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Codility Blog | Building Better Dev Teams

Part II Better Tech Recruiting: Keeping the Candidate at the Heart of Your Process

January 29, 2018

In Part I of this series, we covered The Anatomy of Great Hiring, you can read more about that here. In Part II, we’ll be focusing on how to keep the candidate at the heart of your process, why this matters, and what effect this can have on your recruitment measures.

A job interview is an opportunity for the candidate to prove their experience and discover more about the role. For a hiring manager, an interview is an opportunity to discover more about the candidate and gather enough information to make an informed hiring decision. An effective interview balances these two needs.

As such, it’s essential that the candidate feels a strong connection to the hiring team. After all, candidates will remember how you make them feel, so it pays to design a process that has the candidate at the heart of it.

An interview process must also be scalable, repeatable, and consistent. Every candidate who goes through the interview process should experience the same level of attention, care and engagement. It should be a positive experience for everybody.

Effective interviews are skills and behavior-oriented. If you are hiring technical people you must be certain they can do the job you need them to do. Technical challenges are an excellent way for candidates to demonstrate their skills.

By running real-time coding sessions with the candidate and the hiring team you can also observe how the candidate works and interacts with others. It’s also a very positive experience for the candidate who has ample opportunity to ask questions, pair program with a team member, and demonstrate their knowledge and experience.

Interview questions should be behavior based. Behavioral questions help to discover what the candidate has done and can do. It's too easy for people to talk about what they believe they can do, and to cover what it says on their CV, without a hiring manager ever truly understanding what they can actually do. Behavior based questions get to what matters—what a candidate can actually do.

Effective interviews put the candidate at the very heart of the interview. This is counter-intuitive for most hiring managers who often put their own needs before the candidate’s. But by putting the candidate at the heart of the interview process, you gain insights and knowledge about how to design an amazing experience for them. This doesn’t mean the interview can’t be tough and challenging, far from it, but it does mean the experience must be positive from a candidate’s perspective.

Good candidates have a choice of where to invest their time and energy. Creating a positive hiring experience means you’ll stand out in the market and encourage candidates to invest their time and energy with your company.

Effects of an improved candidate experience

When I was part of a management team, hiring candidates 100% year over year, we rapidly grew the team from 8 people to over 70 in just a few years. By improving the candidate experience we not only made the hiring process much more pleasant for candidates, but we saw some very positive side effects.

A good interview process kept the bar high, which meant we hired the best people. This had a knock-on effect of attracting other talented people. After all, talented people like to work with other talented people. As such we also didn’t lose many people. We had a churn rate of just 3% compared to an industry average of 15%.

Recruitment costs money, but because of our improvements our hiring costs were just 9% as a blended rate between agency fees, referrals and self-sourced. Our peers in the industry were at around 15-20%.

Our average elapsed time between the candidate application and a decision to hire or not after the interview, was 10 days. It can sometimes take 10 days before candidates receive an acknowledgement of application with some companies.

A very positive side effect of creating a great candidate experience was that people who were not successful in getting hired would tell others how good the process was. This lead to more candidates and a further reduction in hiring costs.

It’s not easy to create an effective, high-touch recruitment process though, and it takes a lot of time and dedication, but the results can be very positive.

Technical challenges combined with effective behavior-based interview questions provide a framework for a rigorous interview process.

Underlying a great interview process though, is the fact that the candidate is at the heart of the process. By keeping your candidate at the heart of your process you can create a high-touch recruitment process that will WOW your candidates. Candidates remember how you make them feel.

If you're looking to revamp your tech hiring, I suggest reaching out to the Codility team!

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