How Hackathons Can Help You Attract, Engage, Hire, And Train Top Talent
Ever since the pandemic hit, employers have had to fill positions without requiring candidates to go through an extensive in-person interview process. As a result, many companies have turned to virtual hiring programs as well as hackathons to reach their recruiting goals. A study found that 40% of companies use a hackathon hiring process as part of their recruitment strategies.
So what exactly is a hackathon and how to conduct one?
What is Hackathon?
Hackathons are events where computer programmers and other technology professionals come together to create new products or solve technological problems. They typically last for several hours and sometimes even go up to several days. Teams are often formed at hackathons, which are made up of people with different skill sets. At the end of the event, these teams present their product or solution to a panel of judges. Hackathon hiring processes are usually sponsored by companies that want to promote innovation within the tech world.
Types of Hackathons
The top 2 types of hackathons are external hackathons and internal hackathons:
- External hackathons:
At an external hackathon hiring process, participants create their own projects. They might work on coding tools, websites, or mobile apps that can be used by other people in the tech world. Employers sponsor these events to find new hires and engage with potential recruits. They also offer a valuable learning experience for attendees or students who may be interested in pursuing a career in technology.
Recommended read – Virtual Hackathons: All You Need To Know
- Internal hackathons:
These are internal or company-sponsored events that allow employees to engage in innovation and creativity. They can be used by companies to find new talent, foster teamwork among employees, and identify job applicants with the most potential.
Recommended read – Internal Hackathons: Drive Innovation And Increase Engagement In Tech Teams
Here’s a closer look at how these hackathons can benefit your organization.
With hackathon recruiting, companies are replacing the intimidating interview setting with a competitive drill where candidates can show their skills. As recruiters get to observe them apply these abilities in real-time they are better placed at analyzing candidate competency and making informed hiring decisions. These projects can be used as portfolios to help participants build their brands and show off what they’ve accomplished. Participants could also use these products as a way to gain exposure or to see if it is feasible for them to turn the project into a business venture.
Recommended read – How To Run The Perfect Virtual Hackathon: Do’s And Dont’s
Its benefits include:
1. Build a diverse team from all around the world:
The hackathon hiring process creates a unique opportunity for people from all over the world to come together and work on a project. Participants who network with these people during hackathons might be able to add them as contacts when they return to the office, thus building company connections that would not have been possible otherwise.
2. Join hands with industry experts:
Industry experts and sponsors of the event actively participate as judges or mentors. This allows them to network with new people and gain access to the latest trends in the tech industry. Attendees make valuable contacts at hackathons which can be beneficial for your company even after the events are over.
3. Expand your developer community:
Companies use the hackathon hiring process to attract developers who might not otherwise come in contact with your brand. This offers a way for you to interact with the tech community and establish new relationships. It also allows you to identify potential candidates who might be looking for a job opportunity
4. Find the best talent for your business:
The hackathon hiring process offers a way to identify the best developer talent in the industry. It also helps you create a larger pool of qualified applicants for future roles. In addition to hiring developers, hackathons can help you identify other employees as well as interns who would be a good fit for your team.
Because hackathons are team-based events, it also allows you to see how candidates interact with their peers. You can assess how comfortable and confident they feel when working alongside others and whether they’re open to feedback and suggestions.
5. Boost corporate branding:
Hackathons offer a great opportunity to increase awareness about your brand and what you have to offer. Corporate hackathon ideas allow companies to showcase their product or service in a new way that is often more effective than advertising campaigns.
Recommended read – Building An Employer Brand: Everything You Need To Know
6. Crowdsource ideas:
Hackathons also offer a valuable way for companies to crowdsource ideas from people who matter the most. People from different departments and backgrounds can share their thoughts on improving daily operations, which allows your team to come up with solutions that would not have been possible otherwise.
Most companies hold internal hackathons for team building. They can be a great way to get your employees excited about their work while allowing them to collaborate and build relationships with one another outside of the normal office environment. Internal hackathon ideas are perfect for tapping into the skills of the company’s workforce.
