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Tech-Talent Hub   | 12 min

Hire Programmer/Developer/Coder

Written By Shaivya Gupta

A bad performing employee can hamper the spirits of others in the team and cost exuberantly to the business. A systematic recruitment strategy is what helps you hire the right person, with the right skills.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Why is there a need for better technical recruitment strategy?

One of the most challenging yet important tasks of an organization is recruitment. Everyone eyes the best candidate but hiring them is not easy. Between the high demand of technical candidates and the reduced supply, between the large competition and drop-offs, it can be challenging to not only find an employee but to find the perfect fit. Or maybe there could be a systematic approach to improve our chances of hiring the right person, we might not be investing enough in the thought and hence suffering.

How does this guide help?

 “Do you ever find yourself caught in hours of scanning job boards and LinkedIn with no luck?”

“Do you fear early attrition and changing skills?”

“Do you think you need a robust sourcing process?”

If any of these are your concerns, then this guide is the right place for you. It is a 3-guide journey which tells you everything you need to know. You might be curious to get a defined list of challenges you face, sometimes penning down your thoughts isn’t easy, but we do that for you in our first segment of the guide.

After making you well versed with the various challenges faced by start-ups and companies, don’t think we will keep you hanging, we have the solutions for you. In the next segment, we help you understand what you are looking for, we aid in building a relationship which helps you connect with your coder.

Lastly get a sneak-peek at the creation of a technical recruitment assessment, how should interviews be conducted and a complimentary mention of the Competency Framework.

Target the right sources and get the right candidate with the perfect competencies.

How much of this guide shall I read?

As they say, half knowledge can be injurious to health, so please save yourself the injuries.

If you are serious about hiring the best coder and the thought of another challenge conquered relaxes you then we recommend a thorough read of the guide. Each chapter has its own essence and carries a takeaway, don’t miss it, read closely because if you don’t get it right then a bad hire will cost you exuberantly.

Challenges That Come with Being A Technical Recruiter

Being a technical recruiter in a rapidly growing software company is a challenge. The pool of active job seekers is limited, and top talent can be off the market in as little as 10 days. it is mandatory to stand out as a recruiter.

Introduction

According to Stack Overflow, there are five jobs for every one developer, which means you need to stand out as an employer and as a recruiter. You also need an efficient, streamlined hiring process to ensure your best candidates don’t disengage at a crucial time.

State of Technical Hiring

In a 2017 survey of developers, referrals and passive candidate sourcing emerged as the best routes to finding the right tech talent in this competitive, fast-moving market. If references don’t bring the volume you need, you head to sites like Linkedin, Twitter, Github or Stack Overflow to find your ‘unicorns’.

To make things more of a challenge, tech talent is becoming overwhelmed with pitches from recruiters and have started to remove themselves from these traditional sources to avoid the avalanche of messages. Now, recruiters have turned their attention to creative recruiting initiatives to attract top talent that isn’t listed on a saturated source.

So, how do developers want to be contacted by recruiters? Rating methods of approach from ‘Great’ to ‘Hate’, 65% of global respondents in a survey by StackOverflow said they’d prefer to hear about new job opportunities through a personalized email. Professional networks (Stack Overflow Careers, LinkedIn) rated higher than a phone call, but social networks (Facebook, Twitter) rated lowest of all.

Technical Recruitment in Startups

As a founder and CEO, your role will increasingly turn to two major areas: hiring the right people, and ensuring they stay. We're going to tackle the former area in this e-Paper and discuss a useful framework for hiring engineers.

Without great people, a startup cannot succeed.

Though there are tons of talented developers in India, it is tough for startups to lure the best, hire them and keep them engaged. In a business landscape where large tech companies are honing their advantages recognizing that startups do have the potential to give them a challenge is making it tougher for the new ventures. 

In such times, to create a dent in the market, one thing startups are doing is investing in finding the best tech talent, especially developers, to build their solutions ground up.

Challenges Faced By A Startup in Tech Recruitment

challenges in start ups

Identifying and hiring the right talent is the most critical decision for any startup. Recruiting great talent not only transforms a startup but helps them to reach their goals. Mistakes in hiring results in a startup’s cash burn and also affects the culture of the company. It is highly essential for a startup to have self-motivated people to keep the environment charged and energetic all the time.

Every tech recruiter knows the scenario. You’re looking for that Java developer or senior architect you just can’t seem to pinpoint. Hours have been spent scanning job boards and LinkedIn with no luck. But, while traditional sourcing strategies may be useful for certain positions, they’re becoming tapped out for technical talent.

You are competing with players far bigger in size for the same talent

It’s no secret that the best software developers are in high demand and aren’t on the open market for very long. Conventional wisdom might lead you to think technology companies are driving the war for tech talent. However, this is simply not the case. Along with growing tech companies, recruiter says that long-established organizations are recruiting software developers more aggressively than ever before.

 

Non-existent employer branding

Considering that nearly developers say that salary is one of their most important job evaluation criteria, it would be easy to assume that money can solve any other recruitment challenges. Of course, candidates want to know that they’ll be compensated fairly, but recruiting software developers requires much more than offering higher salaries than everyone else.

 

To stand out from the competition, tech recruiters need to slow down their hiring process and build meaningful relationships with candidates and understand what they look for in new jobs. Because recruiting is such a fast-paced, results-oriented job, learning the finesse it takes to build rapport with software developers is one of the biggest challenges tech recruiters face on a daily basis.

Drop-offs pre-interview and post-selection

Given that potential IT candidates have so many options to consider, it can be difficult for recruiters to get their attention – especially when it comes to passive candidates. Companies are struggling to be seen and heard. Candidates often find themselves choosing between multiple offers, each one as attractive as the next. This job seeker’s market has employees feeling comfortable enough to start looking on the other side of the fence and consider job changes, regardless of the somewhat volatile stock market.

