Ask Me Anythings
April 28, 2023

Gavin Fox, Director & Partner at Martinsen Mayer Technology Recruitment

In December 2022, Gavin Fox, the Director and Partner at Martinsen Mayer Technology Recruitment, and the founder of Dublin Tech Talks, held an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session. The questions were asked by various individuals in the tech industry, and Gavin Fox provided his insights and opinions based on his 10+ years of experience in tech recruitment.

Question: Given the recent increase of promoting STEM careers for young women, have you seen an increased amount of women in leadership positions in tech?

Answer: Simple answer: No at Senior Leadership (as in CxO). At Dev. Manager and Manager / Director level: yes.

Question: Do you think it’s easier at the moment to find experienced data scientists and data engineers on contract/daily rate basis rather than as FTE?

Answer: Hiring tech staff is still a challenge and will remain a challenge. It will come down to what you are doing technology wise, what they are building and why you want them. I have recruited for 10+ years and data is always the hardest market; especially data scientists and data engineer. Data scientists - because a lot of them don't have industry experience so you need to take a punt on PhDs. Data engineers - Because this is still a new enough area (3 years ish), the good ones are expensive.

Question: With the recent influx of highly skilled folks from countries like Ukraine as well as the unfortunate layoffs from orgs like Twitter, are there any implications (good/bad) for hiring folks on a contract or FTE base?

Answer: The current landscape is very mixed. Big Tech is getting smashed - over valued stock and rising interest rates mean one thing; the loss of market cap and investors wanting a return on investment. What it looks like on the ground is non-core parts of companies getting stripped; Sales, Marketing, HR, Recruitment. The market went crazy and now it is correcting itself. Tech staff in general have remained untouched. On influx of highly-skilled folks from countries like Ukraine; We are down about 70% still on influx due to cost of living and accommodation issues. So keep on bringing folks in.

Question: When hiring a CTO or developer are there any online tools you recommend use to test their knowledge and writing code ability?

Answer: There are loads of tools to do Code etc. I used for years, but there are loads out there. I would stay away from them personally. I would do more paired programming and ask Developers to explain why they are answering they way they are. Code challenges are great to find out if the person can do Java - but they take time and most good developers don't write code from scratch etc. Also this gets them to communicate and you are able to see how they work in a real world situation CTO - Do personality assessments and maybe get a third party architect or your own architect to have a peer conversation. If you ask them to do a code challenge they will fail (if they are an actual CTO)

Question: In terms of those seeking employment in the start-up sector at the moment or if they have lost their jobs in a big tech company, what is your advice?

Answer: First, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and be expected to work across the company. It's a big change coming from a division within a massive team to being 1 of 5 on the tech team. But you will see your product that you are building actually getting released. Secondly - money wont be the same in any way, so that has to be taken into account. Also be prepared to make your own food. Mainly a start up wants all your skills and not just your python skills.

Question: With the wide adoption of remote working especially in tech, what is your opinion (pros and cons) about hiring remote resources from other markets/outside Ireland vs Ireland-based candidates? Especially developers and PMs?

Answer: Well, "wide adoption of remote working." This is being eroded very quickly from what I have seen. It's very much Hybrid for a lot of places. Yes, remote developers are very strong and a good resource - however the main pitfall is that they now want to be paid the same as the Irish market but are located in, say Spain and are seen as cheaper so people are not wanting to pay it. My advice would be; see them as one team and pay them what you feel a senior dev should be paid etc. but it's hard to accept that. Cons: Maybe communication and work ethic in some companies are not the same but again, this comes back to hiring processes. It is very hard to develop a culture fully remote and in general my comments on hiring is and always will be - the best person for the job should be hired and paid fair.

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