direct from the University of Brighton, with degrees in Computer Science, Digital Media Design and Digital Media Development.

DabApps recruited as graduates

Left to right: Jake Smith, Emmanouil Konstantinidis and Max Hurl.

What we've found is the graduates have a great understanding of the basics, but not the way a developer works in a real-life team environment.

For example:

  • They can program JavaScript but haven't really used a source code control system
  • They can produce a mobile app but don’t understand build tools and test standards
  • They can create a project plan but are not used to working in agile/scrum environments

The above shortcomings may sound like they'd cause us problems, but in many ways they can be a benefit. We can teach our new employees the way that DabApps works and they can quickly absorb it, without any 'baggage' from the way things were done at previous workplaces. Our new hires have always seen the benefits of the approaches we use. It has made it easier to integrate new graduates into an existing team and once they're up to speed, they are always happy to suggest improvements to the processes that we all follow.

As we continue to grow we will look to continue graduate recruitment, supplemented by more experienced hires who have been working in the industry for a while. Hopefully this will give us a great balance of talented graduates and experienced developers. New graduates learn at a very quick pace in the opening year before moving on to take more responsibility, either at a management or technical level.

Following the wisdom of Richard Branson:

Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.

If you'd like to chat about working with us do get in touch.