Right now, IT workers are naming their prices and being incredibly choosy about where they go. Companies have to get go beyond competitive salaries and get creative about what they offer. Company culture, benefits, perks, and future growth opportunities all play a role in attracting tech talent today.

Challenges Faced By Large Companies During Tech Recruitment

challenges in large companies

The challenges technical recruiters face in large companies is significantly different from the ones faced by startups. In a sector mired with high attrition and low job stability, technical debt is an area of ever-growing concern, and even if you get the best of coders, retaining them often prove to more of a challenge than you could have imagined. In addition to almost all the challenges faced by entry-level companies when it comes to technical hiring, big companies also need to ensure

Robust Sourcing Process

Having a healthy sourcing process increasingly becomes a challenge as your requirements start expanding. This happens because all the niche job descriptions give way to extensive requirements while retaining the same cost and quality of hire. Thus, sources that would have worked for small-scale recruitment drives become impractical and unfeasible when hiring in large numbers.

Assessments at Scale

As the requirements soar, assessing for the right skill-set in the right candidate becomes essential, and scaling up the assessment and selection process becomes one of the major challenges faced by a technical recruiter. To put things in perspective, it is manageable to conduct Face-to-Face interviews of 30-50 candidates but the same cannot be said about 300-500 candidates, especially when candidates are applying for the job in large numbers.

Early Attrition (after training)

Early attrition can drastically affect an organization's bottom line. A typical rate of voluntary turnover for many companies is around 16.6 percent per year. At the 16.6 percent rate, companies with 2,500 employees lose 415 employees per year and have to spend more than $2 million dollars each year (using the average cost of replacement at a conservative $5,000 per termination) to replace those employees.

The cost dramatically increases when new employees leave after one year. What makes this a significant problem is that the average young employee today doesn't feel as if he or she should stay with a company for the long term unless things are ideal. Therefore, employers must look at what exactly is driving those new employees away, which leads to the new hire experience.

A Strong Candidate Pipeline

A recruiting talent pipeline is also known as a talent/candidate pool or network. It is an inventory of qualified individuals who could quickly move into your future job openings. Talent pipelines are an important part of the technical hiring process, especially for large employers or those with high turnover rates. After all, finding the best candidates to help grow a company is often an ongoing process. While almost every major corporation is investing heavily in building their employer brand, it’s quite rare for one to have a high-performing external recruiting talent pipeline.

A recruiting talent pipeline approach is known by a variety of names, including a “recruiting prospect inventory,” a “recruiting pool,” or a recruiting network. It is designed to give you a continuous supply of high-quality and interested external recruiting prospects to choose from. It is strategic because it has a long-term talent-supply focus, which means that critical jobs can be filled faster and with higher quality and more interested prospects.

Rapidly changing skill-sets

The world of developers is changing very fast, therefore you either keep up or will need to catch up. Keeping up usually means recruiting developers who are agile learners and can process and pick up new concepts, skills, and languages with ease. But assessing that is easier said than done. According to many recruiters, interviews serve as a very flimsy way of assessing the learning agility of a candidate and even then, a proper structure for the interview must be followed.

Conclusion

According to a survey conducted by Dice earlier this year, the unemployment rate for IT workers is only about 3 percent. That’s great news if you’re looking for an IT position, but bad news for the recruiters who have more jobs to fill than people with the skills and experience needed to fill them. Software and Web developers are in unusually high demand. Other employees recruiters are having a particularly difficult time finding include those with big data and analytics experience, those with security knowledge, and those who have worked on legacy systems.

You are vying for the same coder that Amazon, Google, or Facebook is competing to get. What if we tell you that you can get the best out there too?

This is where a recruiting process helps.

Guide to Enhancing Your Sourcing Strategy

Learning more about your sources can help you hire better. Be clear about who you are looking at and know where to find them and make better choices.

Table of Contents

Introduction   2

Understand Who You Are Looking For  3

Build a Comprehensive Job Description   4

Understand What Drives Your Coders to Switch Jobs  4

Where You Should Be Looking to Find Them    6

So, Your Company’s Not the Next Google? You Can Still Attract Top Talent  8

Emphasize the company’s vision   8

Build a better culture   8

Cast a wider net  8

How to Build Your Employer Brand, Online or Offline   8

Conclusion   9

 

Introduction

Being a technical recruiter in a rapidly growing company is a significant challenge. The existing pool of active job seekers is limited, and top talent can be off the market in as little as ten days.

According to Mettl’s State of Talent Acquisition 2018 Survey, technical hiring ranked as one of the leading challenges for recruiters.

Every tech recruiter knows the scenario. You’re looking for that Java developer or senior architect you just can’t seem to pinpoint. Hours have been spent scanning job boards and LinkedIn with no luck. But, while traditional sourcing strategies may be sufficient for certain positions, they’re becoming tapped out for technical talent.

The State of Tech Hiring in 2017 conducted by Headlight labs portrays an exciting perspective on the technical recruitment landscape. According to the results of the survey, sourcing enough applicants is by far the most frequently cited challenge selected hiring managers, while candidates struggle most with getting through the initial resume screen and discovering relevant opportunities.

  • What is the role that I am hiring for?
    • Does it have a list of key responsibilities?
    • Do I have clarity on the position and the requirements?
    • Do I have an idea of how experienced this person is supposed to be?
    • Do I know the existing skill requirements?
  • Do I know where to find this person?
    • If yes, do I know how to approach them?
  • Do I know how to keep the candidates engaged long enough to convert them into employees?

