Modal Title
Culture

How to Hire (and Keep) Software Devs for Complex Systems

CodeSee's Shanea Leven talks how to leverage processes, technology to close the tech talent gap and enhance developer experience.
Dec 28th, 2021 10:45am by
Featued image for: How to Hire (and Keep) Software Devs for Complex Systems

There’s no doubt that the cognitive load developers are facing is increasing. Microservices and open source have aggravated the situation, where it’s nearly impossible for one developer to get up to speed with any codebase. This makes onboarding extra challenging, and contributes to about two-thirds of tech workers experiencing burnout. CodeSee looks to help developers get up to speed faster by visualizing a codebase in just a few clicks.

“Our codebases have become way more complex. We actually require developers to process and understand a hundred times more code than we needed to have them understand 10 years ago. And with the advent of open source, with the advent of microservices, and with the advent of everyone becoming a software company, there’s just too much code for any one person to understand — and we absolutely need to be able to understand it,” said Shanea Leven, CEO and founder of CodeSee on a recent episode of The New Stack Makers podcast.

How to Hire (and Keep) Software Devs for Complex Systems

We spoke on how to leverage processes and technology to close that infamous tech talent gap and enhance developer experience and happiness at work.

Leven says CodeSee, a remote-first company, builds its culture like it does its products, from the ground up with intentional design and curation, based on five core principles:

  1. Trust
  2. Self-reflection
  3. Humility
  4. Communication
  5. Transparency

This starts with the interview process, which is distinctly shorter than most typically lengthy tech interviews. It kicks off with a 45-minute screener with Leven to highlight the candidate’s ability to meet those core principles and to understand the candidate’s growth areas, including making sure CodeSee has the resources to support that professional development.

If they move on, it’s followed by two technical skill tests and interviews, which are pair programming in the candidate’s chosen environment. And, yes, they are allowed to Google. Finally, they have a Topgrading interview with several members of the team together, which lasts a few hours. Notably, there are no prolonged processes — candidates receive results within a week.

Leven says she achieves this by following the highly structured “Who: The A Method of Hiring.”

Then, in this conversation, Leven explains how that company culture focus continues through the entire employee experience, as laid out clearly in their inclusion and collaboration documentation, identifying what behavior they want to reward versus deter. This includes being humble and receptive at giving and receiving feedback, which she learned to do by reading “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High.”

It is a book not just for feedback givers, but also feedback receivers. It is how to give the right kinds of feedback at the right times and there are actually different kinds of feedback. If you have a feedback mismatch, then it’s going to be really challenging to make sure that the message that you have is actually delivered,” Leven said.

CodeSee even has a two-second rule. With a global, remote team, there can be time delays, so everyone is supposed to pause for two seconds before speaking, to make sure they aren’t cutting someone off.

I highly recommend — if you can, not everyone can — that you design your culture to be inclusive from the ground up. Make sure that it’s embedded in your interview process, make sure that you’ve got written documentation thinking about how you want to effectively collaborate.”

Leven continued that your culture is something you can develop with your team, balancing what you’d prefer as a founder.

She just said that, whatever you decide, make sure your managers are trained too, “Because we know that managers are the biggest helps or hindrances to a person’s career.”

Group Created with Sketch.
TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: The New Stack.
THE NEW STACK UPDATE A newsletter digest of the week’s most important stories & analyses.