I've been having a lot of conversations recently about why I believe we should hire juniors as part of a balanced hiring strategy. I'm curious to know how these points align to the thoughts of others who are involved in recruitment.
AttitudeI look for junior applicants who want to get into a testing role, in an agile environment, where they'll have the opportunity to pick up some automation skills, in the financial sector. In other words, I look for junior applicants who want the role that I'm advertising as opposed to any role at all.
These juniors distinguish themselves by being prepared for their interviews, by having a series of questions about the role that indicate they've considered what the position will require them to do, and by demonstrating the ways that they have started their own study towards entering the profession. They make their desire plain to see.
Hiring this sort of junior brings a driven individual into your organisation who is motivated and passionate about learning. In a supportive environment, this kind of attitude is infectious. Though juniors may not bring many skills, I believe they bring a unique thirst for knowledge that can revitalise the desire to learn in the people around them.
ChallengeHiring a junior into a role that they don't yet have the skills to perform will obviously provide them with a huge number of challenges. However it also introduces challenge to the roles of those who will support the junior in their learning. I believe this is a good thing.
When a junior starts with the organisation, we pair them with a senior buddy. The pair usually work in the same agile development team, sitting alongside one another day-to-day, for easy and contextual knowledge transfer.
In a relatively flat organisation structure, being a buddy to a new starter is one way for our senior testers to get experience in mentoring and teaching. It's a responsibility that challenges our seniors to take ownership of developing a junior, by offering them new experiences and imparting their knowledge. Without juniors, we cannot offer this leadership challenge to our senior staff.
LoyaltyI don't like hiring people who can already do a job comfortably on Day One. I think these are the people who get bored and leave within a relatively short period of time or, worse, they are happy to stagnate and occupy their role without developing themselves.
The learning opportunities for a junior are the greatest of any type of hire. Their development path should be long and rewarding. It's growth that makes a role exciting, and creates loyalty between an employee and their organisation. A junior will feel grateful for being given the chance and support to shine.
I believe that loyalty, paired with a healthy work environment, leads to lower staff turnover. I want to retain our testers. Hiring juniors feels like a great way to extend the period of time that people stay with our team.
PotentialA junior candidate is, in many respects, an empty vessel. There are no bad habits to break, no misconceptions to correct, no terminology to redefine. Starting from scratch can be easier than cleaning up before you begin.
Juniors are comfortable asking questions, because they know that there's an expectation that they will have to ask to learn. They bring very few assumptions, because they don't have any prior experience that taints their perspective. They are great at thinking laterally, because they've never had their ideas confined to a particular box.
I believe that junior candidates have massive potential to be amazing testers. Providing an environment to turn this potential into a reality is essential, but their clean slate can be viewed as an asset for a testing role.
I'd like to see more organisations hiring junior testers, not as a strategy to cheapen or deskill their workforce but rather as an investment to develop the next generation of testers. There is potential for junior hires to have vast positive impact and shape the future. Let's give them the opportunity.