To tackle challenges of such an order, every step you take should be stellar and optimized to the source, attract, assess and hire the best candidates? Sounds like a herculean task? Not so much with the right strategy in place. Read on to find out about how you can make the most of your sourcing efforts. Before you go on to find your next coding ninja, ask yourself the following questions?

Sourcing is like looking at an ocean and hoping to catch the best fish you can find. To be able to do that, you need to understand oceanology, weather and probably a lot of fishes too. Similarly, as recruiters, you need to be clear on who you are looking for, and where to find them.

 

Understand Who You Are Looking For

According to a study by Stack Overflow, there are five jobs for every one developer, which means you need to stand out as a recruiter and as a model employer. You also need an efficient, streamlined hiring process to ensure your best candidates don’t disengage at a crucial time.

The kinds of candidates you’ll find are

  • Passive Candidates – those who are not looking for a job change but can be open to one
  • Active Candidates – those who are actively looking for a job or a job change

With both kinds of candidates, you’ll notice one thing in common – all candidates worth their salt are spoilt for choices. This can also be backed up by the fact that there is an acute shortage of technical hires in respect to the available jobs.

In a 2017 survey of tech recruitment, referrals and passive candidate sourcing emerged as the best routes to finding the right tech talent in this competitive, fast-moving market. If references don’t bring the volume you need, you head to sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, GitHub or Stack Overflow to find your coding ninjas.

 

Build a Comprehensive Job Description

The job description is a critical document for every position. A good job description is much more than a laundry list of tasks and responsibilities. If well written, it gives the reader a sense of the priorities involved. It not only provides a clear picture of the position of potential candidates but is also a useful tool for measuring performance and a vital reference in the event of disputes or disciplinary issues.

So, the more accurate you can make a job description up front, the more useful it will become in the future. A good job description performs several vital functions:

  • It describes the skills and competencies that are needed to achieve the KPIs;
  • It defines where the job fits within the overall company hierarchy;
  • It is used as the basis for the employment contract; and
  • It is a valuable performance management tool.

Good job descriptions include elements like the job title that accurately reflects the nature of the job and the seniority of the position, a description of the duties, a list of skills and competencies that would be ideal to have for the position, and an expected range of compensation for the desired function.

For example, do you want a database developer or a front-end developer? Are you sure you are not confusing a web designer with a web developer?

 

Understand What Drives Your Coders to Switch Jobs

 

Developers who care about what they do and provide the most impact on a company must be curious and excited about solving problems.

What will they learn?

Growth is vital for a candidate. However, it should not be restricted to just a raise in salary. Growth revolves around the opportunities a new job might present them regarding learning new skills and taking up a more challenging role. Candidates usually think from a long-term perspective.

A Change in The environment

No two companies will ever be similar, and especially if they are moving from an MNC to a start-up, there's a massive difference between their work environment. Thus, they need to be flexible enough to adapt to new changes.

How big is the company?

Every company has its advantages and disadvantages. Joining an early-stage start-up can lead to life-changing financial gains. On the other hand, larger companies may have better mentors from whom you could learn a lot. Mid-sized companies offer a bit of both the worlds.

Are You Contributing to Their Future

When it comes to career, long-term planning always triumphs over the short term. If they feel that their current skill set does not have a stable future, they won't stay. In this case, even accepting a lesser salary would be acceptable as long as they get the role they desire.

 

Where You Should Be Looking to Find Them

As our senior manager of Human Resources at Mettl, Mrs. Gargi Rajan puts it, the primary source of candidates for Mettl is either campus recruitment for freshers, or external agencies or Naukri.com for lateral hiring. She goes on to elaborate more about how social recruitment hasn’t taken off for small companies yet, and the number of applications through Linkedin, Facebook, and other social recruitment channels are still comparatively lower than other channels. Interestingly, many other startups are of the same opinion – its difficult to find and hire candidates for technical roles while being a startup.

The situation in the case big, established brands and MNCs is a bit different. A leading German automaker doesn’t use recruitment consultants to find consultants at all. According to the Human Resources department, this is a major cost-saving measure as they find most of their applicants through either referrals, inbound submissions or manual-searches on Naukri. An interesting fact to note here would be that the success rate for there is the highest for Naukri, followed by social recruitment and finally referrals.

Different sources like Facebook, Linkedin, Community Events and Hackathons represent an outbound sourcing strategy. Going offline and meeting people face-to-face at events is a great way to source new candidates. Attend job or industry-specific conferences and events or host your meetups to bring together groups of people you’d like to meet.

Your sources may vary according to your identity. For large companies with a significant amount of hiring requirement every year, the only way to source a large number of candidates would be through online job portals like Naukri, or external hiring agents. For a relatively smaller company, an external hiring agency proves quite expensive even as they are widely used to find the right candidate.

Below is a chart that defines your sources based on how suitable a source is for your company and why.

[Ref: Mettl Research]

There will be less competition to stand out as an employer, and candidates will be more likely to respond to your follow-up messages after they’ve had a conversation with you in person. If other people in your organization attend events, ask them to stay on the lookout for excellent candidates too – sourcing should be a team sport!

LinkedIn: Once you create an attractive profile and company page, you should create a careers page. Through engaging content, updates, and Q&A, recruiters can establish themselves as thought leaders. LinkedIn is excellent for creating a referral chain, getting recommendations/testimonials to humanize your brand, and sourcing talent by networking through new, past, and present contacts.

GitHub: GitHub is an online project-hosting service site where developers share their open- source projects. Once you have a public account up and running, you can get contact info, websites she has chosen to display, number of followers, GitHub contributions, and repositories.

Stack Overflow: Stack Overflow is an online community for programmers to learn, share their knowledge, and advance their careers. Essential details and summary about programmers are accessible; use the right filters to refine your search. For passive candidates, check out the Careers section. Remember to engage in meaningful discussions with people of interest.

