University recruiting is changing. There was a time when campus recruiters struggled to look beyond computer science degrees from MIT and Stanford, often ignoring other important qualifiers like real-world troubleshooting skills, a candidate’s interest in the role, and cultural fit.
In a world where 94 percent of computer science degrees awarded each year are not from prestigious universities (and many developers are now learning to code online), limiting your search to graduates of “top-tier” universities means missing out on today’s top tech talent. For companies like Zoom and eBay, seeking out students for their coding skills rather than their university has diversified their engineering teams tenfold, helping them achieve bigger and better things in the tech world. We want to help you do the same.
For campus recruiters looking to build a diverse team of talented early career engineers, we’ve put together our best tips for leveling up your university recruiting for 2022.
1. Widen your search
The first step to diversifying your college campus recruiting is to widen your search. This means looking beyond elite university graduate lists and instead actively seeking out candidates from less prestigious universities or underrepresented backgrounds. Nonprofit organizations like ColorStack help you connect with Black and Latinx graduate developers, while recruitment automation tools like RippleMatch source underrepresented talent from over 1,500 universities across the US while also helping you identify bias in your hiring process.
CodeSignal’s annual University Ranking Report identifies the top 50 colleges and universities for computer science and software engineering programs based solely on students’ coding skills. You can check out our list for 2022 here.
2. Create a top-of-funnel skills screening
Even the best recruiters can’t be totally objective when reviewing a resume. With most hiring teams spending just 6 seconds per resume, research shows that college recruiters are subconsciously drawn to universities and backgrounds that they’re familiar with, meaning many talented engineers graduating from lesser-known schools, or who have taken an unconventional career path, slip through the net.
One way to avoid this scenario is to send new grad candidates a screening test to objectively evaluate their core programming skills. Here at CodeSignal, we’ve created data-driven, research-backed technical screen assessments that fairly and accurately measure candidates’ coding skills. You can read more about those here.
3. Build meaningful relationships with candidates
It’s never too early to start building a relationship with your most promising candidates. Hiring the best early career engineers is extremely competitive, so you want to make sure that you’re not losing any candidates due to a lack of communication.
Once you have a clear idea of who has the right technical skills for the job, take some time to ensure that graduates feel excited about the company and the role they’ve applied for. Set up a call to learn more about what motivates them and ease any anxieties they might have, and be sure to respond to any follow-up questions promptly and thoughtfully.
4. Structure your on-site interviews
When you move to the onsite stage, it’s important to have a well-structured interview. This ensures that every candidate follows the same interview process, minimizing the risk of bias and giving them a fair opportunity to demonstrate why they’re the right person for the job. Structured interviews require interviewers to be well prepared and should also follow a logical question order. For example, starting with less challenging technical questions helps the candidate feel comfortable and builds rapport between the interviewer and interviewee.
5. Use your technical on-site to assess troubleshooting skills and team fit
Especially for new grads, core programming skills are more important than knowledge of a specific language. To evaluate these skills, we recommend using coding interview tools like CodeSignal Interview to collaborate with candidates on real-world programming problems. This not only allows you to assess their troubleshooting skills, but it’s also an opportunity to see how candidates communicate under pressure, how they collaborate with others, and whether they’ll be a good team fit.
Want to learn more about college campus recruiting? Check out The Comprehensive Guide to University and Early Career Recruiting.