Innovative Technical Recruiting

January 21st, 2014

Loren Larsen, Chief Technology Officer


Recently, ATS reviewer Software Advice spoke with Dan Medlin, Head of Talent Acquisition for Samsung, about his top 3 tips for sourcing technical talent. Like Dan, and as Chief Technology Officer of HireVue, my paramount goal is to ensure that we are creating innovative tools to make the process of sourcing quick and efficient. I am no stranger to the arduous process of hiring tech talent, and the obstacles involved for companies of all sizes. In 2012, HireVue acquired CodeEval and developed CodeVue, a product that is further revolutionizing the way that sourcing takes place in today’s market – this time focusing on tech talent.

Dan Medlin’s article provides excellent advice and, we generally agree with his insight.

Use a “rifle approach” when hiring–quite often, headhunters and advanced sourcing software are your best bet.

Searching for the right candidates can be difficult especially when a position is technical. One tactic we have seen work very successfully on hard to fill positions is to look outside your current geographic area for candidates with roots in your area. For example, the candidate may originally be from the area, have attended school there, or had previous work experience there. In many cases, we have seen a much higher willingness to relocate back to an earlier geography.

As Medlin suggests, utilizing headhunters and referrals from internal employees is also a great way to start the search for the right candidate. However, employing efficient sourcing software tools is equally important in the process. For example, good tech talent isn’t on the market for long, so sending them a direct link to take an interview now is a powerful tool.

We built OpenVue for just this purpose. A customized URL can be shared anywhere across the web and a candidate can take that interview simply by clicking on that link. Now that information can be digested anytime, in any geographical location with the overwhelming usage of smartphones in the marketplace, implementing a social and mobile strategy are key to sourcing – whether you are a headhunter, recruiter or employee trying to find the best candidate for the job.

Have a structured interview process in place to make certain potential hires match the job requirements (and that your recruiters understand what those requirements are).

The construction of a clear and consistent interview for each position is very important in consistently evaluating candidates on common criteria, both cultural, behavioral, and skill-based. It’s also extremely helpful to identify the questions that are most important to each role and make sure those are asked early in the interview process. We generally look at the interview process as having multiple phases including a video interview, sometimes phone screens, and an in-person interview.

The earlier key questions can be asked in the interview process, the stronger the candidates will be at the end of the process. This not only saves time but allows the interviewing team to spend more time with the right candidates, making sure that they are the right fit but also selling them on accepting a future offer, which is critical for hard to fill positions where candidates often have multiple offers.

Using video interviewing is extremely helpful because it creates an archive of candidates that can be searched later. In the case where you're building a long-term relationship with a candidate, sometimes the original history or institutional memory of the candidate and their attributes can be lost, but with a video interview on file, the interview can be shared with new members of the organization. In addition, because interviews are consistent, the organization can refine its interview process by reviewing previous interviews and comparing answers from top and low performers and looking to identify which questions are most useful (or would have been most useful) in hiring for each position.

Establish specific values and qualities each candidate should possess, ensuring a candidate will be a good culture fit.

Of course, the best source of candidates is often referrals from your own people which is why creating a great place to work is the best way to grow your organization. When your company has a strong culture and a strong team, you can confidently encourage your team members to go out into the local community and speak at user groups, Meetups, and conferences and demonstrate technical leadership that raises awareness of your company as a place to be where great things are happening. These people become talent magnets for your organization. Allowing candidates to share more of themselves through video interviewing gives you greater insight into a cultural fit.

Asking questions about how they would behave in a certain situation helps you determine if they'll work well within a team. Evaluating body language is much easier through a digital interviewing and it takes less time and money than meeting with a candidate in person before the final hiring stages, only to find out that they aren’t a good cultural fit for your organization.

In addition to Dan Medlin’s points above, we've learned that, especially with software engineers, screening is essential to ensure that a candidate not only has the skills they claim to have on a resume but that they make technical decisions and build tools in a manner that will work with the team you have in place. Our effort to successfully source and screen these very specialized candidates is through various coding challenges. Sending out a link to candidates with questions allows you to gather video responses to gauge personality, communication style, and cultural fit as well as coding questions to gauge technical capability.

If you're worried about plagiarism and cheating on the tests then you can include a video question after the challenge and have the candidate explain their solution. Combining coding tests and video questions is both powerful and reliable.

Sourcing the right tech talent for your organization requires strategy, structure, and screening. Don’t stand in your own way of finding the tech talent you need in whatever discipline - take advantage of new software and innovative technical recruiting tools to set your organization apart, and attract top talent to your team.

Connect with Loren Larsen, Chief Technology Officer of HireVue on LinkedIn or Twitter to continue to follow the trends and conversation around tech recruiting.