Glassdoor: A promising tool for recruiting, Glassdoor exerts substantial social influence on job aspirants. People go on Glassdoor to write or read anonymous reviews about companies and company life. So, this is where you need to build an impressive brand while being honest and transparent. Recruiters can gather valuable metrics from this site.

Meetups and developer events: Meetup.com unites people with shared professional interests. You can find potential candidates without having to go to any events as many of meetup’s groups and attendee lists are public. Once you’ve made your interest list and filtered your candidates, you can send them a personalized email. Developer events can give you an opportunity to network with the most sort-out technical experts. You can make connections and build mutually beneficial relationships with them.

Hackathons: External hackathons are fantastic places to network with exceptional talent and industry experts. You can skillfully build a talent pipeline of hardworking, smart, and passionate programmers by attending the right events.

The following chart will give you a handy set of tips to get started with every channel and an idea of the type of candidates you’ll find through the specified channel.

 

So, Your Company’s Not the Next Google? You Can Still Attract Top Talent

Your company may not carry the stature of Google or the pay structure of Facebook, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still win over incredible developers. You can win them over by emphasizing the areas you can control.

 

Emphasize the company’s vision

Maybe you are working on a support system that may not seem exciting at first. But what if you can express the idea that it’ll help whole villages in third world nations gain access to STEM education? Passionate engineers want to get excited about what they work on, and they want their work to matter. If your vision aligns with their interests, you provide a level of work satisfaction that can dull the allure of larger companies.

 

Build a better culture

Create a team culture that fosters creativity and empowers engineers. Help them feel ownership in the product and feel comfortable speaking up. Let them try new things even if it means a small delay in the short term. They’ll look forward to the work because they can play with the latest technology that they’re reading about.

 

Cast a wider net

Sometimes, you just can’t compete with the wealthier & shinier companies. So, look for talent outside of your locale. Freelance marketplaces like Upwork make it easy to find the skilled professionals you need, anywhere in the world. Perhaps to them, you are the unicorn.

 

How to Build Your Employer Brand, Online or Offline

Employer branding is not about advertising that you’re a good employer. It’s about being one. Companies with strong employer brands recruit good employees faster and retain them in the long-run.

Here are some strategies for building your employer brand, with examples from companies that do it well

Respond to online reviews

This will help portray you as an employee-centric and engaged employer, a must for today’s workplace and employer-branding.

Be authentic on social media

Social media provides you a platform to connect with millions of people, including your potential clients and your employees. Make sure you portray yourself in good light

Spotlight your employees

Spotlighting your employees on a regular basis help them feel appreciated, recognized and keeps them motivated on a regular basis, making it a good employer-branding practice

 

Conclusion

Sourcing is the first and most important step to recruiting your employees as it is the first filter that defines the kind of candidates you are getting. Hence, it is essential to have a robust sourcing strategy in place so that there is no gap between the expectation and the results when it comes to new hires.

But sourcing is definitely not where it ends, as the real struggle starts after. Right after you have a ready pool of candidates, you have the task of selecting the best of them. And remember, if you don’t get this right, a bad hire could cost you at least 30% of the annual salary of the employee.

Ready to learn more about finding the right candidate?

Comprehensive Guide to Technical Recruitment - Selecting the Best Candidates

A comprehensive selection process with a detailed eye on skills, abilities, and knowledge helps you analyze the candidates and select the best possible.

Contents

Introduction. 2

How Does A Modern Selection Process Look Like?. 3

Step 1: Screening Interview.. 3

Step 2: Selection Assessments. 3

Do higher test scores relate to higher success on the job?. 4

Online Assessments (MCQ & Hands-on Simulators). 4

Things to Look for. 4

How is a Technical Assessment Designed?. 4

What are the best practices while designing an assessment?. 5

Step 3: Interviews. 5

Telephonic Interviews. 6

What to Ask During an Interview.. 6

Tell me a little about yourself and a recent project you have been working on. 6

What are your other time commitments?. 7

Do you consider yourself a developer, a product manager, or both?. 7

How would you manage a team of programmers?. 7

Here is what I expect from the person I hire. 7

What is a Competency Framework?. 8

Creating a Competency Framework. 9

Design Principles of a Competency Framework. 9

Conclusion. 9

 

Introduction

Now that you have defined your requirements, narrowed down on the right sources and found candidates who could be potential candidates based on their experience and education, you need to be able to assess the right candidate with the cultural fitment, motivation to work, and alignment with the mission and vision of your company.

You’d necessarily want three questions answered at the end of the selection process

  • Does the candidate satisfy the skill-requirements, also known as job-fitment?
  • Does the candidate align with the team requirements, also known as team fitment?
  • Does the candidate resonate with the company mission and vision, also known as organizational fitment?

While team fitment and organizational fitment can be measured with the help of interviews or psychometric assessment, the job fitment is exclusively dependent on the technical evaluation of the candidate.

Nowadays more than 97% of job seekers search for career opportunities online. Headhunting became popular and 2003 saw the launch of LinkedIn which enabled people to search for candidates on the site. Using social media is now a popular and effective way of recruiting with 73% of companies successfully hiring candidates in this way.

It’s a constantly changing industry but one which has shown itself to be more than capable of moving with the times.

 

How Does A Modern Selection Process Look Like?

After candidates have been sourced, a standard procedure is followed to narrow down on the right candidates. Usually, the process consists of 3 steps

 

 

Step 1: Screening Interview

Before moving further into the selection process, many organizations prefer to do a screening interview of those applicants that appear qualified based on information submitted on their résumé and application.

 

Step 2: Selection Assessments

There are some methods organizations use to determine if an applicant has the potential to be successful on the job. Selection tests are used to identify applicant skills that cannot be defined in an interview process.

