4 Ways to Staff an All-Star Digital Production Team (Internal and External)

Every good recruiter is looking for experience. But in the world of digital production, sometimes the “best” developer isn’t always the best person for a job. When you’re putting together the right team for a project, the recipe for success is usually what you won’t find on a resume.  Here are four ways to staff an all-star digital production team.

1. Hire Who You Know

They say “it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know,” and when seeking developers for a project, that couldn’t be more true. Hiring solely based on abilities doesn’t always guarantee that they’ll be flexible when changes arise or follow through when deadlines are tight.

For Emmanuel Ulloa, Assemble’s Digital Production Lead, and Geudy Marin, CTO, it’s about staffing people you can trust. “If they say they’re going to have something done by tomorrow, I need to be able to go home knowing that they’ll deliver,” Emmanuel explained. “Or if there’s a red flag on a project, that they’ll raise it right away. So first, I’ll reach out to our internal personnel; a lot of times we have hidden gems in the team who have worked on newer technologies or languages and can take on the project. If our developers don’t have experience in the services we need, we look to our close network of friends. We don’t just hire based on a great resume; we have to know the developer personally.”

For Assemble, that means a very refined collection of 35+ quality contacts created by their team leaders over many years and partnerships. These people are not only certified, but have a proven accord within the close network they’ve built. “Taking the proper care in finding the right professionals for any job is important to protect your own image as well. People are thrilled to work with us because of our reputation, and if the developer is happy, it will definitely reflect in their work.”

2. Make Personality Type a Top Credential

Communication is key, and for starters, this means speaking the same language. As more development teams outsource to talent in locations like Latin America or consider developers in India or Israel, keep in mind time differences and language barriers can complicate communication between the client and developer. It’s important to know the candidate beyond just their skills and how they work with others—specifically the client/project at hand. “You may have a project that only involves backend development, so you obviously want a really good back end developer,” Emmanuel explained, “but if that person doesn’t like to speak up or isn’t comfortable making requests of the client, then you’re going to have issues. So in many cases, that may mean hiring a more outspoken or go-getter project manager to bridge the gap.”

Understanding team member personalities will help facilitate much smoother communication across your team, and in many cases means being polar opposites.  “You need to think in terms of combinations; like we have a project manager who is really good at handling long term projects, but struggles rushed projects, so we’ll need to pair them with this faster developer, who often struggles with over 6-months of status meetings. They’ll balance each other out”

“You need a blend of different personality types to create a great environment,” Geudy added. “And when you can do that, everyone on the team is more comfortable at doing what they do best.”

3. Mix It Up With Internal & External

Outsourcing isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can be the best thing for a project. Having a mix and match team of both internal and external members, you can not only better serve your clients, but your own company as well. Tapping into an external resource will allow your team to focus on the everyday needs that are already important for driving revenue and growing business.

“When you have these smaller requests needed right away, it can disrupt the productivity of your team internally,” Geudy shared. “By hiring externally, you can get the specific skill set you need for any short term project, and continue to manage the day-to-day for long term success. Sometimes we use small companies with specialized technologies that are perfect for what we are looking for at a temporary expense. There are some months and weeks that are so much busier than others, so it’s so beneficial to have quality help on standby without having to hire in-house. It’s important to have a knowledgeable and skilled base team, but also know when it’s best to bring in temporary help.” By taking on too much or hiring internally to handle one-offs, you’ll only end up wasting your own resources and money when tides change.

4. Look To Your Clients

Trust is not only so important within your own team, but in the client relationship too. Making sure the developer you hire will mesh well with the client is a must. Whether that means having someone not afraid to push back on a stubborn personality when they’re just not right, or having an artistic eye on a more difficult request, it’s not always about who’s the “best” but who the client will respect and appreciate working with day in and day out.

“We recently had a developer who was constantly working late nights and weekends with a client, and during a marathon of coding, he told them he had to run to the vet for his dog so would be out of touch for a few hours, Geudy explained. “He sent them a photo of his dog before he left, and came back to a ton of cute dog memes and sentiments, which was the coolest thing. The client felt close enough to the developer to make light of the hours he was gone versus giving him a hard time.”

And sometimes it’s not just about what the client thinks they need, but what you know will make the project better. “We have clients come to us with everything requested of them, but we look for people with an artistic eye to make recommendations and effectuate the process,” Emmanuel shared. “I’ve seen developers spend hours trying to add a graphic to the code, and then a designer steps in and says ‘let’s just do it this way,’ offering a much quicker solution. Even though the project didn’t call for a designer, they could’ve saved hours if they were there from the beginning. It’s all about having the right team in place to not only build that trust with the client, but make them want to come back.”

If you have any questions about staffing your digital production team or are interested in working with Assemble, contact us today!