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4 Sure-shot strategies to ace technical hiring in campuses

Recruitment | 10 Min Read

4 Sure-shot strategies to ace technical hiring in campuses

Introduction to technical hiring

A technical hiring process is defined by devising a structured recruitment plan to identify, screen and hire the best coders for your organization. Tech hiring professionals look for coders that not only meet their job needs but are also a good fit for their organizational culture. A successful technical recruitment campus drive is the key to building a strong tech workforce that would integrate innovation and agility to your company goals.

While scouting the best tech talent from a campus drive, recruiters’ preliminary challenge is attracting the right talent. So, what should they do to optimize their tech hiring efforts to achieve the best results? The answer is to work on an effective hiring plan backed by innovation and advanced technology. ‘Gen Z’ job applicants seek more than a campus tech recruitment drive before committing to an organization.

From shortlisting the top institutes, assessing and selecting skilled candidates, to offering them competitive salary packages and engaging them till onboarding, campus hiring comes with a distinct set of challenges. But companies can easily resolve these challenges by structuring their hiring processes lucidly.

We have devised four tech recruiting strategies that you can apply to successfully develop your campus hiring plan to achieve your hiring goals.


Watch the video below to get an overview of these strategies to ace the technical hiring in campuses.



Building campus intelligence for an efficient technical hiring plan

Initiate the plan with a clear vision of your hiring needs. Understand your organization’s competency requirements and list down the roles or skills for which you would like to hire. A structured plan is the first step toward conducting an efficient tech hiring campus drive.

The next step is to identify the campuses that are the hubs of the best tech talent. Which universities are currently offering relevant majors for the job roles you aim to fill? And which career centers would be willing to work with your company? You can begin with building campus profiles and keeping track of each institution’s ROI (return on investment). Then, build an understanding of which cities are churning out more tech scholars each year. To your surprise, your best hires might actually come from tier-2 or tier-3 cities, where students excel in a niche area.

Once you have shortlisted your target colleges, you can start building your technology recruiting strategy. Building campus intelligence is a year-on-year practice that allows a holistic view of the best institutions, average salaries on offer and key employers.


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Building brand presence for tech recruitment with online hackathons

A simple hack to prepare for your upcoming tech hiring campus drive is to introduce the art of branding into the process. Whether planning a remote tech recruitment drive or a physical campus recruitment event, branding can produce valuable results. You should focus on capturing their interest by doing something different. Students are bombarded with theoretical knowledge every day; you need to offer them an experience of real-world problems and allow them to find solutions.

Make a lasting impact on students with Hackathons. They are the best combination of recruitment marketing and event marketing. By implementing the strategy of hosting a virtual event, your company can attract the best talent from a wide range of backgrounds. Hackathons are a reliable tool for sustained innovation, whether you are a startup or a renowned brand. They are a terrific way of building brand presence and a medium of introducing your company’s goal and vision to the students.

What exactly is a Hackathon, then? A hackathon is an event where developers, software programmers, designers, etc., join hands for a specified period, say, 24-48 hours, to solve any given challenge. The candidates try to ‘hack’ their way through an assigned task. Hackathons, nowadays, can be easily conducted virtually using new-age technologies and platforms. It offers a fun environment where teams of 3 to 5 coders brainstorm to create prototypes and solve critical challenges. This exercise intends to imbibe problem-solving skills in the candidates.

How do you ace tech recruitment with hackathons? Here are a few impactful examples:


Spotify Diversify (Onsite Hackathon)

Spotify, a globally renowned name, attracted coders/ programmers from across the globe by hosting a technology recruiting hackathon named “Diversify.” The brand stood out by promoting a change by aiming to bring in an equal number of male and female participants. The tech recruitment drive was backed by a cause of bringing diversity in a usually male-dominated sector. The major aspect of the event was coding a product. But workshops and lectures were also a part of the event to step away from the traditional hackathons. The company achieved a 43% female to a 57% male participant ratio, unseen before at tech events.