Using a variety of testing methods, applicants are rated on aptitude, personality, abilities, honesty, and motivation. Adequately designed selection tests are standardized, reliable and valid in predicting an applicant’s success on the job.

Standardization: The uniformity of procedures and conditions related to administering tests

To equitably compare the performance of several applicants, the processes used for testing those applicants must be as identical as possible. The content of the test, the instructions and the time allowed must be the same for all candidates.

Reliability: The extent to which a selection test provides consistent results

A test’s reliability should be questioned if it does not generate consistent results each time it is used. For example, if a person scores 125 on an intelligence test one week and scores only 80 on the same test the following week, you should assume the testing instrument is not reliable.

Validity: The extent to which a test measures what it claims to measure

 

Do higher test scores relate to higher success on the job?

The skills tested in a selection instrument should be the same skills used on the job. Therefore, we can assume that higher test scores will correlate to higher success in job performance. If a specific test cannot assess the ability to perform the job, it has no usefulness in the selection process.

 

Online Assessments (MCQ & Hands-on Simulators)

It's an old saying that the best way to assess a candidate for any job is to put him into the job for ten days and evaluate his ability to fulfill job responsibilities successfully. However, time and other constraints make this practically impossible to follow.

The argument for simulated assessments are far and many to be outnumbered by allegations that a simulated environment can never wholly mirror the real thing. Sure, it can't, but it's the closest competitor.

Puzzles, group discussions or tricky questions can tell only give you an indicative idea of candidate's analytical and numerical skills, his trainability and power of understanding. But to assess whether this smart person knows coding or not, you would still have to ask him to write code and evaluate it.

 

Things to Look for

Based on how they solve a problem, recruiters should look for -

1) Correctness - does it solve the problem?

2) Readability - can another developer read and understand the algorithm from the code

3) Error Handling - does it handle errors correctly (throwing exceptions on bad input etc.)

4) Efficiency / Performance - does it do things efficiently, e.g. hash table lookups are more efficient than list searches

 

How is a Technical Assessment Designed?

Due to the nature of the assessments, the astringent and process-based approach is followed while designing technical assessments as per the requirements of the job role. The steps followed are

Knowledge creation of Questions following the Blooms Taxonomy

The questions referring to the skillset are created by subject matter experts with experience of over 15 years. The questions are created per Bloom’s taxonomy which includes questions catering to

  • Concept
  • Application
  • Analysis

This ensures that the assessment encompasses the quadfecta of understanding the basic concepts in the specified skill, followed by knowledge and in-depth understanding of the skill. In addition to this, questions are also designed to help you understand the application and analytical abilities of the candidate. 

Creation of Test Blueprint

After the creation of the questions about the skillset, a test blueprint is created in accordance with the requirements of the job description. The test blueprint defines the skills, subskills, framework, and languages that need to be assessed through the assessment.

The blueprint also defines the weight of each section and the combination of easy, medium and difficult questions required to make a test that is a reliable indicator of the candidate’s expertise in the required skillsets.

In addition to this, the blueprint also contains data about the type of questions to be included in the assessment, primarily multiple choice-based questions or simulator-based questions.

Creation of Test

After the creation and approval of the test blueprint, the actual assessment is created by combining various kinds of questions that were created in the first step and in the difficulty pattern that was defined in the test blueprint. This is the final assessment, upon which the benchmarking, reliability and validity exercise is performed to ensure that the test results highlight top scorers = best performers.

 

What are the best practices while designing an assessment?

Best practices refer to a set of suggestions, which if followed can lead to better engagement throughout the assessment, lesser drop-off rate, less confusion during the evaluation, and overall pleasant experience throughout the selection process. 

 

 

Step 3: Interviews

Selection testing will trim your recruitment pool, but you’ll likely need to narrow your list of candidates even further to establish a reasonable number of interviews. The nature of the job and how much time you can afford to allow for the interview process will determine how many applicants you choose to interview.

Three or four may be plenty, but more may be essential for you to to get a good feel for the candidates’ qualifications. It is a two-way street. Both the candidate and you are going to be making some decisions here. Once you have “ideal candidates” in your clutches, you try to decide if they:

  • Are passionate about what they are doing or excited about what they hope to do
  • Can communicate effectively
  • Have a good grasp of their area of expertise
  • Would be someone your team will enjoy working with

There are mostly two kinds of interviews

  • Telephonic Interviews
  • Face-to-Face Interviews

 

Telephonic Interviews

Telephonic interview is preferred when the recruiter decides to eliminate the enormous list of job seekers. This mode helps in reducing the number of prospective job seekers for the face-to-face interview. Further, it also comes handy when the potential candidate is far from the reach of the employers. The advantages are

Convenience

An advantage of using the telephone for interviews is that it is convenient for both the interviewer and the applicant. The applicant doesn't have to travel to meet the interviewer or spend time preparing her physical appearance.

Screening

Telephone interviews can aid the interviewer in the screening process. The interviewer can gain a better understanding of the information listed on the applicant's resume through a phone conversation as well as gauge how well the applicant thinks on his feet.

But there are disadvantages too

No Face-to-Face Interaction

A disadvantage of telephone interviews is that they don't allow for face-to-face interaction. The interviewer cannot observe the candidate's physical appearance and body language, so he may not be able to make an accurate reading of the candidate's poise and professionalism.

Poor Timing

An unplanned telephone interview may catch the candidate unprepared. Even if the interviewer asks if she is catching the candidate at a wrong time, the candidate may feel obligated to go through with the interview, even if the timing is poor.

 

What to Ask During an Interview?

To get you started, here are some excellent questions to ask in the early stages of the programming interview process:

 

Tell me a little about yourself and a recent project you have been working on. 

