Rethinking IT Recruitment: The Traditional Ways of Assessing Candidates Have Got to Go by@pavelpodkorytov

Rethinking IT Recruitment: The Traditional Ways of Assessing Candidates Have Got to Go

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Pavel Podkorytov HackerNoon profile picture

Pavel Podkorytov

Pavel Podkorytov is the CEO of TalentService, Napoleon IT and the advisor of Stanford's R&D project "Future Talents"

Winning competition for top IT talents has grown intense as more and more companies rely on technologies and innovation to boost revenue. The booming tech space is battling talent scarcity, especially for sourcing skills related to security, compliance, and cloud computing. With many positions remaining unfilled, it becomes clear the traditional way of recruiting talented developers has to change.

The global talent shortage is projected to reach 85.2 million people by 2030, and its financial impact is estimated at $8.452 trillion (equivalent to the combined GDP of Germany and Japan) in unrealized annual revenue. For the technology sector alone, the labor-skills shortage could reach 4.3 million workers by 2030, or 59 times the number of employees of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. 

It is indeed quite stunning that despite hotthe tech landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade, the IT talent hiring process has not changed much. The companies are still evaluating developers based on the CVs, often missing to match the right candidate with the job or having to fill the same position again and again. While technology has enhanced the overall recruitment processes is increasingly becoming data-driven, the traditional approach where companies screen candidates and have the final say on which position one or the other candidate will fit is hardly challenged. 

For talented developers, it means spending hours going through job proposals, sending emails, filling questionnaires, and taking interviews that most often do not land them a dream job. This can change by shifting from employers testing candidates to developers evaluating job offers and companies, and deciding on the best place to work. 

Traditional approach

As the competition for IT talents is increasingly high, recruiters use all possible means to get developers’ attention: numerous mailings, messages dropped via instant messengers, calls and interviews, annoying ADs across social media platforms. 

A senior Android developer receives around 20-30 offers from recruiters monthly on just one social network, according to developers we have surveyed. It takes about 20 minutes, on average, to evaluate one job proposal, and the time spent on answering calls or taking multiple-stage interviews can hardly be measured. 

In the end, both the talent and the recruiter suffer. The former often miss spotting an exciting opportunity while the latter end up with candidates that leave just in a few months in search of better openings. According to the Everest Group November 2021 poll, half of all the employees are actively looking to make a career change, and when it comes to IT pros — they stick with one company, on average, just for 8 months.

To recruit employees and retain existing tech staff, CIOs are boosting compensation packages and offering flexible work options, such as a combination of in-office and remote work (WFH), IT employment consultancy Janco Associates report notes. 

But CIOs and experienced recruiters realize that retention should start right from the application process to candidate screening to conducting interviews. The right qualifications, technical acumen, or experience do not necessarily translate into a great match for the position, because there is a lot more to make the match a happy one. Successful recruitment starts with identifying what aspects of corporate values, culture, and strategy the company wishes to emphasize, and matching it with candidates’ aspirations and ideas, approach to problem solving, and communication skills.

Game changer

When founding TalentService, an HR Tech service for testing employers and evaluating their vacancies in line with IT specialists’ expectations, the main idea was to switch from a traditional way, where candidates are spending valuable time evaluating offers and applying for positions, just to initiate the complex multi-stage screening process, and make recruiters do the hard job. 

Our solution disrupts the traditional approach by eliminating the need for developers to evaluate each and every job offer, draft numerous emails and cover letters, and fill out countless forms. Instead, it offers companies to fill out the questionnaire, and developers — evaluate companies and opportunities and select the best. 

How does it work? A personal assessment center is being set up for candidates who then share an auto-generated link with the recruiters. After getting the link, the recruiters have to fill out the form, providing necessary information about the position, the tasks, the team, and motivation. The questionnaires filled out by employers reflect in the candidate’s account immediately. He or she can then compare the answers from various recruiters via a personal companies assessment dashboard and pick the best suitable offer.

