Supercharged for success

Johannesburg, 21 Nov 2019
Read time 4min 10sec
Deborah Watt, talent acquisition lead, BBD
Deborah Watt, talent acquisition lead, BBD

For an organisation that turned 35 this year, one does have to ask the question: What and how is it that there can be so many competitors in the tech space, yet few flourish? Never mind just flourishing, but what is it that organisations are doing to thrive in such a turbulent economy? The secret lies in the people who deliver along with the organisation’s ability to continuously adapt in this ever-advancing industry.

“In our business, where the people who develop and enable our solutions are key to thriving, we have had to take some great strides in the way in which we attract and engage with future employees so that we can continue to deliver as we grow,” says Deborah Watt, BBD’s talent acquisition lead. What BBD has always excelled at is having the frameworks and leaders in place to assess the technical competencies of our newcomers.

Watt explains that their bespoke technical challenges are some of the most stringent benchmark assessments in the industry. “Believe me, if you get the thumbs up on BBD’s aptitude barometer, that is, having the technical skills and computational thinking we require, you are already considered one of a few who make the grade.” But one of the strides BBD is taking is to focus not only on having the ability to pump out effective solutions and strategies to deliver value to its clients, but acknowledging that only being able to code is no longer enough.

It isn’t enough for BBD, it isn’t enough for their clients, but most importantly, it isn’t enough for their employees. Culture fit is crucial to career happiness. If BBD can’t substantially improve people's skillsets, take their careers to new heights, and weave them into the BBD team, then why even start the journey? BBD wouldn’t be what it is without its people.

Watt explains that considering all if this, BBD has adopted new methods to engage with the candidates who apply, and establish early on whether culture, values and skills are aligned. She goes on to say the company has completely revamped its approach when dealing with potential talent in the market and, at every point, is humanising and personalising the candidate experience. BBD is a company full of personality, and the processes now wholesomely reflect that. Authentic potential career engagements extend beyond matching competencies to a job description. It is through conversation and questioning that the company establishes what will truly make a candidate’s tenure at BBD a long and happy one.

BBD has learnt that its best employees display certain characteristics, and in the interview process, the company works hard to uncover if these exist in a potential employee. “We are cognisant that the interview process is a two-way street and give candidates a true reflection of what they can expect once they join BBD, both in the actual role as well as within BBD as an international organisation.” Aligning all these things is, to BBD's experience, the best way for both parties to achieve mutual success.

BBD offers employees the opportunity to gain deep holistic experience in a multitude of different industry sectors. This agility allows you to expand your technical and sector-based knowledge, without ever having to leave the company – gaining exposure to new tech stacks, frameworks, languages and teams. This not only benefits each employee, but also clients and the value this knowledge brings into each unique environment.

Watt explains that BBD's ultimate goal in the talent acquisition process is to ensure it is engaging with the right people, at the right time, in the right place who will join the company for the long haul. It is very rare for a person to be with one organisation for 10 years, but move to a different tech stack in a totally new industry every two years. But at BBD, that’s common practice.

In order to achieve that type of extended long-term relationship, the building blocks must come down to a true match for both parties from the onset. With BBD’s thought leadership and ability to remain humble, the company offers a holistic career journey for top talent, alongside a dedicated continuous learning programme to keep each employee at the top of their game. At the end of the day, this strategy allows BBD to remain perfectly poised to continue for another 35 years of success… at least. 


A provider of custom software development and application design solutions, BBD’s 35 years of technical and developer expertise spans the banking, finance, insurance, telecommunications, education and public sectors. BBD is a global custom software development powerhouse employing over 800 highly skilled, motivated and experienced IT professionals. BBD is an over 50% black-owned and a level 2 B-BBEE partner, with a 125% B-BBEE recognition.

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