This question will help you get to know the candidate a little better, and you can hear about some of their recent work in order gauge passion and dedication.

 

What are your other time commitments? 

Depending on the length and complexity of your project, you may only want to hire someone you know will be dedicated to your project. However, many programmers will juggle multiple projects at once, especially if the project is smaller. Just make sure that both you and your programmer are aware of what you need.

 

Do you consider yourself a developer, a product manager, or both? 

The ideal answer here is usually both but assess the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate compared to the team you already have or are planning to create. Product managers are great to help design new features and interfaces, but you also need enough developers who can follow directions and build what is required.

 

How would you manage a team of programmers? 

This question will help you assess leadership skills and style.

 

Here is what I expect from the person I hire. 

Be straightforward with your expectations. Things like expected time commitment, project length, and goals are all important things for candidates to know. They are judging how your company fits them as much as you are deciding how they fit your company.

 

In traditional tech hiring processes, you invite applications, screen manually, interview shortlisted candidates, and finally hire. But this process is not cost-effective, scalable, or very accurate. Some companies like Mettl offer talent assessment software which helps you screen developers effortlessly via customized coding tests that are automatically evaluated. Detailed reports give you a near-perfect picture of what these people can do. 

 

What is a Competency Framework?

You're probably familiar with the phrase ‘what gets measured gets done.' Defining and measuring effectiveness – especially the performance of workers – is a critical part of your job as a manager. Some people think formal education is a reliable measure. Others believe more in on-the-job training and years of experience. Still, others might argue that personal characteristics hold the key to effective work behavior.

A complete way of approaching this is to link individual performance to the goals of the business. To do this, many companies use ‘competencies.' These are the integrated knowledge, skills, judgment, and attributes that people need to perform a job effectively.

By having a defined set of competencies for each role in your business, it shows workers the kind of behaviors the organization values, and which it requires to help achieve its objectives. Not only can your team members work more effectively and achieve their potential, but there are many business benefits to be had from linking personal performance with corporate goals and values.

The competency framework serves as the bedrock for all HR applications. As a result of competency mapping, all the HR processes like talent induction, management development, appraisals, and training yield much better results.

 

Creating a Competency Framework

Creating a competency framework is an effective method to assess, maintain, and monitor the knowledge, skills, and attributes of people in your organization. The framework allows you to measure current competency levels to make sure your staff members have the expertise needed to add value to the business.

Defining which competencies are necessary for success in your organization can help you do the following

  • Ensure that your people demonstrate sufficient expertise.
  • Recruit and select new staff more effectively.
  • Evaluate performance more effectively.
  • Identify skill and competency gaps more efficiently.
  • Provide more customized training and professional development.
  • Plan sufficiently for succession.
  • Make change management processes work more efficiently.

 

Design Principles of a Competency Framework

A competency framework defines the knowledge, skills, and attributes needed for people within an organization. Each individual role will have its own set of competencies needed to perform the job effectively. To develop this framework, you need to have an in-depth understanding of the roles within your business. To do this, you can take a few different approaches:

  • Use a pre-set list of common, standard competencies, and then customize it to the specific needs of your organization.
  • Use outside consultants to develop the framework for you.
  • Create a general organizational framework and use it as the basis for other frameworks as needed.

Developing a competency framework can take considerable effort. To make sure the framework is used as needed, it's important to make it relevant to the people who'll be using it – and so they can take ownership of it.

 

Conclusion

A comprehensive selection process should be based on a thorough review of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the position, as well as organizational and cultural fit. By analyzing your hiring needs in depth, your organization can create selection practices that best fit the requirements of the position.

Additionally, your organization may consider improving its interviewing practices by providing more structure to hiring managers with an interview guide to ensure that they are asking appropriate, targeted, and consistent questions of all applicants and rating them according to objective criteria or by ensuring that managers are trained on interviewing practices.

Get Set

Congratulations on this you make it to the end of our technical recruitment guide. Now that you are well aware of the various challenges faced by start-ups and large companies and what needs to be done to make amends and hire your dream techie, what are you waiting for?

Get set and apply the rules accordingly.

When demand outweighs supply, we have a problem to solve. Being a tech recruiter is no easy job, you have diversity in challenges, that need to be solved to hire the perfect match. Startups and big companies have their own set of vulnerabilities in terms of sourcing, drop-offs and assessment tools.

The technological landscape

The unemployment rate for the IT workers is only 3%, which is fairly low. [1]

Is this good news? Yes surely for the candidates. But what about the recruiters? These little souls have more jobs to fill than the people available with the required skill set. Being a technical recruiter in this dynamic tech world is nothing less than a challenge. The demand for talent outweighs the limited supply, wherein less than 10 days the talent is off sight. For this very reason, the recruiters ought to stand out, be efficient in the hiring process and ensure that the candidate doesn’t disengage at the eleventh hour.

Gone are the days of filtering through piled up resumes, now it’s the candidate’s world? Recruiters are expected to adopt more creative ways to attract the top talent, for instance, personalised emails, social platforms etc.

Now that we have established that it is the candidate’s world and to be more specific the coder’s world in this case, then isn’t it customary to know what the world is.

Inside the coder’s mind

Mentioning coders, let’s find answers to- who are they, are there types or is it just one category?1(1).png

  • The active candidate is the one actively hunting for a job but this does not mean he/she is unemployed.
  • The passive candidate is the one currently employed and not looking for a job but both are open to new opportunities.

As recruiters, just try to do their best in finding the right fit, now as a matter of fact, that right fit may be unemployed, may be employed and looking for opportunities or not looking for anything at all. We won’t get answers until we make a conscious effort to get into the heads and find them.

Different people have different interests and so do our two categories. The challenges which the recruiters ultimately face are nothing but the unfulfilled expectations and desires of these groups.

