CXO

No CS degree? For skilled developers, 75% of hiring managers don't care

When hiring tech talent, degrees are less important than previous work experience and personal projects, according to HackerRank.

Resume-based tech hiring may soon be a thing of the past, as companies seek out developer talent in a competitive market, according to a Tuesday report from HackerRank.

Some 75% of the 1,000 tech recruiters and hiring managers surveyed in the report said they've hired a great candidate from a non-traditional background. Since more than 70% of developers are at least partially self-taught, vetting candidates only by having a computer science degree means you are missing out on millions of skilled workers, the report noted.

Strong work experience is the most important qualification that recruiters and hiring managers look for when filling tech positions, the report found. However, resume-bolstering factors like degree, prestige, and skill keywords are not accurate predictors of future job success, according to the report. Instead, hiring managers and recruiters are looking to indicators that demonstrate ability, such as previous work experience, years of work, and personal projects, which get closer at measuring a candidate's skills.

SEE: IT Hiring Kit: Programmer (Tech Pro Research)

Recruiters and hiring managers generally report a good relationship, with 76% of those surveyed saying they feel their relationship is "good" or "excellent," according to the report. However, there is a disconnect in how to measure success when seeking out candidates to fill an open position. While both recruiters and hiring managers say the quality of candidate in terms of skills and culture fit is the top success metric in tech recruiting, recruiters say hiring someone quickly is a bigger priority than that candidate's future performance success.

"Recruiters have a unique challenge: Hire great people, but also hire fast," the report stated. "Meanwhile, it's common for hiring managers to rather not hire at all than hire the wrong person."

Hiring managers' top three measures of success in recruiting were quality of candidate, future performance success, and employee retention, the report found.

Failing to align on skills and expectations for candidates are two of the top hurdles facing hiring managers when it comes to working with recruiters, the report found. To solve this problem, recruiters should regularly check in with hiring managers to understand the nuances of the technical skills hiring managers are looking for in each open role. For example, what are the crucial must-have skills for a fullstack developer versus a back-end developer? This can help narrow down the pool of qualified candidates.

For recruiters, top challenges are getting timely feedback from hiring managers, as well as aligning on expectations—which means companies run the risk of creating a poor candidate experience and losing out on a great hire in a competitive market.

SEE: IT jobs 2018: Hiring priorities, growth areas, and strategies to fill open roles (Tech Pro Research)

Hiring managers and recruiters agree that finding qualified candidates is the most difficult and time-consuming part of tech hiring, the report found. And finding those candidates most often comes down to who you know: Referrals are the no. 1 way that recruiters and hiring managers find tech talent, according to the report, with 59% of people using them. They were followed by job portals (51%), coding communities (27%), and university recruiting (25%).

"While referrals can be a good source for talent, they can also lead to homogeneous teams and companies, ultimately affecting overall diversity and leading to bidding wars for the same limited pool of pedigreed talent," the report stated. "Companies should use a more standardized approach to find and evaluate hires based on skill."

That means every referral candidate should go through the same evaluation and interview process as other candidates, the report noted, and the interview panel should not be influenced by the referee.

In terms of strengthening the technical recruiting process, recruiters see the value in building a strong tech talent brand to better appeal to talent, the report found. This involves creating public-facing assets, like engineering blogs and conference speaking opportunities, as well as creating a local community around your product or service. Companies like Stripe, Slack, and Twilio have created brands that are beloved by developers, the report noted.

"Strong tech talent branding is a long-term investment," the report stated. "The stronger the brand, the more organic applicants you get, and the easier it is to attract talent in the future."

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • 75% of tech recruiters and hiring managers said they've hired a great candidate from a non-traditional background. — HackerRank, 2018
  • Referrals, job portals, and coding communities are the top ways recruiters and hiring managers find tech talent. — HackerRank, 2018

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/nd3000

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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