In the past, we talked about Branding and how it could boost HR Success – in the end it all comes down to a good candidate experience from the first impression to building a sustainable relationship. In the cities where we help tech workers and hiring companies engage directly, Berlin, Madrid, Dublin, London and Cork, we sometimes see companies loose candidates to other tech firms.
Those companies with an effective and decisive hiring strategy generally get better people and inevitably achieve more profitable business outcomes. The companies we see prevailing in this competitive landscape all do the following three things:
Show Some Care
The best companies at hiring software engineers take care with the process, and take care of the candidate. They call when they say they will for screening calls and telephone interviews, they give regular status updates, and give a clear roadmap for the hiring process. This could be as simple as emailing the candidate at the beginning of the process and explaining that the process will consist of a short phone screen, then a technical task and, finally, an onsite interview.
Failure to keep order in your hiring process will give candidates a sense that this company is chaotic and disorganised. It´s important to remember that highly skilled software engineers in cities like London and Dublin is usually approached on LinkedIn about a new role more than once a week. There is no shortage of suitors, so you need to be rigorous and structured in your approach.
Many candidates seeking work in these locations are coming from other countries, and feel less secure as they try and navigate a different culture, while interviewing in their second language can add a further layer of complexity.
You also must make a candidate feel welcome and wanted by your organisation. Many candidates seeking work in these locations are coming from other countries, and feel less secure as they try and navigate a different culture, while interviewing in their second language can add a further layer of complexity. Provide your candidates with the information they need about your company, and as much detail as you can about the location (even down to info about housing, schools, amenities et cetera). Every category of candidate appreciates a well-run hiring process, but even more they appreciate when a company goes the extra mile to help them understand how their life could be if they relocate for a job with your company.
Devise an Appropriate Technical Task
An appropriate technical assessment is crucial to the effective hiring of software engineers. We have seen two effective approaches in this regard. One is to ask a phone screened candidate to attend a face-to-face interview, and to bring a sample of their own code with them, and then to use this piece of code to stimulate a technical discussion and delve into how the developer thinks. This requires the presence of a technical manager with a reasonable level of experience in interviewing.
Equally effective is to deploy a coding task with specifications, and have the candidate email it back. Once your hiring manager is happy with the task, you can then invite the candidate for a face-to-face interview, where you use their solution to the task as the basis for the discussion (this helps to ensure that the candidate did not ‘outsource’ the technical task to someone else). Try and align the coding task as closely as possible with the duties of the role you are hiring for; at all times you should be aiming to get a sense of how this candidate will operate if you hire them.
If your company is serious about hiring good software engineers, you need to move decisively in an employee-driven market. We’re not advocating hasty decisions, but coming back 2-3 weeks after an interview to make an offer, with no contact in the interim, is rarely a productive approach. Also, if your candidate is seriously looking for a new role, it is likely they are speaking with other companies; why wouldn’t they?
So, if you identify a candidate of real interest to your company, see what you can do to move this candidate through the process at a decent pace. It’s difficult to regain momentum in a process, but if you are losing some, keep the lines of communication open with the candidate, and be honest with them about what is going on.
More and more internal recruiters and hiring managers are getting it; software engineers, at least really good ones, need to be courted and sold to about the opportunity of working at your company. Credibility can be lost quickly and easily. We have witnessed many times to strong candidates receiving multiple offers simultaneously, and the company that gets the candidate is usually the one who has paid most attention to the candidate experience.