Participants could be tasked with creating an internal service or tool that solves a particular problem within the company, such as reducing costs or increasing efficiency. At the same time, learning and development programs are also offered at these events which can help employees develop new skills.
Recommended read – Hackathon Survival Guide: What You Need To Know Going Into A Hackathon
This is how it benefits your company:
1. Boosts morale:
Hackathons are a great way to get employees excited about their work again. It creates an environment that fosters teamwork and allows people to interact with each other in ways they normally wouldn’t be able to inside the office. It builds stronger connections between employees which can improve workplace satisfaction overall.
Hackathons can be a great way to build camaraderie among your team members. The shared experience of working on a project as a group allows employees to work together and accomplish tasks they never thought possible. Additionally, the opportunity to interact with other teams in friendly competition helps generate excitement and establish positive relationships.
2. Great team building activity:
Hackathons give employees a fun and rewarding opportunity to get out of their comfort zone. It encourages people to work together towards a common goal while building on each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Employees can also learn new skills that they will be able to use in the future.
3. Employees are pushed out of their comfort zone:
Hackathons encourage employees to work together and build on each other’s strengths. It pushes people out of their comfort zone and allows them the opportunity to try something different.
Hackathons offer a low-risk, cost-effective way for you to promote creativity within your team.
4. Gives employees a chance to enrich their portfolio and grow in their careers:
Hackathons allow employees to try something new and possibly even learn a new skill. It allows them to build on their existing skillset and creates a great addition to anyone’s resume.
5. Employee retention:
Hackathons offer a competitive environment that allows employees to work together and encourage each other. It provides a sense of accomplishment and fun while also giving them something to look forward to.
6. Teams can come up with new products – or even new businesses:
Hackathons are a great way for employees to come up with new ideas that can eventually become successful products or services. For example, Box Brownie, the easy-to-use tool for removing backgrounds from images or enhancing them with professional features; DanceBattle, an innovative app that helps you compete in dancing battles with others using the camera of your phone or laptop, and EchoLoco, the audio map with real-time cues that helps the visually impaired stay safe and move faster in urban areas or crowded places, are all results of internal hackathons.
Hackathons typically last for 24 to 48 hours and bring together large groups of people from the tech community. Competitors compete to build a product or solution that offers a specific benefit, such as improving medical care or connecting communities.
The hackathon hiring process allows companies to scout high potential candidates in the tech world, build relationships with top talent, and provide valuable learning opportunities for potential hires.
Conduct hackathons with HackerEarth
HackerEarth’s online hackathon platform gives companies the opportunity to host internal, corporate, or private hackathons from anywhere in the world.
Following are the benefits of hosting hackathons using HackerEarth:
- It provides a curated experience for your company to get the engagement they need without any bandwidth drain.
- The HackerEarth platform makes it easy to manage your hackathons or hiring challenges from anywhere in the world
- HackerEarth provides a large community of qualified developers who are ready to work with you.
- It lowers your operational costs by ensuring that you are able to meet your hiring goals at a fraction of the cost.
- It helps you build a community of developers and engineers who can become your future employees.
Here are a few HackerEarth Statistics of 2021 alone:
- HackerEarth’s hackathon platform has organized over 134 hackathons creating 6,000+ challenges that helped create 2,000+ prototypes
- More than 60,000 developers registered as participants across the globe
- Over 1,700 companies around the world use HackerEarth’s hiring platform to find their next rockstar developer recruitment.
- 17,000+ tests were created that helped assess 14,00,000+ developers, reducing our clients’ time to hire by half
If you’re not already using hackathons, you may want to consider adding them to your recruiting toolkit. Hackathons can help you identify talented potential employees, engage and hire top performers, and even train new hires. Also, hackathons can be put together quickly and easily with the right tools, such as HackerEarth’s hackathon platform.
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