Covid-19 pandemic has pushed many companies beyond the tipping point to adopt remote working as the new normal. Remote working is quite easy and natural for the knowledge workers – especially those working in the field of software development. This article focuses on how remote working has impacted hiring software engineers and the demands that it puts on the hiring tool being used by the companies.
Accountability and transparency
Talent acquisition managers would no longer have their teams of recruiters next to them. They would feel disconnected and helpless due to the lack of visibility. This feeling would be even more acutely felt while working under time pressure. They will, on a daily basis, need to know what their teams of recruiters have been doing. There has to be a proper measure of performance. E.g. if a recruiter gathers a lot of missing information which results in rejection of the candidate, then the recruiter should be get recognized for saving the time of all the stake holders and for preventing a potential bad hire. Companies should use tools that have proper metrics to measure the performance of their remote teams. In addition to the conventional quantitative metrics such as number of candidates sourced, screened and tested, companies should focus on qualitative measures such as average suitability score. The tool must judiciously assign importance to various selection criteria while determining suitability.
Removing bias and getting feedback
Personal biases introduced by likes and dislikes get discovered in face to face interactions. Decisionmakers subconsciously apply corrections to arrive at an unbiased decision. We need to have a mechanism to remove biases and look at one version of truth in a remote team. A tool that has a metric associated with each selection criterion lends itself well for such a mechanism.
Such a tool would also allow companies to assign relative importance to these selection criteria by assigning weightages. The rationale behind assigning numerical weightages to these selection criteria while calculating the suitability score can be shared with the hiring managers. In fact, hiring managers should be encouraged to fine tune the requirements by refining these weightages. Changing weightages for a reason could be a way to capture and convert verbose feedback into meaningful numbers.
Most companies administer technical tests to assess programming skills. Some of the companies are using on-line technical tests. The pandemic situation has made it virtually mandatory to conduct the technical assessments on-line. Technical assessment can be a quick test with a few MCQs or a grueling code sharing and pairing session. Given the time and attention needed by an expert interviewer to do the later, it might make sense to use the former as a filter. Mobile based gamified tech quiz can make it easy and light for the candidates. There is a bit of a resistance from the senior candidates to undergo online tests. One way to get them to agree is to explain the shortage of technical panels to do a deep dive coding session with each and every candidate. Most of them see the merit of a quick and light quiz as compared to a telephonic round by a non-technical or a semi-technical interviewer.
It is highly desirable for the tool to ensure full video proctoring to avoid cheating. Also the questions that get asked should be picked from a large question bank to avoid repetition. Also the tool should automatically delete questions that everyone can answer or those that no one can answer.
Overcommunication and Collaboration
There’s no watercooler or cafeteria in the virtual world. Information that used to flow unhindered through these social interactions needs to flow even more rapidly to compensate for the lack of attention and context.
There are many tools that capture the first level of information. E.g. A candidate was rejected in an interview or another candidate submitted his quiz. However it lacks the next level of detail or the color. Why was the candidate rejected? Was he not as good at SQL server as we had assessed? Did the other candidate score well? How long did he take to complete the quiz?
There are many questions which don’t get asked because of the social and physical distance. E.g. a TA Manager won’t bump into a hiring manager and casually ask how he is finding the quality of candidates? Or there is no opportunity for a recruiter to ask why a candidate was rejected? Companies should acquire a tool that proactively answers such questions. Every piece of information needs to be supported by next level of data- ready to provide the detail should someone ask. The tool must provide a reason why a candidate should be considered for a job. The tool must tell why the candidate who was top ranked suddenly went down. The tool must encourage the hiring managers proper feedback and advice to the rejected candidates.
Companies should acquire a hiring tool that captures important events and alerts all the interested stakeholders using popular channels like WhatsApp and Skype. It’s also important to make these events actionable by providing links from the message to the appropriate page in the application.
There are multiple people collaborating to get work done. The agency sponsoring the candidate, the hiring manager, competing candidates and the recruiter should be alerted when the candidate successfully completes and submits the technical quiz. The interviewee candidate, the recruiter and the agency would be interested when the interviewer submits her feedback. The prolific alerts for all events would keep all the stakeholders abreast of the situation.
The hiring tool should more than make up for the absence of handshakes and smiles, by providing a world class candidate experience. E.g. even rejected candidates should get proper feedback and valuable career advice. There’s nothing more frustrating than lack of communication that follows the interview. Providing proper feedback with current standing of the candidature in terms of the rank would make your company look very professional and enhance the employer brand value in the larger candidate population.
Conclusion: What has changed and how hiring tools should adapt?
Here are some challenges that hiring tools will need to address
- Remote interviews have already become the norm. Now companies need to get more information about the candidates from all possible channels to make up for the lack of face to face interaction.
- Companies need to identify gaps in the information shared by the candidate in her resume and get all such missing information from the candidate
- Remote hiring is not only about remote interviewing. Companies need to remotely collaborate with all the stake holders including the recruiters, talent acquisition managers, hiring managers, interviewers, vendors and candidates.
- Our tool must present a consistent view of not only the jobs and applicants – but also the status of each applicant in terms of her suitability, rank and interest to all the stakeholders.
- Stakeholders should find easy answers to questions like why candidate X is more suitable than candidate Y and what Y should do to improve her ranking. This will help them drive the process to accurately identify the suitable candidates to minimize waste and disappointment.
- To make up for the lack of warmth afforded by in person interviews, Companies need to go an extra mile to provide not only proper feedback but also some advice to the rejected candidates.
You could request a demonstration of Rezoomex- a hiring tool that promises to address all these challenges