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  • What will they learn?
    Growth is vital for a candidate. However, it should not be restricted to just a raise in salary. Growth revolves around the opportunities a new job might present them regarding learning new skills and taking up a more challenging role. Candidates usually think from a long-term perspective.
  • How big is the company?
    Every company has its advantages and disadvantages. Joining an early-stage start-up can lead to life-changing financial gains. On the other hand, larger companies may have better mentors from whom you could learn a lot. Mid-sized companies offer a bit of both the worlds.
  • Are You Contributing to Their Future?
    When it comes to career, long-term planning always triumphs over the short term. If they feel that their current skill set does not have a stable future, they won’t stay. In this case, even accepting a lesser salary would be acceptable as long as they get the role they desire.

The 25% of the fully employed workforce make the active seekers who look for a more stability, yearn for more responsibility and of course who wouldn’t want a better package.

The 75% of the workforce account for the passive seekers. They have a strong sense of being needed in the company, they desire to be the sought-after ones. They are more of the quality and personalized types. [2]

inside-head-of-coder@4x-8.png

Dive into the challenges of the tech recruiters

According to Mettl’s State of Talent acquisition survey 2018, technical hiring was one of the leading challenges for recruiters.

You might relate to this when you just spend hours searching for that one Java developer or senior architect you never seem to pinpoint. Start-ups and big companies both have their own share of disturbances and battles to fight. The disputes form the foundation of the hiring process but the elements in the challenges vary accordingly.

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Sourcing

Sourcing is about building a pool of candidates to choose from. It is not only about name generation but an integral part of any organisations recruitment strategy so that the best of active and passive can be found. Companies source via-

  • Social media has acquired an important place in the sourcing strategies. LinkedIn has become all the rage in the recent years. Recruiters “camp-out” on Internshala, LinkedIn hoping to find their perfect match.
  • Sourcing through referrals seems to be an age-old practice but still has its position intact. The employee referral programs where employees are paid a bonus if the person gets hired is a viable technique.
  • Some companies rely on third-party recruiters, they are the ones with the special knowledge and skills and take control of the entire sourcing process.
  • Job postings attract active job seekers but they miss out on the passive ones.

With the trends of globalization, automation and digitalization, this first step of the recruitment process seems to be the biggest challenge that recruiters face. Here is a breakdown of what affects sourcing the most.

Recruitment Methodologies–

The challenge

  • Market research- Before we get on the field to find our match, let’s talk about the groundwork we did. A thorough study of the market i.e. the people we aim to target is a must. This quality of gathering information about the prospects, to analyse their preferences and needs, helps to maintain the competitiveness over the competitors. But given the hectic work management of start-ups, where everything needs to be done quickly, they do not invest much in this.
  • Right tools- Companies as well as start-ups find it difficult to understand the right tool to leverage, should they go for campus hiring or a Careers page will suffice their needs.
  • Consultants & social media presence- The dearth of Special consultants, who can improve the sourcing process is also an obstacle that start-ups need to fight. These consultants are the ones with required knowledge and a complete understanding of which tool would fit where and how. These advisors understand the need for a careers page and how much it is required to have a strong social media presence. With digitalization, the world has shifted online and so shall the recruiters.  But still, there is a gap which persists.

The Solution

Your sources may vary according to your identity. For large companies with a significant amount of hiring requirement every year, the best way to source a large number of candidates would be through online job portals like Naukri, or external hiring agents. For a relatively smaller company, an external hiring agency proves quite expensive even as they are widely used to find the right candidate.

Here is a chart that defines your sources based on how suitable a source is for your company and why.

Asset 61@4x-8.png

Sourcing techies is a team effort, an active presence on specialised websites like Github, Stack overflow, LinkedIn will improve your chances to find the talent pool manifolds.

Hackathons are also great places to engage with tech talent, going to the right events at the right time would not add to too much cost. Hit the bull in the eye by skillfully building the talent pipeline.

Last but not the least a quick recap of what to look at when deciding your share of candidates, whether you want the active ones or the passive, save time and effort by keeping these guides in mind.

sources-of-recruitment-type-of-candidate@4x-8.png


Job Application & Description

The challenge

An effective job description is a cornerstone on which a recruitment strategy is built. A major reason for ineffective hiring can be pointed at old, outdated job descriptions with a very general discussion of tasks. An incomplete description with just responsibilities and roles, not articulating the required attributes is a matter of concern for start-ups. A poor job description can set into action a failure train which leads to a bad hire.

The same old retired job description needs a re-work and if you ask how then here is your answer.

The solution

A well-written description gives the reader a sense of the priorities involved. It is a useful tool for measuring performance and a vital reference in the event of disputes or disciplinary issue.

It is very important to have a simple job application since the applicant is not expected to spend much time with one application. The more accurate you can make a job description, the more useful it is in future.

A good job description performs several vital functions:

  • It describes the skills and competencies that are needed to achieve the KPIs;
  • It defines where the job fits within the overall company hierarchy;
  • It is used as the basis for the employment contract; and
  • It is a valuable performance management tool.

But this is not enough.

“You’ll be protecting the king’s landing”

That’s what a JD read and believe you me when I say that this is what enticed the candidate to apply and then accept the offer.

Make the job description communicative not just a monologue of responsibilities. I do not persuade you to go totally informal but yes I do preach a friendly, relatable tone. For candidates this small paragraph is the only point of contact they have with the company. They try to understand the company culture, the brand using the thread of these alphabets. Make it captivating, communicate with the prospect’s expectations and then wait for the brimming applications.

Assessment tools

SMEs & Time constraint

The challenge

Since long time companies and start-ups have been hiring candidates with tech skills in an unorganized way- lack of proper expertise, time and a well-defined competency framework are the challenges recruiters face.

