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4 strategies to avoid major recruiting time sinks for your engineering team

Your engineering team is often heavily involved in technical recruiting by necessity — they help with important tasks like evaluating new hire fit and technical capability. However, companies often involve software engineers in the hiring process in inefficient ways that distract from their other responsibilities and cost more per hour. Some engineering managers can spend up to 15 percent of their time on recruiting alone. 

You can make sure the time that your engineers spend on hiring is focused and efficient by making a few key changes to your technical recruiting process. We’ve put together four actionable strategies to achieve just that.

Strategy 1: Use structured technical screens to cut down on engineer time spent interviewing.

Many companies involve engineers in technical phone screens, onsite panel interviews, or executive interviews. A traditional phone screen lasts an hour, with an additional half hour on each side of prep work and debrief time. This means that the average forty phone screens it takes to fill one position can take a single engineer two full work weeks of time. 

Top-notch technical screening services backed by Industrial-Organizational (IO) psychologists and staffed by expert interviewers can be an alternative that keeps candidate evaluations objective. Products like CodeSignal’s Pre-Screen come with ATS integration and use computer scoring to evaluate candidates, and can save your engineering team hundreds of hours of interview time.

One leading tech enterprise saved 18,000 engineering hours annually across 100 technical hires by pivoting to a structured technical screen built and maintained by CodeSignal. The company simultaneously saved $3 million in engineering team costs while improving their onsite-to-offer rate by 45 percent.

Strategy 2: Partner with technical assessment vendors to eliminate time spent creating coding questions.

Another time-intensive recruiting task engineers are often involved with is developing the coding questions used in technical evaluations, take-home assignments, and live coding interviews. The average assessment for an engineering role includes four questions, but developing a single question can take up to six hours, causing one assessment to demand almost 25 hours of engineering time. With this upfront time cost, companies that write their interview questions in-house may not have the engineering capacity to also monitor and adjust questions for clarity or difficulty after they are adopted into the interview process.

Technical interview vendors offer pre-built skills evaluations designed by subject matter experts (SMEs) and IO psychologists to reliably evaluate candidates. Assessment teams build questions tailored to the knowledge and skills required for specific roles and can put in the extra time to maintain questions, as well as to conduct tests to make sure questions are interpreted as expected and are unbiased.

Strategy 3: Adopt dynamic skills evaluation frameworks to reduce time spent on managing leaked questions.

Interview questions are constantly leaked by candidates, even in cases when they sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). A CodeSignal study found that, for companies using a coding assessment created without the support of a vendor, cheating and plagiarism peaks 3 months after a coding assessment is rolled out. This means that companies who create coding questions in-house have to rewrite them once per quarter. With assessments needing an average of 100 hours per revision, engineering teams are spending upwards of 400 hours annually accommodating for coding question leaks.

Simply monitoring sites like LeetCode and issuing DMCA takedowns of leaked questions is both unscalable and unsustainable. The most effective strategy is to accept that question leaks are inevitable and pivot to mitigating the impact of leaked questions. Skills evaluation frameworks like the ones provided by CodeSignal’s Skills Evaluation Lab use dynamic question rotation to create individualized coding assessments for each candidate. The lab produces hundreds of variations of both major and minor questions that maintain a consistent challenge level and pass rate, and can save your engineering team hundreds of hours.

Strategy 4: Reduce engineering time spent on candidate evaluation with automatically-scored rubrics.

Between debriefing technical phone screens, scoring take-home assessments, and reviewing onsite interviews, an engineer can put more than an hour and a half toward evaluating each candidate. When filling one role means interviewing forty potential hires on average, an engineering team spends twenty hours just debriefing technical screens.

Pairing automatic code scoring on technical assessments with structured rubrics can significantly reduce that time sink. CodeSignal’s Pre-Screen solution provides comprehensive automated reports that account for correctness, speed, implementation ability, and problem-solving ability for every question candidates answer. This eliminates hours of time spent manually reviewing code and makes final-round on-sites more focused and productive by ensuring all candidates that advance are highly qualified. 

Using structured rubrics to debrief onsites can help your engineers reach a decision more quickly. A rubric that includes a numerical system and an explanation for each score also helps hiring teams make fairer decisions, and can be used to direct debriefing conversations. Make sure to include all skills — technical and communication — relevant to the role, and have interviewers score the interview independently before comparing to ensure the rubric is being used consistently.

Implementing these strategies together can save hundreds of engineering hours and millions of dollars in annual cost savings. Improving engineer time in one stage of the recruiting process can still save significant amounts of time. The technical interview and assessment experts at CodeSignal can help make sure that the time your engineering team spends on recruitment is optimally used. Set up your first conversation here.