International Rockstars: building an engineering team from the ‘Ground Up’
By Roline Spijkervet
The No. 1 challenge of tech companies in the world is hiring enough tech talent. In fact, a survey by Indeed revealed that 86% of the organisations find it difficult to find and hire technical talent. The situation for fast growing tech companies in the Netherlands is not any different. To accelerate the need for talent, engineer’s nationality becomes less important. The skillset of the candidate and the fit with the team is what counts. Companies must go above and beyond to successfully build an international engineering team.
Picnic has approximately 100 people in the central team, of whom 40 persons are engineers working on the app, supply chain and data systems. On top of that, there are more than 1.000 people in operations who pick the orders in the warehouse or deliver the goods to the customers with specially designed electric vehicles. Today the team consists of 17 different nationalities of which 15 of them in the tech team. The majority at Picnic has a technical background and obtained a master’s degree from a technical university.
Building an international engineering team
Building a team with talented engineers requires dedication, focus and a smooth recruitment process – next to of course a challenge people want to rally for. To ensure things run smoothly, a clearly defined recruitment process needs to be in place. This includes interviews, technical assessments and days onsite. It’s essential to focus on hiring the best of the best without compromise and to establish the right team structure. The perfect balance between skills, personalities and cultures makes all the difference in building a team of committed yet modest rockstars that play in a league of their own.
Involving the engineering team in the recruitment process is important as well. Apart from the technical assessment, the team should be involved in the assessment of the personal and cultural fit of the candidate. It’s crucial that recruitment and tech work together in building a successful team of very bright and ambitious people. Besides involvement in the recruitment process, the tech team also plays a significant role in attracting talented candidates. It’s vital to create exposure and visibility via keynote speeches, presentations, interviews, blog posts, competitions, meetups and international conferences. Attracting the best talent can only be done by assessing the best talent!
We understand that when you make a transition to a new reality you need to be smart about it. When all employees on the work floor speak Dutch it will not change very quickly. In this case it is best to hire at least 2 or 3 developers, preferably from different countries so that no subculture are formed and English remains the first language. In this way also the internationals feel that they are not alone joining a Dutch team. Esti developers, IT recruitment Amsterdam, guides companies in developing these international teams and takes cultural differences into account when introducing a candidate to our client.