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Jo Brown
May 18, 2016

The interesting thing about globalization is that it has enabled anyone, in any part of the world, to learn the same skills, meaning that there is now an abundance of digital skills available at widely differing rates. Of course there are benefits to this, but it has also led to services and knowledge having become completely productised.

The huge explosion in cost effective digital skills and services in Asian countries over the past 15 years or so has meant that international companies have had access to a huge pool of English-speaking coders, with a lot of these businesses even setting up divisions in those countries in order to benefit from this cost saving potential. Since then this pool has grown even larger, with many developing nations taking advantage of this same model in order to create trade within their country. So companies now have an enormous plethora of international tech talent to pick and choose from, whether they’re after individuals who are willing to travel to the country of requirement or allow them to simply work off-shore.

However great this may sound, in all the years we have been working in the digital recruitment industry we have found that skills, whether sourced locally or internationally, do not necessarily mean a good fit.


The obvious issue can come down to how well the individual speaks the client’s language. How often have you said something that has been misinterpreted? That risk is bad enough when both parties are speaking the same native language and/or dialect, but this risk obviously becomes much higher when engaging with someone when they don’t. The smallest of innocent misunderstandings can sometimes lead to days, if not weeks, of wasted work or project delays.


Coding is just that, coding. Skill sets are more or less the same. They don’t say anything about the person behind them. Whether they are hardworking, diligent, efficient, a happy person…or lazy, complacent, unenthusiastic, etc. People may have the absolute skills to match a particular job and yet don’t fit in, get ostracized and then become less productive. Or worse, they leave things undone or poorly finished, add short cuts or at the very worst, maybe even offer a back door into the system.

Management & leadership:

Just because someone is good at a job doesn’t mean that they are a great team leader or manager. These skills don’t come from a certificate or degree, they come from experience and a certain type of person. Equally, even for those aren’t employed specifically to fill a managerial position, a good level of self-sufficiency is often paramount. After all, the amount of unnecessary management time you may have to dedicate in order to support them properly can again have a negative impact on the overall cost of delivery.

So are skill sets important?

Well of course they are. If someone can’t do the job they are employed to do then there’s a big problem. But when employing someone and bringing them into a new environment all too often it’s their ‘soft’ skills that are overlooked, even though these can be as critical to a project’s success as the basic skill set they were initially hired to fulfil.

This is why at Difrent we invest a lot of time and effort in ensuring that we provide clients with a rounded understanding of potential candidates before any final selections or interviews take place. We complete psychometric-, management- AND skills testing to ensure they can fit in seamlessly with their new team as well as the business as a whole. We also advise candidates on how to up skill and progress their careers by providing access to partner-based management, leadership and skill testing platforms at a lower rate than they would typically be able to access them.

To us, a skill set represents just a small part of the digital recruitment process. Ultimately it’s the people behind the technology that really get things done and we believe this is the key reason why our clients want to work with us time and again and trust us to help them with crucial business growth-transformation implementations.