This guide brings together proven strategies from Talent Acquisition leaders at top companies for increasing diversity on your engineering team.
Diving Deeper into Candidate Assessment
Business News Made Mobile
It may feel like we’ve always been inseparable from our phones; for many of us, our entire lives are now mobile. We shop, read, work, bank, game, and search, all on our devices. We take them everywhere, and we can use them for almost anything we’d need to do. As hard as it may be to remember a time before the mobile takeover, it’s a recent phenomenon–and it’s one that Sean Griffey, Ryan Willumson, and Eli Dickinson found themselves perfectly timed and poised to capitalize on.
The three of them founded Industry Dive in 2012, back when mobile was still emerging as a way of engaging with the online world–in fact, in 2013, mobile phones accounted for only 16% of all internet traffic. Yet Sean, Ryan, and Eli saw an opportunity to apply a tried-and-true business model to this burgeoning market. They envisioned a B2B media company that would publish highly specialized, industry-specific journalism, written in easily-scannable, mobile-friendly formats to reach time-strapped, on-the-go, high-level professionals. They eschewed the growing movement toward subscription models, opting instead for an ad-driven model that keeps their content free and available to their readership while also providing advertisers with a built-in audience of decision-makers.
Taking a proven business model and executing it in a new marketplace paid off big-time for Sean, Ryan, and Eli–Industry Dive has grown rapidly over the past several years, expanding from 5 verticals to almost 20 across 22 publications, and growing their readership to approximately 11 million. With their mobile-optimized sites and newsletters at the core of their success, hiring the best technical talent is key to Industry Dive’s success as they scale their workforce to keep pace with their company’s growth.
Industry Dive founders, left to right: Ryan Willumson, Eli Dickinson, Sean Griffey
Hiring–especially hiring technical talent–is an expensive, time-consuming process. This is why startups like Industry Dive need to make sure they’re finding and bringing on the best talent possible while also optimizing their hiring processes. Industry Dive VP of Engineering Chris Monnat, who joined the company in 2018, noted that their technical recruiting process was particularly time-consuming; engineers would either write up specialized take-home assessments for every candidate “or take the time to go and look through a user’s GitHub account.” This quickly adds up to a lot of valuable engineering hours being diverted away from their own projects, slowing down not just the recruiting process, but the development process as well.
On top of being time-consuming, traditional means of candidate evaluation can also be unreliable. Resumes highlight a candidate’s pedigree–where they went to school, who they interned with, etc.–but contain little information about a candidate’s actual, concrete skills. Additionally, hiring teams are highly susceptible to unconscious biases when reviewing resumes; in addition to judging a candidate based on their pedigree–which can have more to do with access than it does with talent–resumes often include identifying information about gender and race that can subconsciously influence hiring teams’ decisions. These factors can make resume screenings an unreliable and inconsistent tool for finding highly qualified candidates.
Take-home assessments have the benefit of truly showcasing a candidate’s applicable skills; however, Chris notes that even these aren’t always an efficient and effective way to screen candidates. When engineers have to write assessments for every position or–sometimes–every candidate, it becomes an extremely time-consuming process. Moreover, when different members of the engineering team are writing a multitude of different questions, how does one control for consistency? The difficulty, duration, IDE, and other factors can have a huge impact on a candidate’s experience and score on any assessment–making the results yet another unreliable measure of candidate skill.
Hiring for Potential
Industry Dive made the switch to CodeSignal Pre-Screen to help them create a quick, efficient, and consistent technical assessment process. Pre-Screen is a top-of-the-funnel technical skills evaluation solution that helps businesses like Industry Dive make informed, data-driven hiring decisions at scale, and comes with access to a library of pre-build questions to help companies launch assessments quickly and easily. It also features an advanced, real-world IDE to improve your candidates’ experience; plagiarism detection and full keystroke recording to give hiring managers peace of mind; and automatic, predictive scoring and full integration with leading ATS’s to help recruiters quickly screen through applicant pools.
“A platform like CodeSignal was perfect because it allows us to create a consistent exercise for all the candidates in a consistent environment,” says Chris. Co-founder and CTO Eli Dickinson echoes this sentiment, saying, “what I really liked about CodeSignal is that it’s the same assessment–we can [compare results] apples to apples.” By working with Industry Dive’s engineering teams to develop technical skills evaluations that can be sent out at scale, Pre-Screen makes it simple for them to control for factors like difficulty and duration, ensuring that every candidate is given a fair shot.
Even more than consistency, both Chris and Eli point to Pre-Screen’s automatic keystroke recording and replay feature as a key benefit of CodeSignal. By recording a candidate’s session and allowing users to replay it, Pre-Screen makes it possible for engineers to look beyond a candidate’s score and truly analyze their thinking and problem-solving skills. It’s “something that I didn’t get when I just had a take-home test,” says Eli. “I can watch how they thought through the problem, and that was honestly more interesting to me than even the score at the end.” Chris agrees, adding that “a candidate that’s not good at test-taking and maybe doesn’t know test-driven development […] can still do well and get to the next stage if we can just tell, ‘How did they approach the question? Do they know the technology?’”
I can watch how they thought through the problem, and that was honestly more interesting to me than even the score at the end.
— Eli Dickinson, co-founder and CTO
This helps Industry Dive evaluate not just a candidate’s skills, but their potential as well. Candidates may not perform their best for any number of reasons, one common reason being unfamiliarity with the IDE. Pre-Screen gives businesses the tools to control for these factors, helping them find the absolute strongest candidates while also reducing bias and boosting equity in their hiring process.
Ready to Dive Into Their Next Phase
Switching to CodeSignal helped Industry Dive create a hiring process that was both more efficient and more equitable. Pre-Screen’s scalable solution allowed Industry Dive’s engineering teams to spend less time hiring and more time developing. At the same time, the keystroke recording and replay assure Chris and Eli that they’re finding not just the most technically savvy candidates, but the candidates who are also best prepared to learn and grow alongside Industry Dive.
With their hiring process optimized, Industry Dive is ready to face its next phase of growth. 2020 has been a busy year for them–co-founder Sean Griffey stated that the second quarter of 2020 “was our best quarter in company history from both a revenue and profit standpoint”. They added 3 new newsletters in May, and in July they acquired content marketing studio NewsCred. As they continue to grow and need to bring on new tech talent, CodeSignal will be there to help them scale their hiring process, scout the best talent, and make sure every applicant gets a fair chance.
How Can CodeSignal Help Your Company?
CodeSignal Pre-Screen was the right choice for Industry Dive; however, CodeSignal offers a suite of technical interview and assessment solutions to help any company tackle any hiring challenge. There’s Tech Screen-–a technical phone screen replacement that gives time back to engineers while providing a white glove candidate experience, and Interview-–a powerful, all-in-one remote interviewing platform that includes integrated, collaborative coding environment, HD audio and video calling, extensive language support, and more. No matter what technical hiring concerns you have, CodeSignal can help you #GoBeyondResumes to create a more efficient, more equitable process.