Weeknotes 008

May 8 2021


I was tengentially involved in enabling Brotli compression for our production site this week.

I attended an interesting incident review.

I spent a large portion of the week on recruitment. It was unpleasant.

I do not get on with our applicant tracking system. The interface feels slow and cumbersome. Widgets abound. Navigating into records requires double clicking. A cmd-click to open in new tab doesn’t work because of the widgets. It breaks the web as far as I’m concerned. It reminds me of early desktop inspired web development. I feel punished when using it. Every time I have to log in to it, I feel dread.

In an attempt to make a fair pay scale, GDS and the Cabinet Office has create a complex sytem. Large parts are opaque to me. We have to write pay cases for any candidate we feel is above the minimum pay grade. From what I can tell, these are forwarded from our HR to the Cabinet Office proper for review. At that point, I lose visibility. I have no way of knowing when the case will be reviewed, or by whom. I can chase on my side. In my mind that sends a cascade of emails from person to person to person. Layers. I don’t know how deep. Turnaround is slow. In the order of days to a week to get any sort of report back, and that might just be “nope haven’t got to it yet”.

I try to batch my queries.

Pay cases are written to prove a candidate has the skills required of a software developer. The DDaT framework defines the ten skills required for a software developer. Each skill has a required skill level. For the required level, a person will be working below the level, working at the level or working above the level. A skill can also be “not applicable”. Let’s not get in to that.

With no concrete examples though, justifying a developer’s ability becomes guess work. At the end of the review, we might get back a note informing us that we didn’t not provide enough evidence to place a person in a particular band. Nothing more. No suggestions about what was lacking. Flying blind.

My week ended miserably. After weeks of chasing up some pay cases, some candidates were offered too little money to make it worth their while to change jobs. They’d be taking a pay cut to work for us. I have no idea whether or not we can revise the pay case and offer them more money. Finding out is a joyful event for next week.

I slept poorly on Friday evening while my mind wrestled with all of this.

It is no one person’s fault. We’re all busy. I expect every department is understaffed for the process in place.

We have an aggressive hiring target for the year. With a cumbersome process, I think we’ll lose a lot of good candidates to organisations that are more nible at hiring.

I feel battered by the process.