[Rookie's Friends] Fixing a Broken Engineer Hiring Process with a Holistic Approach To Vetting
Updated: Nov 19, 2021
The software engineer hiring process is broken. Here's how to fix it with a holistic approach to vetting.
Whether you've been through the process of searching for a qualified developer before or this is your first go, you likely already know it doesn't come without its drawbacks. With so much demand for developers today, it often seems impossible that you're going to find the perfect person to fit within your organization on time, and within your budget - right?
The problem at hand is that many companies and hiring platforms don't vet developers and engineers properly, which means the wrong developer for the wrong project, ending in a disheartening tech-love disconnect.
Good thing there are strides toward fixing a broken vetting process. Ultimately ending in happier clients, happier developers, and a process that shows that sometimes if it's broken, you might as well fix it.
Why the Current Developer Hiring Process is Broken
Ask most developers and engineers today, and you'll hear most vetting processes at tech companies are broken. Why is this?
The biggest issue is that most companies focus on and check for things that just don't matter in the long run.
Kumar, Vetting Lead, has been a part of vetting processes for big-time tech companies and notes that more often than not, they aren't checking for the skills that matter when it comes to the day-to-day challenges a developer is faced with. Companies have an often unrealistic standard for quality and ask engineers to complete a large and complex task or solve a binary tree problem in their interview to define their capabilities. The truth is a developer is not going to need to do this in their daily work, and so you're often missing out on qualified talent that could get the job at hand done well.
Therein lies the problem.
Another invaluable aspect of the vetting process that's all too often overlooked is culture fit. It is important to ask what attributes outside of technical abilities do engineers require to have a successful career with our clients. The sheer importance of interpersonal/soft skills should also be recognized. How well can a candidate interact with his/her peers? Are they able to give good and helpful feedback? Are they able to ask for help when needed? These things are crucial, but often overlooked in vetting processes.
A Holistic Approach To Vetting
Over the years, we've been able to gather data about our client base and what kind of specifications have yielded the most successful company-developer relationships. Through this data, we've been able to build an always-evolving process that focuses on both company requirements and developer happiness.
One major focus is seeking out very specialized developers as opposed to those fluent in every programming language. We've had the most project success by recruiting developers that excel in the skills directly pertaining to the needs of the companies looking to hire them.
There are four core areas to a holistic vetting process:
1) Focus on Individual Technologies
Instead of seeking out "jack-of-all-trades" developers, we focus on bringing on very specialized developers. In doing this, we can hone in on their abilities and find the projects where their skills will lend themselves the most. In working with specialized developers, we've seen the quality of the work being done for companies that hire them is superior since they're experts in their technology.
2) Personal Approach
Simply put: hiring is personal. We take a personal approach to hiring by actively engaging candidates in a way that truly allows us to get to know them. We pride ourselves on our process, but ultimately, the focus is on the people. We tailor our conversations around getting to know individuals, their work ethic, ideas, experiences, mindset, education, etc. Other staff augmentation companies tend to rely solely on their technology to vet large quantities of developers at once, but we don't think there's a genuine replacement for the intelligent human interaction we can provide from start to finish.
3) Relevant Code Challenges
As I mentioned before, one of the most significant shortcomings of many developer vetting processes is that the code challenges given do not in any way cause candidates to exhibit skills that they'd need to possess when being faced with a real-world problem. Developed by G2i's experienced engineers who know code in and out (such as Tejas Kumar), G2i's code challenges and technical interviews are designed to help get a real look at a developer's capabilities and how they'd handle real-world challenges they'll be faced with after they're hired.
4) Ever-evolving Rubrics
As we continue to gather data about companies and developers we work with, we continue to evolve our rubrics for hiring. These rubrics were developed to meet the standards of our clients specifically. We continue to build these rubrics based on what companies are looking to see when it comes to developer characteristics and abilities. So while some staff augmentation companies or platforms might provide clients with good developers, G2i is able to provide great developers tailored to their needs.
5) Vetting for Culture Fit
Technical knowledge is essential, of course, but it can also be taught; culture cannot. If a candidate has great technical expertise but is just not a fit for your company's culture, there's a good chance the relationship will fail. Vetting for culture fit goes far beyond the likability of a candidate; it ensures they're going to align with a company's core values and operational structure. To help ensure that our team evaluates a candidate thoroughly and without bias, one of our ever-evolving items mentioned previously is a comprehensive cultural fit vetting assessment. The assessment is meant to help guide attention and focus to the right details during conversations with candidates.
What Is the Cherry on Top?
Every process is going to be different, but we've found the following also to be true of a successful one:
It is simple, care for the people. If someone has expressed interest in joining your company, take pride in that, and show them respect. Maybe they aren't right for your network at this time but don't "ghost" them. Providing them with valuable feedback could help them grow to become a quality candidate down the line. This does wonders toward your employer brand and referral.