We’re all still learning. If you think you’re the finished article, you’re probably not who we’re looking for. When I joined, I had no professional experience in the technology stack we’re using. I’ve asked a lot of really stupid ‘day-one’ type questions and everyone’s been really supportive. The reason I say this is because we recruit for attitude; we look for people who are curious and ask questions. Tools you can learn, attitude is innate.
For instance, right now, I need to hire six engineers to work on the Java stack. But Java experience won’t be the clincher. If you’re a good engineer and believe in good software engineering and Agile principles, that’s the main thing – everything else is a tool you can learn. So, wherever possible, I try to be tech agnostic.
Dave Warren is pretty new to Capital One. He joined the business as a Software Engineering Manager because he was committed to our software engineering principles and values. This is what he looks for when he’s hiring.
I want to hire problem solvers who want to collaborate with a wider team. To be honest, I’d rather turn away 10 people who are right but just OK than hire one wrong person. Because when you do find that ideal person you’ve been looking for, it reminds you why you set the bar so high. They are out there. We’ve hired a lot of them already.