You Can’t Always Get the Developers You Want…but with Flexibility You Can Get the Ones You Need..

Another week passes, and you’re still no closer to filling the position.

Unlike most job openings that you’ve recruited for, this one has been particularly challenging. Your development team has tasked you with the near-impossible mission of recruiting a Ruby on Rails expert who is also willing to relocate to your corporate office. Ruby on Rails engineers are hard enough to come by, but someone who is willing to pack up and move?

That’s doubly complicated.

You’ve spent countless hours personally inviting hundreds of seemingly qualified developers. You’ve cross-promoted the position in every job board imaginable. You’ve even tried LinkedIn ads, but the response rate has been almost nonexistent.

To add to the stress, your hiring manager and the development team continue to press for results. You’ve tried asking for some leniency regarding relocation, but that hasn’t gone over very well. Simply put, you’re stuck in the middle of a difficult situation.

Then, genius strikes.

What if you could extend the opportunity to engineers with similar skill sets? Would a top-tier Python expert be a suitable option for your development team? After all, you’ve always heard there are commonalities between the Python language and Ruby on Rails framework. Could this be a viable solution to your problem?

You might be onto something. Let’s unpack this idea.

Preparing Your Pitch

Before you run down the hall to your hiring manager’s office, let’s take a step back and examine your idea a bit further. It’s no doubt an interesting idea, but, without the right data to support you, there’s a low probability that anyone will listen.

Here are a few suggestions to help you make a compelling case.

Do Your Homework: You’re probably not the first technical recruiter who has struggled with this exact same scenario. In today’s world of countless Saas tools, smartphone apps, and machine learning, there could be dozens of articles that explore the feasibility of placing hard to find developers. As with most things these days, doing a little online research could be the right place to start.

Assess the Opportunity: Your gut tells you there are more Python experts to choose from than Ruby on Rails developers. Based purely on LinkedIn developer group membership data (132K vs. 69K), you may be correct. What other data points could you use to support your theory?  

Talk to Colleagues that You Trust: Does your company already have a few Ruby on Rails developers on the payroll? If so, do you have a good enough relationship with any of them to pick their brains about your idea? What challenges do they foresee?

Analyze the Opportunity Costs: Even if your idea has merit, the first objection you’re likely to hear will involve the time and cost of training. Hiring an engineer with adjacent skill sets will yield additional onboarding considerations. You’ll need to weigh this reality against the opportunity cost of prolonged vacancy. Would your developers rather have someone now who might require training, or would they prefer to wait six more months for the “perfect match”?

Getting What You Need – Skills not Resume

To your surprise, everyone (including the development team) loved your idea of expanding the candidate pool to include Python engineers. In fact, your hiring manager recommended going one step further. She shared a blog post about skills-based recruiting, and suggested this situation might be the perfect use case to put more emphasis on a candidate’s skillset rather than sourcing them through traditional means such as LinkedIn or job boards.

Your flexibility in this situation proved to be a smart decision. Not only did it bail you out of a tough spot, it actually led you to discover a more scalable method of technical recruiting.

Check out CodeSignal Recruiter or attend a webinar to learn more.

How to Free Up More Time When Recruiting Developers

How to Free Up More Time When Recruiting Developers

You look up from your desk, and it’s already 6:38 pm.

Another busy day has drawn to a close, but what do you have to show for it? Despite reaching out to dozens of seemingly qualified engineers, only a handful have expressed marginal interest in your Full Stack developer position. As you know all too well, these days hiring programmers is not for the faint of heart. If you want to find the right technical talent, you’ll just need to try even harder tomorrow — right?

Here’s the obvious problem: You’re already working as hard as you possibly can. There’s only so many outreach emails and LinkedIn messages you can send per day. Recruiting takes time, and time is constant.

Although you can’t slow down time, there are certain strategies you can take to identify talent more efficiently. Let’s explore how.

Traditional Sourcing Consumes Way Too Much Time

What is it about your current recruiting model that demands so much of your time? There are of course many variables to consider, but the following issues can be particularly time consuming:

Low, Low Response Rates: The reality is that most software engineers are already happily employed. Sure, they’d be willing to talk if the money and situation were right. Unfortunately, you don’t have the authority to openly discuss compensation, much less promise to double what they’re currently making. Instead, you’re tasked with making a somewhat generic job posting sound compelling — without revealing too much information. For all of these reasons, low response rates are commonplace in tech recruiting.

