The right stuff: what does it take to become a Versent team member?
Head of Talent, Versent
Head of Talent, Versent
What is the “right stuff” for a Versent recruit? Beyond tech aptitude, what are the defining characteristics of a new ‘Versentonian?’
Versent CTO, Tim Hope, summarises the qualities he looks for in recruits in these terms:
“When we’re recruiting, we look for enthusiasm and determination. These are such important qualities when it comes to solving our customers’ challenges. We want to bring in people who have a growth mindset and an authentic, collaborative approach.”
“Versent has a wide range of capabilities, so I want people who have some depth in one area but also a strong interest in understanding the wider ecosystem. Our customers represent a very varied portfolio of industries, including banks, the public sector, utilities and the media. I want to find people who’ll enjoy the exposure and variability to work on those different kinds of projects and customer landscapes. There’s a lot of opportunity to gain new skills, but that demands a certain kind of person who has a drive to learn. The technology is always evolving, just like our client’s business models, so adaptability and the ability to grow in our business are key.”
Mentoring people who have a passion for technology has been one of Versent’s most successful strategies for both growth and cultural cohesion. Over the last few years, we’ve hired hundreds of new team members; some of them come to us with long careers behind them and high levels of tech expertise, but others are recent graduates who are looking for their first or second jobs.
As Versent’s Head of Talent, one of my job highlights is hearing the success stories of our young recruits. They all have different experience levels before joining our team, but what they have in common is a strong desire to keep learning. Let’s meet a few of them.
Aaron – Managed Services Lead
A dedicated State Emergency Service (SES) volunteer, Aaron became a Versentonian in 2017, when the team was just thirty people. He was one of the guinea pigs for Versent’s fledgling Junior Development Program but has since become a mentor himself.
“When I started, I learned a lot of new technical skills, but also communication skills around dealing with customers,” Aaron told me.
“Initially, I was in the incident management team – a fast-paced and quite pressurised environment – where customers needed quick solutions, so communicating well was vital.”
“I already had a tech skill set, but Nicole – my original mentor when I joined – taught me a lot about how to handle complicated communication challenges. Her approach to problem-solving with clients was to think about a solution from many different angles before you give up finding a solution. Aside from the basic learning I got from Nicole, I also realised how useful it is to have ‘soft skills’ like conflict resolution in a tech job. This is a very complicated, very jargon-heavy industry, so finding the right words to explain what you’re trying to say is a big part of the job when you’re helping customers. If you know how to listen and talk to people, there’s rarely such a thing as an unsolvable problem; you just keep mining for options.”
After he’d been with us for a while, Aaron became interested in a team leadership role. He’s now someone that other young recruits go to for advice and help to resolve tricky issues with clients’ jobs.
“I can pass on my communication skills to the newer team members now,” Aaron explained. “I can see the benefits of those skills I learned from Nicole in the way we get along as a team as well. We’re all focused on listening better, and that makes us more productive as a group. I’ve been interested in leading and inspiring people since I joined the SES. Growing into a mentorship role at Versent has given me a lot of satisfaction in my work, and I see myself as a leader now, who can motivate other people, not just a tech guy.”
Loretta – Iteration Manager
Loretta worked in customer service for ten years before learning to code. She started her IT career as a developer and then transitioned into her current Iteration Manager role at Versent.
“At its core, Iteration Management is all about the team and the needs of the individual,” says Loretta. “Coming from a customer service background has helped me find my niche in IT as a facilitator, enabling engineers to do their jobs.”
Loretta is now training to be a Delivery Lead with her mentor Hamish Ridland.
“Over the last two years, I’ve had two really important mentors at Versent: Hamish and Murat. My mentors have shown me that I have the opportunity to move into any aspect of the business if I want to. There’s definitely flexibility in our team and, more broadly, at Versent. If an individual wants to move into a different part of the business, we can accommodate that. If an engineer wants to focus on a particular area of the stack, we’ll try to accommodate that in our delivery planning so they can learn something new. There are so many different pathways and workstreams; all you have to do is ask. Versent gives people the chance to change focus and stay engaged.”
Loretta told me that she thinks anyone can learn to code if they have the right mindset and the desire to learn. The prerequisite is having a positive attitude and a constructive team culture.
“I believe creating a circle of trust is very important for any team. How people give and receive feedback is a big factor in how successful they can be in a high performing team,” she said. “Team members need to know they can speak their minds without any fear of backlash. That takes tact, diplomacy, and sensitivity, which are all learned skills in a fast-paced workplace.”
“As I’ve progressed in my career, we’ve hired an associate to take on some of my prior responsibilities in agile methodologies and business analysis. She’s also a career changer coming from retail management. It’s nice to be able to give back and now mentor someone in their career, just as I’ve been mentored the past two years.”
Jesse – Associate Engineer
Jesse came to Versent in 2019 from the banking and investment industry, where he did help desk support work.
Jesse has completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Information Systems, majoring in IT, so he was keen to make full use of his education when he joined our team.
“When I joined Versent, two of the first people I worked with were Dean Robinson and Matt Lease, and they became important mentors,” Jesse says.
“One of my strengths was relationship building with customers. I had a good base for technical aspects and support stuff as well, so Matt encouraged me to go into the Identity practice to balance my soft and hard skills. Matt told me, “if you can speak to the customer and do the technical stuff as well, that’s the ideal skills combo.”
“My first role at Versent was internal support. Matt and Darren Furlotte came up with a plan to have a pathway from newcomer to engineer to principal consultant: the Junior Development Program (JDP). I was in a role at the start where I was pretty comfortable, but because of the JDP, I could see an interesting and challenging pathway ahead.”
“I really don’t want to trap myself in a particular discipline or role forever. Versent allows me to move around and learn new skills, so I don’t start to get stale and feel in a rut. Right now, I’m leaning towards a role where it’s less about hard engineering skills and more about team leadership in the support space or change management.”
The Versent team is growing fast
I spend a lot of time meeting young people who want to build exciting IT careers. The thing I always look for in people is enthusiasm and energy that will inspire the people they work with: that’s the culture we want to have in Versent.
Do you have the right stuff?
Our business is growing explosively right now, and we’re always on the lookout for talented people. If you’re passionate about technology, love working with curious people and want to fast-track your career, Versent might just be the perfect place for you.
Want to come and work with us?
Visit our careers page and get in touch!
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