The rating system at the core of companies assessment process was developed by TalentService based on the results of over 100 interviews with IT pros and companies and the expertise of industry masterminds, including HRs, CIOs, and agile approach. Also service developers have over 10 years of experience in IT staff training.

Before the companies and the candidate are matched as per the four criteria, the offers are sifted by screening and analyzing the basic inputs provided. This includes the desired salary level, the format of work (remote/at office/hybrid), level of English proficiency, time tracking policies and a wish for relocation. 

It often happens that the developer’s skills match the requirements of the job completely, but he or she is not ready to relocate or has arguments against evaluating development work against time-based increments. In such cases, there is no reason for candidates to spend time evaluating such opportunities. 

The key criteria for compiling the employer's questionnaire are hard skills, soft skills, environment, and motivation. The form the recruiters are required to fill up has four blocks of questions relating to each criterion.

Once the irrelevant offers are wed out, the companies and candidates are being matched as per the four criteria. 

  1. Hard skills. This block represents basic abilities acquired through formal education and training programs and enhanced through practice. These are the must-have competencies required by software engineers to build, maintain and fix the code, and companies are very particular about which hard skills (programming languages first of all) are required to fit the position.
  2. Soft skills. Qualities demonstrating the attitude and aptitude of the developer, including communication skills, approach to problem solving, critical thinking, confidence, and enthusiasm, willingness to embrace new things, and ability to cope with stress and accept criticism are often а important for IT talent's successful adaptation in the role and subsequent performance. Soft skills play a major role in how effectively a talent will communicate with a new team and match a company, a team, or a project. When position requirements and company’s requests  tone with developer’s soft skills, he or she will adapt to the new environment and will start delivering much faster, and will probably stick around longer, too.
  3. Work experience and environment. This block of data to be matched includes inputs from the developer on how he or she sees their role in the product development process, how deeply one is willing to be involved, what is his or her preferred programming fields and at which stage of product development he or she would be able to deliver best. Those developers who prefer sticking to writing lines of code and are comfortable working with detailed requirements will not be fit for product management and project management positions as both require a great level of involvement in building the product, communicating with teams as well as with users. 
  4. Motivation. Even though the Covid pandemic has alerted the job market globally, employees quit organizations that do not offer them career growth in their preferred fields. “Career” was the number one most cited reason for leaving the job (18% of respondents named it as the main reason), according to the 2021 Retention Report. This is one of the reasons we have included motivation criteria in our assessment model. At the end of the day, it is the motivation that keeps software engineers satisfied with their job while also helping them identify a clear career development path. Motivation is key to hiring the best talents as much as it is important to retain the existing ones. Identifying motivation right from the beginning helps companies hire as well as avoid the burnout that has become one of the major concerns in the tech space. The platform also analyzes the corporate culture. By comparing it with the values of talent, we will understand how happy the talent will be in the new workplace.

Key takeaways 

At the current stage of our platform’s development, when signing up at the TalentService platform, the candidate gets a personal link to the questionnaire for the recruiters. The questions are designed in a way to get quality inputs from companies, that will allow the platform to evaluate their offers based on the four criteria described above and pick the most relevant for the particular candidate.

We believe that IT talents should not spend precious time looking for a dream job, evaluating numerous proposals, engaging in email correspondence, and giving unnecessary interviews. The companies, at the same time, should be able to fill IT positions faster and more effectively, because today technology is the key growth engine for business.

For a long time, the companies decided which talents fit them most — the time has come to let the talents choose the best suitable teams and roles. The ultimate goal is to create the most value for both employees and employers, making their relationship long last.

Pavel Podkorytov HackerNoon profile picture
by Pavel Podkorytov @pavelpodkorytov.Pavel Podkorytov is the CEO of TalentService, Napoleon IT and the advisor of Stanford's R&D project "Future Talents"
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