Copy, Paste, Repeat: With such a low response rate, you have no choice but to reach out to as many candidates as possible. Your ATS system makes this a little easier, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of recruits do not reside within your ATS, which means you’ll have to engage them one by one (usually by sending LinkedIn messages). You’ve got this down to a science, but it still takes several minutes to review each candidate’s profile, create a new message, copy and paste from your template, personalize the greeting, hit send, and update your ATS. If you did this all day, you might be lucky to connect with 50 or 100 applicants.

Developers Work Weird Hours: In today’s world of virtual companies and remote teams, it’s not uncommon for developers to work late into the night. Unless you happen to be working beyond the normal 8-to-5 schedule, connecting with a developer in real time can be challenging.

Coordinating Interviews is a Chore: Even when you’re successful in connecting with an interested engineer, you then have the chore of managing the interview process. Coordinating internal calendars, preparing slates of questions, organizing conference calls, and administering assessments are just a few of the steps you’ll go through. The back-and-forth necessary for even a single applicant can consume several hours of your time — time you’d otherwise be dedicating to inviting more candidates.

Leveraging the Efficiency of Skills-Based Recruiting

To help recruiters like you free up more hours in the day, our team at CodeSignal is shaking up the staffing industry through the power of skills-based recruiting. Unlike traditional recruiting that targets passive candidates through tremendous manual effort, the CodeSignal Recruiter platform starts with a network of pre-qualified developers who are actively exploring new opportunities. Our proprietary sourcing algorithm serves up a sorted list of matched talent, based on skills alignment with your needs. Our talent managers verify the skills-based matching and ensure that candidates are right for your company.  For example, if you’re company is a startup and the candidate wants to work for an enterprise company, then that particular candidate would not be a match for your company even though they may have the skill set and experience that your role requires.

CodeSignal also simplifies your interviewing process. Our interface is custom-tailored for hiring programmers, delivering a one-stop solution for hosting and recording interviews, posing coding questions or tasks (in 40 different programming languages), comparing candidates on a level playing field, and saving all the data so you can make more informed hiring decisions.

In short, by starting with a pool of pre-qualified, available candidates in a coding-friendly ecosystem, technical recruiters can expect much better results (as compared to passive recruiting models). In fact, our customers report 5 times greater response rates and, in many cases, onsite-to-offer rates are twice that of traditional recruiting models.

Give Yourself a Much-Needed Break

There are only so many hours in the workday. Unless you want to work more hours, it might be time to give skills-based recruiting a try. Click here to learn more about supplementing your current recruiting with a skills-based option. Or, to see a product demo register for a webinar.

Diamonds not Dirt

Diamonds not Dirt

Your product team just informed you that they need to hire five Full Stack developers – all by month’s end.

As the request sinks in, you begin to think through the monumental effort that will be required to pull this off. Hiring a single Full Stack developer is hard enough. But five all at once? Seriously?

Most recruiters in your shoes would commence the arduous process of posting ads and combing countless Linkedin developer groups and profiles. Part of you is tempted to do exactly that, but past experience tells you that there’s got to be a more efficient way to recruit talent.

So, what should you do?

Let’s weigh your options.

Does Quantity Ensure Quality? Probably Not.

You’ve probably heard it said at least a dozen times: “Recruiting is a numbers game.” And, if you’re relying on the traditional recruiting model, there’s probably some truth to that statement. After all, if you reach out to 100 developers on LinkedIn.com, you might receive a reply from two or three. Out of those who reply, only a handful will be interested in a career move. In other words, to build a viable pool of candidates, you’ll need to engage with hundreds of people.

This approach to developer recruitment presents a number of issues. Specifically:

Upfront Bottlenecks: Recruiting developers isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. For starters, there are literally hundreds of programming languages, each of which has its own nuances and complexities. Before your recruiting team can effectively promote any job opportunity, you must become somewhat conversant with the subject matter. This may involve several conversations with in-house experts and existing development staff, who can be notoriously difficult to track down. All of this must happen before any job postings or outreach campaigns can go live.

