What cats teach us about hiring remote developers
Whether you are a cat, a dog, or a bunny person, no one can deny that with their wisdom, cats can teach us many things, including how to hire & retain developers more effectively.
Yes, I said cats could teach us how to be better at hiring developers, and no, I did not lose my mind.
Not long ago, I found a kitten starving and half dead, so I adopted her and named her Pizza.
The more time I spent with Pizza, the more I realized there are many parallels between how felines behave and how companies can better hire remote developers internationally.
3 Lessons cats can teach us about hiring remote developers
Lesson 1: Never make assumptions
I was eating some pancakes; When Pizza jumped on the table and decided to check what I was eating, I assumed she would not take a bite (since cats are meat eaters).
You know what they say about assuming. She took a bite out of my pancake before walking away, her head held high as if she’d hunted for her own dinner.
Like with cats, it is better to avoid making assumptions about developers’ qualifications based on a piece of paper (the resume). Often recruiters spend only a few seconds scanning a resume, which might result in missing out on amazing talents.
In a previous blog post on IT hiring mistakes, we mentioned the story of a very talented Node.js developer many recruiters ignored based on his resume.
Furthermore, according to a survey from Checkster, 78% of job seekers said they misrepresented themselves in their resumes, making it hard to rely on the information provided on resumes. That is why we believe in vetting and testing candidates instead of relying on their resumes.
Lesson 2: Avoid micromanaging developers
It is said that cats have strong personalities, hence why they don’t follow human orders.
Not long ago, a cat went viral after a video of her bringing her humans her slippers every morning. She did it not because she was following orders but because she was happy and grateful for being adopted.
It is the same with developers; when you create a happy environment where developers can thrive, they will go the extra steps to deliver results for your company.
I recently caught up with one of our clients Nikhil who is a Lead Technical Recruiter. He hates micromanaging developers, and his philosophy is: “I really don’t care if developers will spend 3 hours on Instagram. I care about the results, not the hours spent”.
His attitude is influenced by when he worked as a developer in Los Angeles. At some point, he was sick and worked for 3 weeks from home. He noticed that his productivity increased and was able to get more things done when not micromanaged and working remotely from home.
A 2021 study confirms the damaging Effects of Micromanagement, with 71% of workers saying being micromanaged affected their job performance, and 85% said it decreased their morale. Even worse, 69% said they considered changing jobs, with 36% changing jobs because of micromanagement.
To avoid micromanaging, you need to trust the remote developers you hired.
Some companies will force developers to install a webcam to take pictures randomly. A quick search on Quora or Reddit shows angry developers saying they did not get paid because they took a 1 min bathroom break when the webcam took a picture.
You can be sure that many remote developers will google your company name before considering a job offer, and such bad reviews can negatively affect your ability to recruit the best developers.
Lesson 3: Hiring and retaining the best developers is not only about the money
One day a homeless man named James Bowen found a badly injured street cat, so he took him to the vet. Back then, James had only £30 to his name. So he spent £22 on antibiotics the cat needed and £7 to buy him one week’s worth of food.
After giving the cat antibiotics for 2 weeks, he started feeling better, and while James tried to release the cat into the street, the cat named Bob began following him everywhere.
James will go to Central London to play music on the street, and Bob will sit on his shoulder.
This attracted a lot of attention, with people often offering money for Bob.
Including one instance where a wealthy lady in Covent Garden told him:” I’ll give you £1000 for him.” James replied: “he’s my baby. I am not selling him.”
Money or not, there is no way the cat would have followed and sat on someone else’s shoulder as he did with James. After all, James saved his life.
It is the same with developers as a recent business insider article tells the story of a top developer at Netflix leaving a $450,000 salary showing that attracting and retaining developers is more than the salary alone.
When Michael Lin resigned from Netflix, everyone thought he was crazy. His parents even accused him of throwing away their hard work of immigrating to the US.
At first, he loved working at Netflix, but with time, he realized he loved entrepreneurship more than engineering.
Not managing to transition into a product manager role, he lost motivation, and his performance deteriorated, and after his manager noticed the drop in performance, he decided to quit.
On the other hand, some developers say that as product lead, they feel like a manager instead of a developer and hate it.
Vetting only for tech skills is a mistake many companies make, as work motivation, preferences, and aspiration impact productivity and retention.
Retention is not only about the salary but also about hiring the right tech talent.
Some companies need someone who can work alone and take ownership, while others need developers who work better as a team.
Some companies need developers who can work in a fast-paced environment, while others need developers who can get started with little onboarding.
Hiring remote developers is like dating.
Just because two people are single, it does not mean they are a good match for each other. It is the same when hiring remote developers, as one can have the needed tech skills and still not be the best fit for your company.
Our experience with remote engineering teams combined with breakthrough psychology research allows us to understand each company’s unique needs and match them with the perfect tech talent.
For the past 3 years, we’ve been helping customers like Deel meet their extreme growth goals while keeping a super high-quality bar of candidates (50+ hires made).
Need international developers who are the perfect fit for your cultural DNA and technical needs? Let’s talk!