As one of the founders of Interviewstreet, I’m excited and humbled that our company has grown to 1,000+ customers all over the globe. I’m looking forward to a bright, busy future building our platform into the first choice for technical recruiting everywhere.
We launched the product in 2011 because we (the founders) faced the issue of hiring quality programmers ourselves. However, ideas & products evolve and so do we. While Interviewstreet helps you in streamlining your hiring process and saving tons of time, there’s almost always the problem of getting more of the right candidates interested in your company. We have heard from every customer that job sites and ads only go so far. In essence, what would it take to build a large community of programmers who love solving problems in your niche, with some of them potentially interested in working at your company? Sounds fantastic, right?
Today’s post features the wisdom of Greg Hoy, head of Creative Outreach & Integration at Pinterest. Formerly a talent scout at advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky and part of the Design Outreach & Integration effort at Facebook, Greg is justifiably proud of Pinterest’s record of design leadership. The site’s system architecture, explorative experience design, and understanding of cognitive psychology all combine to deliver an addictive product. We were naturally curious to learn Pinterest’s creative methods of hiring creatives. Read and learn!
“Recruiting is marketing” is the new “big data.” The expression has been used so many times by so many people that it downgraded from a shining carriage of trendy buzzword to an annoying cliche pumpkin. Yes, recruiting is a lot like marketing, if you view them both as processes and pipelines. However, when it comes to metrics and data analysis, recruiting has a long way to go to become marketing.
What are the metrics used by recruiters today to measure their work? Typically, unless you are looking at companies using the cutting edge recruiting technology tools, those metrics include number of candidates and hires. But if recruiting is like marketing, shouldn’t we also be looking at more granular and complex metrics, such as source of candidates (hello, marketing channels) and efficiency of investments into various recruiting sources (hello, ROI)? And shouldn’t we introduce the concept of time to our recruiting metrics, monitoring how long it takes to close jobs (hello, time to close)?
While we’re doing tons of exciting things to add new features to our product (expanding how Interviewstreet is leveraged by our customers in the tech recruiting space), we also spent time in the past month improving our existing platform.
Using Interviewstreet should be efficient, informative and intuitive.
Getting the phone screen wrong is a pricey mistake. After pre-qualification with a programming challenge, technical skills have been initially vetted but it’s important to get the phone interview right to complete a winning combination. Here’s a roundup of advice from expert programmers to ensure phone screens with programmers are efficient and effective:
Can They Code? Programming Questions 2.0
Candidates coding in real-time while on the phone is a necessary part of any phone screen, (it’s one of Steve Yegge’s five essential elements in his old but still valuable post on the topic). Yegge describes the process used years ago to get this done:
“Give them a few minutes to write and hand-simulate the code. Tell them they need to make it syntactically correct and complete. Make them read the code to you over the phone. Copy down what they read back. Put it into your writeup.”
However, tech solutions have arrived to support the technical phone screen after Yegge wrote article, including Interviewstreet’s CodePair, a tool we built to seamlessly facilitate coding during phone interviews. With CodePair, you have all of the features of a dev environment to make the experience as realistic as possible, so you can spend more time on discussion and none on the candidate reading their code over the phone. CodePair also has a handy playback feature so a reviewer can take a look at how a candidate built their code after the phone interview has ended, for example.
As online knowledge spreads and shapes the offline world, Quora has established itself in the information marketplace as the place to ask questions and get real, thorough, thoughtful answers from people with first-hand experience. The problem that they partnered with Interviewstreet to solve, however, is:
How do you connect a brand—that’s built on interaction and powered by community participation—with the most curious, engaged users out of thousands?
To find candidates that are excited about Quora content and community for potential employment, the solution is to invite participants to custom challenges that mimic the projects a Quora engineer might experience. Quora uses the Interviewstreet platform to host CodeSprints: timed competitions in which Quora poses programming questions for the participants to solve in exchange for cash prizes, Quora swag, even office hours with Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo. But more than that, Quora piques the curiosity and engages the creativity of skilled problem-solvers through Interviewstreet.
The Next 36 (N36), a national program for Canada’s top young innovators, is searching for a Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs of their own by developing the next generation of entrepreneurs. What Y Combinator is to the Silicon Valley startup scene, N36 is building for Canada: the premier and exclusive incubator to accelerate the best young entrepreneurs in the country.
With an acceptance rate of 4% (Y Combinator averages 3%), the intensive nine-month startup bootcamp program is geared toward undergrads and offers up to $95,000 of seed capital to each N36 venture. In addition to launching a new fleet of innovative new concepts, the goal is to reverse the long-standing Canadian cautiousness in tech investment. Valley counterparts swallow risk regularly in search of big payoffs, but investment funding in Canada has yet to become widely acclimated to the high-risk, high-reward system of tech entrepreneurship. Changing that reality may seem like a Herculean task, but N36 is sowing the Canadian startup scene with the best and freshest innovation material. “Our goal is to take top undergraduates — the most promising, driven, high achieving, innovative undergraduates at a really pivotal point in their lives — and give them an really extraordinary set of experiences and relationships that will change the trajectory of their careers,” N36 executive director Claudia Hepburn says.
Most recruiters have never “hired 3,000 of the most exceptional super-nerds on the planet on a mission to make human life multi-planetary”, but Dolly Singh is comfortable on the road less traveled.
The former head of talent acquisition at SpaceX, Singh has a career that’s as unconventional as her recruiting strategy. Hired after graduation (from UCLA with a B.A. in psychology) by a boutique staffing agency, she sourced from the upper echelon of the aerospace and defense industry as demand contracted after the dot-com bubble burst. Singh developed her straightforward approach early: “Do your homework, understand the market and industry, find out who the best people are, and pick up the phone,” she says. Fearless when approaching the world’s top innovators; Singh acknowledges that while recruiting is a numbers game and leveraging technology to drive pipeline is important, nothing can replace the human factor. “It’s much harder for someone to tell me ‘no’ when I’m on the phone with them than in an email.”
After her early success came children and several years of working for herself, but Singh was ready to build a team for Elon Musk when SpaceX came calling.
If you’re a technical recruiter, of course you have a “strategy” for “positioning your company” to students at campus recruiting events. But are top grads buying what you’re selling? Or should your campus recruiting pitch get an overhaul in favor of candidates’ changing priorities? These three tactics can pique a candidate’s interest and differentiate you from the cutthroat competition for the best minds in the room… especially at crowded campus recruiting events that can feel like cattle-calls.
Integrate ‘gamification’ into the campus recruiting process wherever possible with contests, giveaways, and challenges of all kinds.
Communicate concrete examples of your company’s culture of innovation and individualism. Remember: you’re competing with Google, whether you’re ready or not.
Connect the dots on how a candidate’s contribution can have maximum positive impact on society, how the work they accomplish will affect more than the company’s bottom line.
“In 2012, 33% of employers named lack of technical competencies/hard skills as the most common reason for difficulty filling jobs.” - 2012 Manpowergroup.us Survey
With all indications pointing to a talent skills gap on the rise, technical recruiters need to establish best practices to attract, evaluate and retain new hires. Johanna Rothman, author or Hiring Geeks that Fit, shares her insights on how you can develop a successful recruiting strategy when scouring for programming talent. Continue reading