Amazon Career Day 2020 (Virtual Hackathon)

After in-person events were canceled throughout the US, Amazon hosted a virtual Career Day to exhibit its 33,000 open job positions across the country. But it did not stop at a couple of webinars.

  • 1,000 Amazon recruiters held 20,000 one-on-one career coaching sessions virtually.
  • The online event also offered career workshops, making it more than just about Amazon’s job positions.
  • Candidates interacted directly with Amazon employees, from delivery drivers to AWS specialists.

Another benefit of conducting a virtual recruiting event: Amazon now offers all the content from the event in an on-demand format, letting future candidates take advantage of the resources generated in 2021.


10 Key benefits of hosting an innovative virtual hackathon for technical hiring:


Hackathons single out the best talent and identify creative thinkers and problem-solvers.

Hackathons are brilliant platforms to promote learning and let students break away from closeted thinking.

Participants can find creative solutions to your business problems, helping you to solve your current challenges.

Hackathons are instrumental in producing useful and creative ideas in the shortest possible time.

Hackathons also are a means to test the team-working skills of individuals.

Assigning real-world coding problems to students enables gaining insights into their overall coding aptitude.

An annual hackathon challenge series will elevate your brand awareness.

Online hackathons reduce workforce efforts, require fewer hours to plan, and involve lesser coordination.

You can be different and promote event diversity to attract non-traditional tech candidates.

Creative competitions like hackathons become more important when hiring for critical roles requiring high cognitive ability.


To know more about Hackathons: Read our blog “What The Hack Are Hackathons.


Screening the right tech talent for tech hiring

Tech screening is an important process of simultaneously evaluating and testing many tech students’ skills against a list of pre-decided parameters. Using a combination of application and knowledge-based techniques, such as simulators and MCQs, a hiring manager easily filters out quality tech talent much before the interview process begins. It is the filtration between receiving an application and hiring a candidate.

Technical screening determines each candidate’s fundamental and advanced skills, ensuring that the employers do not have to manage long hours of interviews with applicants who are neither qualified nor suited for a particular position. The process helps HR professionals understand a programmer’s ability to comprehend and learn. This mechanism not only offers insights into the extent of knowledge that candidates can apply and analyze, but a fundamental understanding of their technical abilities gives the company a much-needed competitive advantage.

Additionally, evidence-based analytics of candidate potential and performance prevent hiring managers from selecting based on bias. As a result, the organization is left with only the best candidate pool for the interview process, accelerating the hiring process.

You can use an effective three-step screening process to filter the right candidates, which is mentioned below:

Assess domain knowledge with MCQ-based exams:

Make a list of tech questions in an MCQ format, which should not be merely go-to questions. The key to framing these technical questions should be covering a topic or skill extensively. The focus must be on deducing essential knowledge, concepts, applications, learning, analyses for various technologies besides the job role. It should also question an applicant’s higher and future level of thinking. MCQs are the most useful types of questions to measure the candidates’ technical understanding holistically. They offer a precise evaluation over a large scope of the content. You can eliminate unsuitable candidates who do not have the necessary core skills or aptitude, amongst others, based on the results. Students who meet your essential coding criteria can proceed to the next round- where you can assess their real-life coding skills.

Evaluate applied skills in a real-life environment:

Coding simulators offer insights into the candidates’ genuine ability as they pose real-world coding challenges. Candidates are either asked to work on test cases, create code from scratch, fix a bug, or build an algorithm. While writing the code, hiring managers note their problem-solving skills, how suitably they perform the desired tasks, their coding proficiency in general programming languages, and much more. Once the candidates complete coding, they are auto-graded in real-time, based on varied parameters: efficiency, correctness, code quality and scalability. This auto-grading provides direct and in-depth insight into their coding aptitude and on-job potential. Further, filter the candidates for a pair programming interview based on detailed automated reports that thoroughly evaluate their technical ability. Such interviews allow you to make an evidence-based decision and improve your hiring quality.