Cost of Outreach: Once the details have been ironed out internally, your focus typically shifts to an aggressive outreach program. If there’s a budget for it, this may include the use of LinkedIn Jobs ads. With budgets as tight as they are, your team is usually forced to rely on manual tactics. However, filtering candidates, copying, pasting, and sending outreach messages, and updating an ATS (or spreadsheet) comes with a tangible cost. There’s also an opportunity cost worth considering. In a perfect world, your team would be engaging candidates – not spamming them.

Friction with Qualified Engineers: Speaking of spam, let’s be honest: Quality candidates are tired of being spammed by recruiters. As a result, your well-crafted message is probably never even being read, much less responded to. Hence the low response rates.

Few Diamonds, Lots of Dirt: Perhaps the biggest flaw of a “quantity over quality” approach is that it presupposes more dirt than diamonds. Going into it, you know that you’ll need to reach out to hundreds of developers just to get a few responses. Instead of yielding a bucket of dirt to sift through later, wouldn’t a better process deliver a shovelful of 1-carat gemstones? Yes, yes it would.

Focusing on Quality, Not Quantity

It’s clear that quantity does not guarantee quality recruits. But, what other option do you realistically have?

Due to the inefficiencies and challenges of manual, resume-based recruitment, an increasing number of technical recruiters are turning to skills-based recruiting. What is skills-based recruiting? In short, skills-based recruiting prioritizes the engineer’s skills over his/her resume, or LinkedIn profile. As you know all too well, resume-based recruiting is driven by “quantity over quality” because you can’t measure the skills on a resume. So, as a recruiter, you need to have a high number of candidates at the top of the recruiting funnel just to get a few interviews. By contrast, skills-based recruiting moves testing and assessment to the top of the recruiting funnel, providing an accurate measurement of the candidate’s skill level before you even reach out. It’s certainly an outside-the-box style of recruiting, but it’s one that is gaining popularity because of the results that it delivers.

 

Our CodeSignal Recruiter platform is the perfect example of skills-based recruiting in action. We start with more than a million pre-screened software developers. Many of them are actively looking for new positions, and we use our matching algorithm (along with a human touch) to match these engineers to open roles. This means you’re able to source higher caliber talent in a shorter time.

Not surprisingly, companies that have moved to a skills-based recruitment model are experiencing better response rates. Thanks to our proven matching technology, the response rate from candidates is 5 times greater than traditional recruiting channels used to target passive candidates. When the initial response rate is from candidates is higher, all your funnel metrics improve.

Replace Quality for Quantity

Many companies still fall into the trap of making recruitment into a numbers game — just because that’s the recruiting model they’ve used for years — but it doesn’t have to be that way. As you prepare to hire your programmers, give skills-based recruiting a try.

If you’re still feeling skeptical, here’s some additional good news: You don’t have to replace your traditional resume-based recruiting efforts on day one. Try augmenting your traditional process with skills-based recruiting and compare the results.  Check out CodeSignal Recruiter.

Why Experience Diversity Matters in Tech

Why Experience Diversity Matters in Tech

Diversity, as a concept in technical recruiting and hiring, covers a lot of ground. It can include race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and religion. Diversity can also include different thinking, working, and communication styles. But there’s one specific form of diversity doesn’t get a lot of press, but is extremely important for companies that want to build innovative engineering teams: experience diversity.

Experience diversity basically refers to having a variety of different life experiences and backgrounds. These experiences will naturally lead to different viewpoints and problem-solving styles. From the perspective of an engineering team, two important factors in experience diversity are a candidate’s schooling and their work history. When hiring engineers, a candidate who comes from an educational background that’s not the expected path for an engineer (a computer science degree, preferably from a “good” school) is bringing experience diversity to the table. And someone who comes from a different industry, or perhaps even from different starting career, also has experience diversity to offer to an engineering team.

