Start with a Technical Interview. – Hacker Noon

If (some) recruiters sold coffee …

Being a developer in 2018 means being assaulted by hundreds of messages offering “amazing job opportunities”. Unfortunately, it is usually difficult to assess if the “amazing opportunities” are really worth your time.

The sad truth

Fact is, you are still approached by tons of recruiters who often have no technical background. To me, this just feels like a waste of time — for 2 reasons.

First, how is a non-technical person supposed to explain and discuss complex technological challenges, and inspire you?

Secondly, without technical background, it is nearly impossible to make sure that you are technically up to the challenge.

A common Rant on

“Let’s ask the most crucial stuff at the end, this way we waste time” …

… said no one ever. And still, contrary to logic, both of the crucial steps of the recruitment process usually happen only at the end — during the technical interview.

Until someone can concretely explain the tech challenges you need to wait for the technical interview. And the same goes for your skills. Only the discussion with the technical manager will confirm your capacities match the companies needs.

This means that the essential information needed for a decision is only discovered at the end. Why?!

Improve quality instead of quantity

Employers are complaining about how difficult it is to attract tech talent and they usually blame the market, which is a solid argument. There’s surely a lack of tech talent and an overload of recruiters & headhunters.

However, I doubt hiring more of the latter will change anything. It’s like hiring more sales people when the product is s — t. It just doesn’t solve the root problem. If companies are trying to attract instead of frustrating you, they should have a look at their approach.

Us vs. Them

Sociological theories explain that “the larger the size of an out-group, the more the corresponding in-group perceives it to threaten its own interests, resulting in the in-group members having more negative attitudes toward the out-group.”

In our context, it is clear that tech people belong to the in-group, while recruiters belong to the out-group. And by doing a quick google search, it becomes obvious that the “negative attitudes toward the out-group (recruiters)” is not a myth.

Now, considering the two groups, there are two ways to explain an opportunity.

From the out-group (recruiter) perspective it would look something like this:

“Hi Dev,

I have a nice opportunity for you. The salary range is x — y €.

Our company has great programs to grow and learn new technologies. Many of our developers use some hours per week to further educate themselves.

We are working on this problem and our tech team is trying to solve it by using [CODING LANGUAGE KEYWORDS]. And they also use the agile methodology.

Our tech team is really great, they are working really efficient and they are pretty intelligent.”

And from the in-group perspective:

“Hi Dev,

My Team and I are currently trying to solve this problem and we need someone with your skills to help us further develop the [TECH JARGON]. We’ve already [TECH JARGON] and [TECH TECH], and now it’s time to [TECH JARGON].

My HR manger let me know that you look for a place to grow and learn. From my own experience I can tell you that we are allowed to allocate some hours per week for self-development. I started to learn Golang this year, so I take 4 hours per week to focus on that.

Oh and by the way, the Tech Team compensation here at company3000 are really nice. For your experience the range usually is x — y €.”

If you feel more likely to reply to message number 2, you’ll agree: when contacted by an in-group member, by nature, we feel more comfortable. Partly because peers speak the same language, make the same jokes and understand our pains.

Reduce frustration and stop wasting time

Next to being more likely to catch the attention of IT talent, another benefit of involving IT Teams from the start is better efficiency — and studies confirm it. On average IT Teams need 50% less interviews to hire a developer.

The reasons for this are pretty straight forward and have mostly been covered in this post, but here we go again: During a technical interview, the discussion is about the inspiring part. What you are going to create, how you’re is going to master the challenge, and why you’ll succeed.

While HR managers drive the recruitment processes (search & selection), it should be CTOs and Tech Leads who contact candidates directly. They should be the first touch point to screened and selected candidates. This way high quality messages are ensured, because candidates can immediately talk about what inspires them: the tech they will work on.

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