15 Jan 2020
Xccelerate recently hosted a roundtable with some of Hong Kong’s top CTO’s to try and delve into the issue of Hong Kong's recent industry changes, and how they have led to problems when it comes to hiring in tech related fields.
The conversation was concise and informative when it came to hashing out solutions to deal with the current economic conditions that tech firms in Hong Kong have found themselves in. This summary serves to help you gain useful insight into how solution driven experts identify and try to rectify the current tech markets hiring issues.
1.The dichotomy between a skilled person and a driven person
Finding a skilled person does not necessarily guarantee success when it comes to the development of a software framework. The most important aspect, when looking for someone long-term in the hiring process, is making sure they are passionate about the product that they will be creating or selling.
2.Being able to let go after a project
It will be critical for firms to find solutions for keeping top staff happy and satisfied, which often means being proactive instead of reactive when it comes to plotting out a long term growth or incentive strategy on a case-by-case basis.
3.Implementing cultural fitness in an HR capacity
Cultural fitness is key when it comes to hiring engineers as the vast proportion of work is team based. Implementing a cultural fitness test in an HR setting can be a difficult task, however one method that we found quite unconventional yet impactful was bringing in key decision makers from outside the tech departments to take part in interviews. For example, a CMO interviewing a senior engineer would help to ensure cross-departmental communication.
4.The issues with high demand and low supply of senior staff; how looking towards mentorship may be better in developing entry-level employees
In places like Hong Kong it is important to recognize the limiting factors present within the job market, including a lack of homegrown tech talent. Therefore, sometimes it is important to put the needs of your development cycle over finding top level senior staff to meet deadlines and push productivity. This is especially true for start-up cycles.
5.Adapting to politics in a time of civil unrest
When forming a cohesive unit as a start-up or in a small industry, it is often necessary to adapt to political climates that are outside your company’s control, regardless of stance. Through a mix of universal empathy combined with tactful strategic thinking, it is possible to circumnavigate such emotional situations that could otherwise damage your bottom line.
6.The issues of maintaining a legacy framework
New developer hires often want to tear down existing frameworks often due to their personal opinions on what is the current best industry practice. This is a potentially concerning aspect when it comes to maintaining an existing product with only necessary enhancements. The tedium of working on legacy code, however, can be offset by giving programmers incentives when it comes to allowing them to pursue projects that interest them personally.
7.Skills gap issues within teams
No development team is going to have complete parity in a market like Hong Kong. With the aforementioned low talent supply issue, it is important that certain members grow within the company and take on leadership roles to help perpetuate employee morale and maturity. This helps to prevent rapid turnover and hiring cycles which can become costly and have a deep impact on company culture.
The strategy that a firm takes in the hiring of a developer should be one that reflects the capacity of Hong Kong as a developing tech hub. To be frank, this means beggars can’t always be choosers.
Instead of seeking the perfect ready-made employee, it may be beneficial to take a development-oriented approach to hiring. If a candidate is unsuccessful, it is extremely beneficial to point out their flaws in a constructive manner with a highly informative feedback system. This ensures tailoring loyal employees from within your organization as opposed to consistently hiring “mercenary minded” bit-players..
9.How to filter through interviewees
The candidate filtering mechanisms that tech firms implement in Hong Kong have not been laid down concretely when it comes to judging talent and experience. Various firms have begun AB testing interview strategies to filter out the most effective approaches.
Some interesting solutions that firms have come up with include allowing the use of Google during an interview or giving candidates extra time to logically work through presented problems when they get stuck due to time-pressure or perhaps even anxiety.
10.The change from monolithic structures to micro-system
A good way to maintain a level of decorum and understanding between development teams could be the decoupling of large systems, breaking them down into micro-systems in order to foster growth between individuals within a single team rather than trying to manage issues between various teams.
By gaining valuable insights from prominent CTO’s in the industry, beneficial solutions can be implemented in the near future in order to course correct the hiring market within the tech industry and turn Hong Kong into a truly desirable destination to kickstart global unicorns.
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