Of course, people have other life experiences that impact how they work and interact with a team. These can include their cultural backgrounds and their geographic backgrounds. (Since different regions have different work expectations and norms, a developer who’s only worked in Silicon Valley will work differently than a developer who’s only worked in Dallas’s Silicon Prairie.) Essentially, when you are considering experience diversity, think about the ways a person’s lived experiences, both personal and professional, will inform their unique perspectives, strengths, and problem-solving tactics.

What happens without experience diversity?

Have you ever used a product and thought to yourself, Why didn’t they think about this very obvious issue? Often it’s because the people working on it didn’t even consider that use case! Homogenous teams tend to have fairly limited perspectives. People don’t know what they don’t know. And engineering teams can’t solve for problems they don’t know exist. So if a team is composed primarily of people who have similar experiences and backgrounds, there are problems and use cases that they simply won’t think of.

People with similar backgrounds are often like-minded because they have similar experiences to draw from. Consider the echo-chamber effect, where voices amplify voices that are similar to their own. Affirmation from like-minded colleagues creates a feedback loop that can squelch innovative, outside-the-box thinking.

Why experience diversity matters

Diversity is an asset to companies, and the whole engineering team benefits when it’s composed of diverse members. Psychological research indicates that members of diverse teams are more likely to question their own biases and look at problems from different viewpoints. Diverse teams are better able to think about issues from different perspectives, and work accordingly. Teams comprised of people from a broad range of life experiences are more innovative and adaptable. Since they pull from a variety of viewpoints, the teams can more rapidly assess and adapt to new challenges. Additionally, studies show that diverse companies are both more successful and more profitable than competitor companies that lack diversity.

Say your engineering team is composed solely of people who graduated with computer science degrees from large schools. They will necessarily think about problems and create solutions from that perspective. But if you hire engineers who came from different industries before becoming engineers, you’ve automatically injected new points of view into your process. Different experiences breed new perspectives! People who aren’t industry insiders bring fresh solutions to problems.

Get a broad range of perspectives beyond your company’s tech stack, your vertical, and beyond even the tech industry itself. Your company will give itself a serious competitive edge! In an industry that’s constantly changing and growing, experience diversity is extremely important.

Actionable steps

So how do you increase experience diversity in your own company?

Remove arbitrary barriers

Remove language in job descriptions (if you’re using them) that set up arbitrary barriers for interested applicants. Stating that the role requires a computer science degree or a certain number of years of industry experience are usually meant to indicate that a role requires a certain skill level. But a degree and years of experience are imperfect proxies for skills. And they often cause qualified candidates to self-select themselves out of the process! Remove limiting language like this. Instead, focus on the skills necessary to do the job successfully.

Use skills-based recruiting techniques

Skills-based recruiting, also known as skills-based hiring, uses machine learning to take inefficiency and human error out of the tech recruiting process. It helps you ensure a candidate meets or exceeds all the technical specifications for a specific position before you even talk to them. A tool like CodeSignal Recruiter Test helps you assess skills using an unbiased, automatic platform that circumvents people’s natural unconscious biases. When you hire based on skills, not on background and credentials, your experience diversity – and your overall diversity – will increase.

Widen your net

Recruit and hire people who come from outside of the tech industry. And be open to hiring people who might be in tech already, but come from different verticals or specialties. If the skills and the interest are there, they’ll learn about the particulars of your stack and vertical market, and they’ll bring exciting new perspectives. So instead of automatically rejecting a candidate because they don’t have a computer science degree or any relevant industry work, consider how their unique work experiences might enhance your team. Then send them a coding assessment and see how they do!

Be intentional

Having an engineering team full of people from diverse backgrounds doesn’t just happen by accident. When it comes to candidates, focus on skills first and foremost. Just because a candidate doesn’t fit your idea of what an engineer looks like, or doesn’t have the “right” background, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be a great fit. That’s why it’s so important to have objective skill data to inform your recruiting and hiring processes.


People with diverse experiences will challenge assumptions and beliefs. These engineers will shake things up at your company, in the best way possible. So start hiring for experience diversity, and watch as your engineering team becomes even more innovative!

CodeSignal Recruiter is a skills-based recruiting platform for modern hiring teams. The platform gives companies the tools they need to source, test, and measure engineers. CodeSignal Recruiter will help you start focusing on skills and increasing experience diversity on your engineering team. Sign up today for a free demo!