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6 technical recruiting myths

Hiring engineers is challenging. 

From finding high-quality candidates to the expenses of hiring engineers, technical recruiting isn’t an easy job. 

Technical recruiting is a mix of art and science. There’s an art to finding the right candidate and there is science behind optimizing your entire hiring funnel.

While many organizations and individuals preach data-driven recruiting and how to successfully hire engineers, many of them are touting technical recruiting myths.

Today, we want to dive into some of these technical recruiting myths and how to overcome them.

Technical Recruiting Myth #1 – Outbound is Better Than Inbound

Does your organization focus more on spearfishing select candidates through outbound recruiting?

Well, you could be missing out on top-tier candidates; especially if you never even look at your inbound hiring funnel closely. We’ve heard from many organizations that they skim through their applicants pool or run a simple keyword search in their ATS because the volume is too large to handle.

Inbound recruiting can be better than outbound recruiting if you do one simple thing… Get rid of resume reviews. Resume reviews are a highly manual, biased process that dramatically slows down the hiring process at the top of the funnel.

Instead, you should put a technical skill assessment as the very first stage of your hiring process to handle the volume and to identify high quality candidates efficiently. This enables candidates to showcase their abilities and for you to set an objective technical bar they have to pass. If a candidate doesn’t pass, you don’t waste any time! 

Inbound applicants are already expressing interest in your organization…why wouldn’t you give them a fair chance?

Technical Recruiting Myth #2 – LinkedIn is the Best Platform for Technical Recruiting

When everyone starts using something, it’s no longer a trend; it’s an overburdened system. This is what LinkedIn has become. 

Every recruiter we know uses LinkedIn for outbound, and occasionally inbound, recruiting.

A majority of them use the same filters as everyone else, including:

  • University attended
  • Previous employers
  • Degree received
  • Number of years of experience
  • Keywords

Which means everyone is filtering for the same small pool of candidates. We’ve heard from engineering candidates that they can receive dozens of InMail messages every week from recruiters! Filters like these create noise, not signal. 

That’s why we suggest going beyond LinkedIn to find high-quality candidates. Host a virtual or physical engineering meetups or hackathons. Build out your employer brand with engineering blog or open source codes. Or even set up a bug bounty program if your product is primarily used by engineers. 

Technical Recruiting Myth #3 – Degrees Matter

It’s not just degrees – but really any rigid requirement like years of experience or previous employer. We’re seeing a lot of tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, and Google move away from having rigid requirements in their job posts.

When nearly half of all developers are self-taught, this just makes sense! Rigid requirements are proxies for actually being able to measure skill. If someone has a degree or certain number of years of experience, it hints at a certain skill-level and abilities. But, that’s not necessarily the case.

Instead of having intense, rigid requirements for your positions, focus on ensuring candidates actually have the right skills for the job. Implementing technical skills assessments can help.

A candidate’s skill levels and their ability to pick up new technologies matters more than any number or degree. 

Beyond this, maturity and ability to work within the team don’t come purely with time. Rigid requirements are never going to be able to show you these principles. 

Technical Recruiting Myth #4 – Tech Talent Only Exists in a Few Select Cities

Chances are your organization is headquartered in San Francisco, New York, or another large tech hub. 

Chances are… tech talent there is very, very expensive there. 

But, talent doesn’t just live in a few select cities. 

Several noticeable companies are waking up to this fact already and creating an organization structure that does not rely on key tech hubs for talent. Skip the line and costs in finding top-tier tech talent by implementing a remote or distributed workforce! This means your team works around the world using communication tools like Slack, Zoom, and Google Docs to ensure tasks are completed at the same quality of having an in-person team. 

Technical Recruiting Myth #5 – Career Fairs are Only Way to Find Early Talent

If you’re a university recruiter, you likely attend college career fairs to find early technical talent.

It’s biased from the very start because you have to select only a handful of universities to visit because of time and costs. By selecting universities, you’re already eliminating a large potential candidate pool and limiting the diversity of thinking in your potential employee pool. If you focus on the university career fairs everyone else attends, you’re setting yourself up for intense competition.

This process often starts with you having a very expensive booth and accepting resumes from students. The problem is that their resumes tend to all look the same: classes, extracurriculars, internships – they all have them.

Resumes also don’t actually measure their abilities and skills. Maybe they’re just really good at certain classes which is why their GPA is high but actually barely passed their degree classes! You have no idea if you just look at their resume. 

That’s why we suggest moving beyond career fairs for early talent. For example, Optimizely, the fast-growing AB testing platform provider, decided to eliminate their campus career fairs in their early talent recruiting. Instead focus more on inbound candidates and replace the resume review step with a technical skill assessment.

Technical Recruiting Myth #6 – Engineering candidates don’t like taking a online coding assessments

Many organizations believe that candidates just won’t move forward if a technical assessment (or online coding test) is the first step of the hiring process.

That’s because most online coding assessments actually do a poor job at measuring skills and creating a high-quality candidate experience. First, if the test was built in-house, chances are it features biased questions that not all candidates will know. Second, the tests may be too long and require a time commitment beyond what’s necessary to actually assess skills. Finally, a lot of coding assessments measure skills and abilities beyond what’s required for the job. That means questions that don’t actually pertain to the job make their way into the assessment. 

But, don’t forget that test design experts’ help is a very valid option and take this opportunity to pick a test that sets you apart from other employers. A robust test can delight your candidates and help you garner respect from them. Furthermore, it’s your chance to communicate to your candidates your commitment to object skill evaluation. Don’t just give the assignment cold. Explain to them why your company values this step in the hiring process. 

If this is not impressing your candidates with amazing quality of coding assessments, it’ll at least save your engineering team a ton of time by only talking with qualified candidates. 

Put These Technical Recruiting Myths to Bed in 2020 and Beyond

We hope learning about these top technical recruiting myths will help you make smarter hiring decisions in the future.