Red Flags When Hiring in the DevOps Space

A good DevOps team can be crucial to the success of your company’s engineering goals and aspirations. Hiring top talent will naturally give you a competitive edge over other companies. Whilst making hires swiftly can save a lot of time and money, according to Agency Central making wrong hires that aren’t likely to last very long could lose your business £132k for a typical mid-management role of £42k per year.

Therefore, it’s crucial that you can spot the red flags that might result in you making a poor hire, especially in the DevOps space, where engineers provide an enormous amount of value. It is hard to assess a candidate’s personality and workability just from the recruitment process, so here are some key red flags to look out for to ensure no hiring mistakes are made. 

Basic Knowledge

Every candidate should be aware of the basic methodologies involved in DevOps; do they understand the concept of continuous integration and continuous delivery? Not knowing this is the first red flag as these are fundamental to the role. The first thing to look out for is that the candidate you’re interviewing has done their research and knows what it is your company does. If they are unable to demonstrate knowledge about your business and take an active interest in your industry, they might not be an ideal fit. It also displays a lack of effort on their part, perhaps indicating either a lack of interest in the role or worse, a poor work ethic. This could result in poor staff longevity within your business. It is important to discover why the candidate is inclined toward your organisation, you can make the job responsibilities and tasks clear to gauge their levels of interest. Furthermore, look to ask candidates why it is they are specifically interested in working for your organisation and what they know about your industry. 

Task Performance Examples

Giving task performance examples relating to the role is a great theoretical way to assess how a candidate would behave in the job. Using testing code assignments during the screening process will be crucial in judging their potential. If their coding style is poor or inconsistent or they don’t follow the rules of formatting and programming correctly, they could cause errors in coding during the role and other team members will struggle to understand their style of coding. 

The role of a tech person is to nail the art of problem-solving and challenge themselves to improve each time. Introducing problem-solving examples in the interview will reflect their personality, whether they are more interested in saving time, increasing efficiency, or searching for flaws in the system? Is this what you require for your role? As your employees should be an asset to the business if they tend to give up without a solution to the problem, will they really be able to contribute to the success and growth of your company? 

Work History

Look at their previous work behaviour and do some digging. It is normal for DevOps Engineers to have worked with multiple companies in the last few years, they are in high demand! However, it is possible that someone who has consistently switched roles every year might be more likely to get bored easily and struggle to stick around for any prolonged period. An inconsistent career path is something to consider when screening. This could indicate indecisiveness and impulsivity as a character flaw, as well as posing a risk of losing interest in the role when hired. It may also indicate that the experience they have in the role is limited. Find out why they left all their previous roles. Usually, it is not a concern but if the candidate begins to talk about disagreements with their supervisor/manager, this could be a behaviour that will carry to their next role. Talking negatively about their previous employer or colleagues also shows a lack of respect and that they may be difficult to work with. If they’ve got long gaps between employment, you may also want to enquire as to why this is. Long gaps between employment could indicate poor performance, however, people could also have genuine reasons for gaps in their CV, so it is important to ask. 


If candidates start laying out demands in the interview such as ‘I require X amount of holiday leave’ or ‘I can work x number of hours’, this shows that they could be high maintenance. A candidate should be flexible, and willing to work with you around practicalities. A lack of factual evidence in their explanations will imply they may be hiding something or exaggerating the truth. You want a candidate to appear credible to clients, but they won’t if they don’t seem credible to you.

It can be suspicious when candidates include too many buzzwords in their CV. It usually means they are trying to satisfy an applicant tracking system’s keyword filters. If they are working to get past the automated gatekeeper in a profession with as high a demand as DevOps, that is a red flag. Also claiming to be skilled in too many programming languages is something to flag up. Normally software developers work in 2 or 3 programming languages, so listing 7 or more implies that they aren’t especially skilled in any of them.

These are some of the many red flags you should be looking out for when hiring in the DevOps space. It is important to notice these, as it could save you a lot of time and money in the long term. Equally, make sure to be pragmatic, hiring DevOps talent is incredibly competitive, and so if you spend too much time looking for the ‘perfect’ candidate, you may end up hiring nobody. 

If you want to ensure you’re hiring top DevOps Engineers, contact our specialist team of consultants who will get you the best talent around – visit our new website to find out more about how we work