Historically, volume hiring for generalist roles has always been possible. It has also always been notoriously hard to find quality Software Engineers and within the new digital economy, software engineers are still one of the most sought-after commodities.
With so many more thousands of people graduating with Computer Science degrees every year and top companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook attracting attention from them almost immediately, it can be very tough to drive in the best candidates if you’re not a household name. To aid my network in their searches to land quality engineers in abundance, I've taken a quick dive into a few things that can impact volume hiring in the Software Engineering space.
In the fast-moving Digital Transformation space, from a deliverable perspective, hiring managers are skeptical about bringing on engineers who are a bit rough around the edges as it can take some time to get them up to speed – which in result means that they will not be able to meet deadlines. A quality full-stack engineer that will be able to come in and run with the team right away is hard to find, so when you do come across one that is interested in your organization, make sure you are striking while the iron is hot. In this step of the process, time is certainly of the essence. Once candidates are excited about the potential of an opportunity with your organization, do not be afraid to contact them right away. In this market, some of the strongest candidates are the people who are not active in searching for new roles but keep an open mind to what’s out there, so make sure you are creating a positive experience immediately. The idea behind this is to make the process feel welcoming from initial contact through successful placement in your team and beyond. Majority of the time, companies lose out on quality engineers because they don't get in touch in a timely manner. Communication is key as it confirms to candidates, especially the ones who are passive, that they made the right decision putting themselves in the market.
In a market where every specialist you speak to is "hands on", coding interviews are a necessary evil to understand the difference between people who are just adding features onto existing systems/products or if they are building solutions and coding from scratch. Although this is one of the necessities needed to justify your judgement of hiring a candidate, it’s not the only thing – you need to know how they can contribute to your team’s environment. If you make this the 1st step of the process, you’re shifting the interviewing experience to feel less personable and more robotic - which can have a negative impact on any candidate’s judgement of your company. Before candidates will completely invest their time and go out of their way to making career changing decisions, they want to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel they are heading into.
Although it can be challenging at a volume scale, create a tailored interview experience for candidates so you have a good idea that they are not just a good fit for your technical requirements but are able to contribute to your environment immediately and raise the bar. After initial communication welcoming the candidate to your interview process, schedule a time for them to meet people that they will be working with (Senior Engineers, Technical Leads, Managers, etc.) either onsite or virtually. It's an awesome way for candidates to understand what they’re getting themselves into and if your organization is a place, they can envision themselves thriving in. Early on in my recruitment career, I was always told that the best candidates are usually ones that are able to explain what they do to anyone, so for someone who IS working in their field, this is a way for hiring managers to really dive deep to uncover what a candidates capabilities are and if they can clearly explain everything that is listed on their resumes.
Working in this market, the one common factor relating to unsuccessful processes I seem to run into is untimely feedback or never hearing back from interviews. Constant feedback is key to a positive interviewing experience. Through volume hiring, it is easy to lose track of your pipeline and hard to stay on top of efficiently communicating with all potential hires. Whether it's scheduling the next steps of the process or making an offer - keeping candidates in the loop with clear communication, even with the slightest of movement is better than time spent in the dark. What untimely feedback does is creates an insecurity in the mind of the candidates and a bad taste for your organization:
- "Am I not a fit for the team?"
- "I thought it went great but haven't heard back so they must not like me."
- "I like this role but since the company hasn’t got back to me, I’m not sure they’re a fit for me – very unprofessional. Maybe I should just focus on my other opportunities."
Through my successes and failures scaling teams in the software engineering market, I've noticed that these are the most common deciding factors between successfully scaling your team through volume hiring and losing them to your competitors.
To my future clients, what are some of the problems you run into while volume hiring Software Engineers?