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Why Tech Screening Fails to Uncover True Talent

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Running a small business is not easy. It takes research, smarts, and self-confidence – and a measure of fearlessness to excel at it. Most times you end up in situations where you’ll ask yourself : Am I headed in the right direction? What does the future hold for me? Am I building a team that can weather uncertainties?

Also, software is fast eating the world and no business can sustain itself without the right technology and technologists.

At HackerEarth, we help businesses hire and screen better and we wanted to share some of our wisdom with you.

So, we’ve rounded up the essential steps to hiring your dream tech team, including cost saving hacks to attract and screen developers, ways to use coding tests, and more.

The Cost of a Bad Hire

Bad hiring is a costly mistake and everyone knows about it. If you are a small or medium enterprise, this could truly wreak havoc on your business.

How can a bad hire affect your business?

  • Onboarding expenses: If you’re a recruiter, you’d understand the countless number of training hours and resources you put in to bring a new candidate upto speed. These onboarding costs could become a sunk cost if the candidate isn’t the right fit.
  • Productivity losses: Imagine you hire an employee who turns out to be a bad hire and work comes to a standstill. In this case, other employees should pick up where this employee has left off and take on additional responsibilities. This could hurt efficiency and morale and could lead to greater attrition.
  • Recruiting effort: The amount of money and time you spend sourcing candidates, screening and interviewing them, and making offers can never be recovered. Imagine all the effort into finding that right hire and he/she turns out to be far from ‘right’!

1 in 3 small business employers estimated bad hires cost them more than $25,000 and nearly 1 in 5 said it cost them more than $50,000


You can avoid all of these if you streamline your recruiting efforts to attract, screen, and interview those who are a sure-shot fit for your organization.

5 hiring strategies to attract the right developers

If you are just starting to build a tech team, you would need some great developers to bring your ideas to life. As a recruiter, you know a challenge is up ahead when you’re tasked with finding the right tech talent for your organization. This gets even tougher when thousands of other recruiters like you are also doing the same thing.

1. Rope in talent from developer communities

Tech communities are full of potential hires waiting to be discovered. Here is a great example of leveraging a developer community like GitHub to make your collaborative hiring goals come true:

Collaborative hiring via GitHub

GitHub is one of the world’s largest code hosts, with close to 31 million developers. A developer’s GitHub profile gives you a wealth of information. Before you start shortlisting profiles on GitHub, make sure that the developer is open to recruiters approaching him/her with jobs. Once this is sorted, follow these steps to find the best talent on GitHub. Other great forums to find some amazing developer talent include StackOverflow, Kaggle, HackerEarth, and HackerNews

2. Conduct virtual job fairs and online assessments

This is not exactly a cost free way of sourcing talent but it is comparatively cheaper than conventional hiring. Companies such as VFairs offer an online platform to run your own virtual job fair

Here are 5 steps to host a seamless virtual job fair:

  • Create an easy-to-navigate custom landing page for applicants
  • Make sure your vendor provides multi-platform compatibility
  • Incorporate audio, video, and text-based chat capabilities
  • Conduct a webinar on the do’s and don’ts before the job fair
  • Include online take-home goodies such as gift cards and vouchers for candidates

3. Attend local meetups

You can find a lot of free events in your locality on Meetup. Shortlist for events that align with your recruiting goals.

However, you must know that there is no silver bullet for making meetups work for you. You need to dedicate time to build a presence in the developer community

4. Leverage social media to build a developer brand

Social media can do wonders for your brand if used the right way. Here are some practices by LinkedIn that you can learn to help your hiring updates get viewed by the right candidates:

  • A video in your update can increase engagement by 74%.
  • A link in your update can increase engagement by 84%.
  • A photo in your update can increase engagement by 147%.
  • Keep it short—the top 50 status updates have an average count of 120 characters.

5. Make your tech team your brand advocate

Your tech team is a first-hand proof of what you stand for as a developer brand so it is very important that they are your strongest advocates. Running a referral program can help you close some key positions, fast. You could include perks like handsome referral bonuses and a chance to win some awesome tech gadgets.

Now that you’ve successfully attracted potential candidates, it’s time to screen them so only the ones who are a right fit for your organization move forward in the funnel.

The right technical screening methods could bring down your time-to-hire by 50% and save 87% of your hiring cost!

10 cost-saving hacks while screening developers

Technical screening is the most important part of your tech hiring process. If you go wrong here, you could be losing out on potential talent or you could even end up pushing the wrong candidates down your hiring funnel. Let us look at some screening hacks that can help you avoid a few hiring mistakes while helping you save some big bucks.

Hack #1 : Do no more than a super focused phone tech screening interview. Spend no more than 15-20 mins with each candidate on the phone.

Hack #2 : Once a developer clears a phone screen, send across a coding test to evaluate them. Developers generally take an average of 3 days to take this test and we’ve seen that tests sent on Tuesdays get the fastest response.

Hack #3 : 80% of college students admit to cheating at least once during their educational career. Have anti-cheating mechanisms in place such as disabling copy paste options and tab switching as well as restricting IP addresses.

Hack #4 : Deal with bias, unconscious or not. Mask details such as name, orientation, gender, race, and pedigree where you’re most likely to find bias.

Hack #5 : Candidate experience can make or break your developer brand. Simple things like having an option to chat with the recruiter during the coding test and sending out personalized emails to candidates can help.

