You submitted a resume and cover letter; the phone screen; one to four in person interviews; and finally the hire or the “sorry, you’re not a fit for us right now” phone call. Sure, there were variations. Some of my business school friends were asked about CapEx ratios and my software engineer friends were asked how to move Mount Fuji ten feet to the left, but the basic process was the same.
Have you encountered a new technique a company used to hire a software engineer? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Now there are some companies that are trying to change that.
There are a few systemic problems in hiring software engineers. First, demand in many areas hugely outpaces supply. In places like Boston, Silicon Valley, New York, RTP in North Carolina, and other places, there are dozens of engineering jobs that go unfilled for six months or more, simply because it’s hard to find good engineers to fill them.
Second, it’s really hard to know if someone is a good engineer based on a resume and some coding problems. Much of what makes a really effective engineer is the ability to work effectively on a team, the ability to work in an existing code base, patterns and habits that they use, and ability to learn new technologies (and recognize when to use them and when not to!).
So how do we find the good engineers who are on the market? Some companies are trying to help out:
TopCoder hosts online coding competitions, which it uses as a recruiting and evaluation tool to bring great coders to the attention of companies like Google and Facebook.
Quixey also runs online coding competitions focused on bug fixing and speed. Winners are often recruited by the company.
Github defaults profiles to the public, including all open source contributions. Companies are increasingly looking at this to see your work and how you work with others.
StartupWeekend and hackathons bring coders and business types together to show off for each other over a day or so, with the goal of meeting people you want to work with later.
All these companies have one underlying goal: to provide engineers with a forum to show off their skills and help companies make good hiring decisions based on the work… not a coding problem and a conversation.
What new hiring tactics have you encountered?