Time constraint

Let me start by stating the obvious-the more time you invest, the better the candidate hired. The concept of time cannot be differentiated for different roles such as sales, tech, marketing; the funda remains the same, your investment always counts. But here’s the catch- who has so much time? Most of the organizations have a time constraint, fitting in too much in too less time makes them compromise with the processes. Recruiters who have lots to manage and look after, find it difficult to follow a thorough hiring procedure religiously. They tend to jump some steps on the ladder to reach the top and that’s where they go wrong.

Subject matter expertise

When companies wish to recruit tech candidates, they need people who have the authority in the respective field who can take charge of the hiring procedure. Similarly when a company plans on building a capability for a new team, it requires experts who perform the task.

But an unawareness of how to manage recruitment better without subject matter experts leads to huge time wastage. When you don’t have people with the required expertise in the field you aim to target, then how do you hire at all?

The solution

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  • Assessment & simulators- A modern tool demands least time and gives accurate results.
  • Pen & paper- accuracy is not a concern but the time demanded is a lot.
  • Telephonic interview- They take less time but then you will have to compromise with the accuracy.
  • Face to face interviews- here accuracy and time are both risk factors.

This chart clearly indicates that modern assessment tools with a well-structured competency framework, make your investment worthwhile and your approach smarter.

Selection assessments- shall be used to identify the skills that cannot be evaluated in the first step.

  • The content of these tools follows a basic framework-Concept, Knowledge, Application, and Analysis.
  • The online assessments could be MCQs or Hand-on Simulators.
  • These tests measure the aptitude, personality, honesty and abilities. Where a higher score relates to higher job performance.

Selection testing trims down the pool of prospects, now you can conduct the interviews and get the desired match.

Note that these modern tech assessment tools are not just about assessing better but also assists in automating the hiring procedure.

Let us explain this with an example where the company had to hire 10 coders. Following a more organized approach-

  • Gives the pool of candidates a code challenge on an online platform.
  • This platform subsequently evaluates the performance based on the various parameters and narrows down your list of options to the best available.

Finding the right match is still a hurdle in the race. With the integration of modern tech assessments tools from various online platforms such as Codility, HackerRank or Mettl, you can point at the professionals in-demand.

Drop-offs

Pre-interview & Post- selection

Potential IT candidates have so many options to consider, it can be difficult for recruiters to get their attention – especially when it comes to passive candidates. The business leaders struggle to be seen, when candidates find themselves choosing between multiple offers.  IT workers are naming their prices and being choosy about where they go. We see pre-interview drop-offs of 40% and the figure for post interviews is 25%. Hence companies and start-ups have to go beyond competitive salaries and get creative about what they offer. Company culture, growth opportunities, perks and employer branding all play a role in attracting tech talent today.

pre-post-dropoff-comparision@4x-8.pngEmployer branding

The challenge

Technology employees are generally paid high, so it isn’t about money there is something more to it.

The term first time ever coined by Simon Barrow, defines reputation as an employer, it builds an image in the minds of prospects as a great place to work. The employer is the face, the name and the identity of the company and branding the employer plays a critical role in attracting talent. According to Employer brand worldwide survey, 76% of the companies invest in social media in an attempt to build their employer brand. [3]  

Establishing a presence on various social media platforms seems to be a problem for the new start-ups, who have a lot in hand and find juggling things and competing with the already established big companies difficult. It takes time to learn the art of cultivating a rapport with software developers which is now a challenge accepted.

The solution

To stand out, tech recruiters need to slow down their hiring process and build meaningful relationships with candidates and understand what they look for in new jobs. Build your employer brand online and offline.

Here are some strategies for building your employer brand, with examples from companies that do it well.

  • Respond to online reviews and Be authentic on social media
    This will help portray you as an employee-centric employer. Also social media provides you with a platform to connect with your potential clients and your employees. Make sure you portray yourself in good light.
  • Spotlighting your employees
    On a regular basis make it a point to appreciate your techies, recognize their efforts in the various technological challenges and keep them motivated to innovate and create.

Professional growth

The challenge

“Employees perform better when the environment is conducive to growth.”

A simple sentence but it makes a huge motivational difference.

With the changing technological landscape and newer technologies like artificial intelligence ruling the world, it is mandatory for employers to keep skilling the employees with the required knowledge. But the very idea of skilling and the awareness of a need to invest in candidates is missing in start-ups as well as companies. A research shows that one-third of the new hires quit job within 6 months of hiring. Business leaders concerned about just closing the deals forget to spend time on employee engagement tools and this costs them a lot in the future.

The solution

If you think replacing the individual is the solution then get ready to put in 20% of the employee’s salary each time you hire a new candidate. [4]

Employee retention is the way out. To begin with, companies and start-ups should focus on upskilling. The issue is that we view training as a cost, whereas upgrading the skills make business sense. Business leaders should not underestimate the importance of training need identification. For this very purpose keep in mind the 3 Ws – Why, Who and What to train.

Various tools such as assessment & development centres (AC/DC), theory tests and assessment tests give an insight into the candidate’s personality and focus on the areas of development. The work doesn’t end here, a follow-up is the best way to ensure the effectiveness. The idea of  measuring training effectiveness follows the Kirk-Patrick model of reaction, learning, behaviour and results.

Training is concerned with improving performance, be it an individual or a group, thus ultimately improving company performance. Recalibrating the skills of employees along with business objectives via a logical training program will suffice the need.

Reinvent recruiting

Successful recruitment validates your business. Adopt a recruitment process which is time and cost-effective. You need your techie, so go get it. Find your qualified, desired employee by understanding them, then introspecting, finally filtering your process and lastly executing for the hattrick.

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