Hack #6 : Before you schedule an interview, get to know your candidate better. This can be done through a personalized open-ended questionnaire.

Hack #7 : Once candidates pass the coding test, evaluate them remotely using live video interviews. According to Glassdoor, the best time to schedule a video screen is 10:30 in the morning on a Tuesday( again!)

Hack #8 : If you are planning to conduct multiple video interviews, try to space them out in intervals of 25 minutes each. Try the Pomodoro technique which can give your candidates a much needed breather

Hack #9 : Once the video screening is done, update candidates on their performance, even if they don’t make the cut. You could try to follow Stacy Zapar’s Friday Feedback Blitz for this.

Hack #10 : Build a feedback loop to learn and improve. You could set up an automated feedback reminder once the video screen ends.

9 tech skills small businesses need to hire for in 2020

Now that we’ve covered how you can both attract and screen developers, let us look at some hot tech skills that small businesses need to hire for in 2020.

JavaScript : The Stack Overflow Developer survey results show that about 69.7% of 90,000 professional developers stated JavaScript is the most commonly used programming language.The language is at the heart of several prominent tech companies, such as Netflix, PayPal, Groupon, LinkedIn, and Walmart.

Python : Python is one of the most popular programming languages used by the top 25 unicorn companies in the US. Here is a complete guide to hiring a Python developer.

Java : This article by the Dev Community speaks about how Java is unarguably one of the most popular programming languages in the world today

Rust : Tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have invested in Rust as a long term system programming language because it is expected to replace a lot of C and C++ development. In fact, PyPl has ranked Rust 18th in the Popularity of Programming Language Index, with an upward trend.

ReactJS : As per a Stack Overflow report, ReactJS is the most wanted and most loved web framework. Other than Facebook and Instagram, ReactJS is adopted by the BBC, Netflix, and PayPal.

Docker : With cloud and Docker becoming significantly linked every day, the demand is only expected to grow. Therefore, if your employees want a wonderful future in DevOps in 2020, they need to have a strong understanding of Docker tools.

NumPy and Pandas : There would be no Data Science in Python without NumPy and Pandas. NumPy and Pandas are expected to be in the race of tech skills to hire for in 2020.

Kotlin : Kotlin was designed to be interoperable with Java which makes Android development faster and enjoyable. Brands like Pinterest and Coursera have already moved to Kotlin due to its strong tooling support.

Django : Many Python development services, as well as major companies such as Spotify and YouTube, use Django. Developers describe it as “batteries included”, which means that it comes with a variety of third-party libraries.

Hottest tech skills to hire for in 2020







NumPy and Pandas



Now that we have highlighted some of the hottest tech skills to hire for in 2020, it’s time to up your recruitment game.

How can you screen candidates based on skills using coding tests

Now that we’ve armed you with some sourcing and screening hacks as well some tech skills that you could hire for your business this year, we’ll now show you how to screen developers for some of these skills using a coding test.

What are coding tests?

Coding tests let you assess developers for a variety of programming skills ranging from basic ones like C and C++ to more advanced topics like Big Data

How do you create a coding test?

The easiest way to create a coding test is to sign up for an online assessment platform. For example, if you are looking to hire a frontend developer with tech skills such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript, you can:

  • How do you create a coding test? Directly create a test by selecting the required skills. The automated test creation pre-populates your test with a set of questions for the skills you are looking to hire for
  • Select the desired experience level ( beginner level developer or a more advanced one) as well as the difficulty level (easy, medium, and hard)
  • Roll out this test to your candidate database by sharing an online test invite
  • Allow candidates to anonymously take this test to prevent unconscious biases
  • Identify top performers at a glance and make data-driven decisions through in-depth analytics and reports

Once you shortlist candidates, you can also interview them further on their programming skills using an unbiased video interviewing platform for developers. This is how you can create a coding assessment to test skills for Python, Java, and JavaScript.

5 ways coding tests can improve your technical screening process

1. They can help you reduce time-to-hire

Time-to-hire measures how quickly a recruiter is able to hire a candidate. Skill-based assessments reduce the number of tech screening rounds, thus reducing the time to-hire.

A skill-based assessment can bring down your time-to-hire by 50%!

2. They can help you reduce your cost-per-hire

The cost-per-hire is the total cost involved in hiring an employee. Technical assessments allow you to hire at scale at much lesser costs

A skill-based assessment can save 87% of your hiring cost!

3. You can improve the quality of your tech hires

Quality of hire is the value a new employee brings to your company. This depends on how successful you are at finding candidates who are the right fit for your organization. Skill assessments can help you screen and shortlist talented developers quickly

70% of the candidates who passed a skill-based assessment ended up
getting hired!

4. You can scale your tech hiring

As your organization grows, your hiring requirements also grow. Skill assessments help you scale your hiring process through automated candidate screening, allowing you to screen more candidates in less time.

Companies have speed up their hiring cycle by 98% through assessments!

5. You can increase recruiter bandwidth

Recruiter bandwidth is the time and resources at the disposal of a recruiter. As all tactical aspects of hiring are taken care of by the skill assessment platform, it frees up more time for recruiters to concentrate on other aspects of hiring.

A skill assessment platform can increase recruiter bandwidth by 66%!

There you have it…our tried and tested guide for screening great developers. We hope we’ve helped you save some dollars and time, whilst helping you hire only the best for your organization. Let us know how this works out for you. For any queries, write to us at