How We Found Our iOS Developers

Two months ago we started iOS Trainee Programme with our trainees — Jon and Voon. They have now completed the training and are continuing this journey with us, #ParkEasyTeamExpands.

This short diary entry is not to teach about how hiring developers shouldwork. This is a sharing of how we found the people who are the right fit for our company. We always believe that they’re out there, looking for an opportunity that matches their aspirations and skills. There we were too, searching for people like them.

When the team started looking for iOS Developers, we almost gotten a little panic attack for how few Malaysian iOS developers are ready. (Hint: Coders, think supply and demand.) After searching for few weeks and considering the resources we have, the team decided instead of finding iOS Developers, wetrain them. We decided that we will invest in people who will invest their time and skills with us.

Changing the game a little, we began carefully structuring the programme, setting goals and requirements. It didn’t take us long to attract some potentials. We then started screening through, meeting and evaluating the people who will eventually be part of the team.

Here are some questions we asked ourselves:
Time is crucial for a startup, are we willing to risk our time to train people?
Do we have the capacity to train people with workload lining up?
Do we have the resources to train people to be very good?
Here are some questions we asked in interview:
Why are you interested in us?
What do you want to do with your life?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

After a series of selection, Jon and Voon got chosen. Jon who returned from studies in Australia found us even before we publicised the programme. He came with the intention that he is even willing to be an intern, just so that he can work and learn with ParkEasy. When we offered him trainee position, he said yes without hesitation. Voon on the other hand, after just one Skype interview, agreed to relocate from East Malaysia within two weeks upon the offer.

Now that the programme has ended, the team are happy that they are staying with us, adapting change everyday and driven to achieve goals together.

Will we recommend this method for others out there looking for developers? Will we do it again ourselves in the future?
It depends on situations at the time of recruitment, weighing some of the pros and cons:

1. You and trainee can “experiment” working together as a team.
2. You get to hire a person whom you can see potential and you help to realise the potential before the person is discovered by others.
3. You have less cash outflow as compared to hiring professional developer (only in short term, in the long run you wish the trainee to be professional and you can pay them very well).
4. You are at work developing someone, instead of keep searching among limited pool of talents (this is very skill-specific).

1. You may realise at the end of the programme, the person is not a right fit for your company, or the trainee leaves you after the programme.
2. You are basically saying no to continue hunting for a professional developer, because you spend time focusing on developing this person.
3. You realise you are spending too much time training instead of doing actual productive work for your startup.
4. You screw up the training, and the trainee is left hanging.

Trainee programme for a startup, in a way is a form of investment, a huge one considering our current resources — much smaller team as compared to big corporation. This means that each team member carries broader as well as stronger responsibilities. We are also spending a huge portion of our absolute sum of time we have for organisational-level learning versus doing productive work. In contrast, if we hire an experienced developer, the person could take off immediately, without needing other team members to spend time for training.

Reflecting on this programme, aren’t we all “trainees” in our own profession in a way? Aren’t we also learning and improving our skills, getting evaluated by not just the impact of our work, but also our attitude to it?

Does a trainee programme ever actually end?