Employer’s Guide to Successful DevOps Hiring

More and more employers are on the lookout for top talent in the DevOps community. While job descriptions and required skills may range from company to company, most are seeking candidates with a software engineering and development background or an infrastructure background. Those with skills relating to configuration management, continuous integration, container orchestration, or cloud infrastructure are also in high demand.


While ideal candidates have experience in both backgrounds, most fall on either the Dev or Ops side. However, most industry professionals have acquired enough skills to meet the demands on both sides and can work collaboratively to achieve goals of delivery and deployment. When hiring, consider your business’s unique infrastructure, existing team skills, and your overall objectives. Before creating a job listing, focus on how you will conduct your search and complete the selection process.

Fill the Gaps

Start by considering the strengths and weaknesses of your existing team. Maybe you have an incredible software engineer but are lacking employees with infrastructure knowledge. When you know what gaps are present within your team, you can better target talent with the necessary skills to fill these gaps. Also, many employers make the mistake of using their entire hiring budget on an employee who may have skills that align with current trends (ex. experience with Kubernetes or Docker). In reality, you should find a DevOps professional who will bring the most value and skill to your team.

Don’t Write Off Contractors

You may be interested in adding a full-time permanent employee to your team. However, have you considered working with a contractor instead, or even a contract-hire? While contractors can be more costly, most senior professionals have the skill and experience that you need for your business to succeed. If you still want a full-time employee, consider hiring a junior who can work alongside the external contractor. Together, you may find that the duo is able to complete work in a shorter time frame and with greater attention to detail.

Focus on Methodologies Over Tools

Sure, having a solid understanding of Puppet or Jenkins can look good on a candidate’s resume, but these keywords should not entirely dictate your decision. It’s important to find a candidate who has experience with DevOps and CI/CD-related processes over various tools. Find someone who knows the ins and outs of continuous integration or has experience with continuous delivery. There are more important characteristics to look for in an employee. Is the candidate passionate about increasing efficiency or automating manual processes? Are they skilled at finding flaws in the systems? These are the types of people you want on your team.

Work with a Recruiter

One of the best decisions you can make as an employer is to work alongside a recruiter. A qualified devops recruiter can help you find and sort through the best candidates for the job, allowing you more time to focus on your day-to-day operations. Take the time to set up a call or meet with a recruiter to discuss your objectives and requirements. Also talk about your timeline for finding candidates and your expectations when it comes to the interview stage. Developing a relationship with a recruiter can save you significant time while also helping you connect with the best talent out there.

Establish Wages

Don’t waste your time or the time of others by not being upfront about wages. While not all candidates focus on the money aspect of a job, it is a key criterion in most candidates’ minds. While you don’t need to have an exact number, you do want to establish a ballpark figure or hourly rate. When determining a figure, consider your budget and what you can reasonably afford to pay without sacrificing the finances of your business. You can also appeal to candidates by offering other benefits, such as flexible work schedules, remote work locations, and attractive benefits packages.

Get You Ego in Control

While your product may be amazing and your company offers solid customer service, your big ego could be getting in the way of your success. Don’t simply throw out a job listing and expect talented DevOps professionals to rush to your door. You need to sell your company and show why top employees want to work for you. One of the best ways to do this is to maintain your reputation in the industry. Treat your employees with respect and provide constructive feedback that shows you want to grow your business.

Streamline the Interview Process

You don’t want to overwhelm potential hires with a dozen steps they have to complete before possibly getting the job. Keep it simple by implementing just two to three stages designed to showcase the candidate’s talents. You may want to begin with a brief phone interview to determine whether or not the applicant has the basic skills you’re looking for. You can then follow up with an in-person interview that involves you (and possibly senior members of the team) discussing the job over lunch or drinks. Don’t wait too long to make a decision, as great candidates will quickly be snatched up by your competitors.

Published by Kidal Delonix (1197 Posts)

Kidal Delonix is a contributor to Mr. Hoffman's blog. The views and opinions are entirely his/her own and may not reflect Mr Hoffman's views.

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