Interview with Kirk Walton

Welcome to my interview from “Quality Talks with TLC Speakers” series. This time we have Kirk Walton with us. And I am sure you will enjoy this interview as much as I did. 

What made you choose “How to Create High-Performing Tech Teams in Today`s Market” for your tutorial in TLC? What can participants expect to learn from your tutorial? 

“For the past 7-8 years, the market for top technology talent exploded.  With so many organizations in high-growth mode, it became a candidate’s market with so many opportunities to choose from.

Many organizations have had to shift from a mindset of making sure prospective candidates “checked all the boxes” to becoming much more flexible and creative when it comes to building teams. 

At tapQA, we’ve always been proud of building our teams with incredibly talented individuals that had the hunger, energy, passion and aptitude to become great consultants – even if they didn’t have the experience one might otherwise look for.  This has allowed us to build some awesome teams at tapQA.  I wanted to share some of the ideas we have when looking for “the right fit” for our organization as the more people we can bring into the technology industry, the better the industry will be as a whole.

This talk will also help employers to better position themselves as “a perfect fit” for the right types of candidates to bring into their organization.

Even in today’s unpredictable market, candidates still have a wealth of opportunities – so these same principles apply.”

How different do you think the remote format of tutorials would be compared to in-person format? How do you plan to keep it as effective as it would be otherwise?

” We’ll be doing some hands-on exercises as a group like we would in a live setting.  With Zoom being such a great tool, it makes it easy to collaborate as if we were in-person.  I believe this collaboration will be just like we were all sitting in a room together.  I’ll have download links for attendees to download forms before the sessions begin.”

How is leading tech teams different from leading non-tech teams?

“There’s no “one size fits all” answer for this, but it goes back to a pretty simple concept (that applies to all teams) – know what makes the members of your team tick.  Everyone has particular hot buttons – as a leader, it’s important to know what is important for your team members, and try to do what you can to meet those hot buttons as an organization. 

Members of tech teams often have hot buttons such as learning new skills, staying on top of technical trends, career growth and advancement and taking on new responsibilities.  It’s important for a leader of tech teams to stay current with technology trends that may be of interest to their team members.”

What’s the biggest mistake you see leaders making and what would be your advice to rectify it? 

“Building teams solely based on one’s experience vs really focusing on “the right fit” for the organization. One thing I talk about in my sessions is to focus more on a person’s motivations, aptitude, and passion for learning and growth vs focusing on the experience one has so far.  There are definitely roles that require a significant amount of experience, but in many cases when you say you need someone with “x years of experience” and rule out people that don’t have the number of years you ask for, you’re potentially ruling out people that could make a huge impact on your organization. 

When leaders hire solely based on experience and on a candidate’s resume, they often ignore soft skills and motivations that might make the individual a really poor fit for their specific organization.  We are firm believers that “many hard skills can be taught, but soft skills cannot.”

What’s the most rewarding part about leading people?

“Seeing the impact that “the right fit” has in people’s lives is one of the biggest reasons I do what I do.  We spend so much of our waking hours at work – and when someone finds the right company and right role, it has such a huge impact in all aspects of their life.  Conversely, when someone really enjoys their work, that positive energy has a huge impact on the others around them.  That’s a big factor in helping great organizations grow.  We’ve definitely seen it here at tapQA.  To be a driving factor in that is the thing that gets me excited about my job each and every day.”

Do you want to share anything else with the TMA community?

” With the current state of affairs in our industry, building the right team for you has never been more important!  I love talking about this – please feel free to connect with me as I’d love to help!” 

Thank you Kirk for the interesting conversation. I am looking forward to attending your tutorial. 

Dear readers, if this interview inspires you and makes you curious about the tutorial that Kirk is offering with TLC then don’t miss this chance and sign up for it soon. Below are the details:

About the Interviewees:

Kirk Walton

Kirk Walton is Vice President at tpQA and has 20 years’ experience in the IT Services industry (starting as a Lotus Notes consultant in 1999!) He has over 15 years’ experience in recruiting and has successfully recruited and hired well over 500 IT professionals during that time.

Kirk is incredibly passionate about building teams and helping organizations and individuals find \\”the perfect fit\\” with one another.

He established the recruiting practice at tap|QA, a national consulting firm exclusively focused on QA, Test Automation and DevOps. Kirk has a highly successful track record of building strategies to attract, build and retain high-performing teams.

Kirk LOVES talking about the IT industry and team-building, with a focus on culture, \\”fit\\” and fun!

About the Host:

Astrid Winkler

Astrid is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from Switzerland. Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care. Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4