Conduct online pair programming interviews:

Once you have sieved through the candidate pool and gauged specific insights using technical screening, empower your technical hiring using real-time pair coding interviews. HR professionals can use a purpose-built, all-in-one and unique online coding interview platform that lets recruiters build various pair coding interview questions and scenarios without having to go back and forth between different platforms. This efficient interview approach provides the interviewer with an accurate understanding of a candidate’s thoughts, collaboration, utilization of various languages, frameworks, libraries, or APIs when writing code in a live development environment. It highlights multiple facets of a technical candidate that is otherwise missed. It is as effortless as a physical interview.


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Building the right work environment after tech recruitment

Post-hire engagement is one of the most important aspects of the technical recruitment process. Once you have identified the best fit for your company, offering a handsome salary package ensures that the candidate feels valued. Besides, offering the right work environment is equally important. The candidate should relate to the company’s goals and vision while also feeling a part of the workplace and its culture. This measure becomes even more necessary in the current remote working scenario. HR professionals could start with virtual team meets to build post-hire engagement. Encouraging fortnightly engagement activities is another way of welcoming new hires into the team.

For Gen Z, flexible working hours is a highly vaunted criterion. A candidate’s productivity may not align with the company’s work schedule. Therefore, understanding their work preference is also important to make the most of their potential.


How Mercer Mettl can help

Mercer | Mettl provides an end-to-end online hackathon platform to host world-class hackathons successfully and effortlessly, to help you build an effective technical recruitment process.

Here’s how Mercer | Mettl can help you organize a tech hiring hackathon:

  • Aside from an impressive webpage, create an interesting event for your hackathon by logging onto Mettl’s hackathon platform and entering all our event’s relevant details. Then, define the stages by providing all the mandatory information regarding participation, prizes, challenge rules, and guidelines on a single dashboard.
  • Mercer | Mettl’s hackathon toolkit offers marketing support and community reach out, social media and email campaigns assistance to increase engagement and drive more registrations. Market your hackathon using our dedicated marketing SPOC.
  • Let the event commence. Allow students to create teams easily, collaborate, strategize and manage submissions on a single platform. You can easily inform teams about the progress with automated approvals and rejections after the completion of rounds. Let teams track their live updates and their score through a dynamic leadership board.
  • After completing the contest, it is time for the judges to log in, grade the submissions, or evaluate the automated results. You can then announce and reward the winners and deep dive into post-event analytics to derive the ROI.


Technology is pushing every business function to adopt innovative and cost-effective methods to streamline and accelerate their tech recruiting processes. It is the right time to choose the virtual campus recruitment process and transform your organization’s campus hiring processes. And move toward the future of tech recruitment in a structured manner.

Strategize step-by-step and choose the best online hackathon platform that meets your cost, complexity and scale requirements. An efficient hackathon platform could be your tech recruitment drive’s USP. The right online hackathon platform helps scale the tech recruitment process and streamline the plan while ensuring the smoothness of tasks, scalability, cross-functional collaboration, efficient idea management, constancy and ease of access. Besides, implementing innovative virtual campus recruitment strategies frees you to use your creativity and find new ways to engage and assess students.


Originally published July 2 2020, Updated October 26 2021

Written by

With an honours degree in English Literature, Arshmeet has been contributing in field of content for more than six years. From working in NDTV Ethnic, Ideal Home & Garden Magazine to MakeMyTrip India, Arshmeet had the opportunity to write for varied industries. She enjoys writing interactive yet unambiguous content that is relatable and informative.

About This Topic

Hiring a coder requires HRs to go beyond conventional hiring practices and assess the candidate on both knowledge and hands-on skills. A holistic suite of assessments and simulators, used in conjunction, can simplify the technical hiring process and better evaluate programmers and developers.

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