Looking Beyond the Resume to Discover Top IT Talent

Finding the right talent for your organization, whether at the entry or executive level, can be a time- and resource-consuming process. Whether located in Silicon Valley or across the country, companies face significant difficulties in sourcing and screening qualified IT talent, from finding qualified applicants in the midst of a nationwide shortage of technical talent, to ensuring they have the necessary skills to be successful.

Not only must candidates have technical knowledge, but they must also possess characteristics that will make them a good fit for the organization. And oftentimes, recruiters and hiring managers are expected to assess their candidates’ coding skills, but this can be difficult if they don’t possess that knowledge themselves.  As a result, they may be unable to validate a candidate’s skill until much later in the process, and likely have wasted resources vetting individuals that sound great on paper, but don’t measure up in the end.

There are a number of methods that sourcers and recruiters can use to ensure that they’re connecting with the right IT talent, whether or not they come from a technical background.

Leveraging social networks and niche communities

Social media provides a great tool for attracting potential talent and engaging with candidates before they even apply.  With a robust and dynamic Facebook page, an active Twitter account, a compelling Coderwall profile, and a presence on the ever expanding array of social media sites, organizations can promote their unique brand directly to the individuals they hope to attract. Proactive searches using Facebook Graph search or new tools like Entelo help you find candidates who might be ready to make a move.

Another approach to engage job seekers and gain more interest in the company is to hold contests, such as a “hackathon,” to not only draw attention but also enable candidates to show off their skills.  Such a strategy presents the company as a fun and challenging place to work, but more importantly, it gives recruiters key insight into candidates’ abilities and the strengths they can bring.

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Measuring skills early and objectively

Employers can learn even more about potential employees by objectively screening IT candidates’ coding abilities; recruiters can ensure they consider individuals based on their proven skillsets and not on what appears in their resumes. The newest emerging digital interviewing technology provides a completely automated process for screening the technical ability of candidates that includes a number of exercises and challenges to provide insight into their skills. Available in a variety of programming languages to ensure candidates have the skills needed for the job, employers can ask IT candidates to validate their reasoning during challenges through a video prompt. This screening technology even allows employers to invite IT talent to complete the coding challenges with a sharable universal link that can be posted via social media channels, in niche talent communities, or at career fairs.  Because all candidates are asked the same questions, employers get a more objective view to ensure the best-fit talent is identified.

Any recruiter or hiring manager, regardless of their own coding and software knowledge, can administer the challenges, eliminating the need for a technical manager or engineer to screen candidates for them.

Identify the best IT professionals

Without a consistent approach to measuring the technical capability, organizations may be letting the best IT candidates fall through their fingers, and without the right social strategy, they might not be connecting with that talent in the first place.  Consider a recent college graduate who may lack a great deal of professional experience but whose technical capability exceeds those of a more experienced candidate. By evaluating the resume alone, such a candidate would likely be passed over in favor of candidates with more extensive experience.  But experience doesn’t always translate to ability. When all candidates are objectively considered based on the same criteria and challenges, the company can evaluate them on their actual coding skills, and not just what their resume says. As a result, they’ll be able to engage the IT talent that will help their company foster innovation and support demand.

Loren Larsen is vice president of Engineering, at HireVue, where he manages the company’s global engineering staff and guides the company's technological development. Larsen is an award-winning technology veteran with more than 20 years of engineering and research experience. Previously he led the development of innovative mobile device applications and video relay services for the Deaf as director of Engineering and Mobile Products at Sorenson Communications and served as vice president of Engineering at Move Networks, where he was responsible for development of the Move online HD video player. Larsen is also co-founder and a board member for Pepun.com, which enables independent filmmakers to market and monetize their films online. He earned both a master’s and bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Clemson University and the University of Utah, respectively.

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