By Jason Rolles
Employing the correct software engineers in the right role is one of the most important contributors to the success of any business where software development is a strategically important competency. Organizations need to have a good recruitment process in place to hire the candidates that best suit the demands of their existing business.
Recruitment is remarkably costly, especially when hiring managers make the wrong decisions. Mis-hiring is estimated to cost companies at least four times an employee’s annual salary, according to consultancy TopGrading, whilst 2015 Talent Acquisition Factbook research estimated that the cost of recruitment was $4,000 per position filled—in terms of the time invested in candidate reviews and interviews. Employing external recruiters, who can charge up to 25 percent of first year salary for new hires, or buying in systems and other services for internal human resources (HR) departments is a further cost.
The introduction of new technologies provides businesses with opportunities to streamline recruitment processes, cut costs, and improve the way candidates are selected for interview.
The Software Revolution
The prominence of software-based solutions across all business sectors is growing. More businesses are focused on revamping customer experiences through software solutions to stay agile, innovative, and responsive to market changes. Whether it is to build a web, mobile, or desktop application, software developers are needed at every stage of the process. The stakes are high when it comes to software engineers transforming business offerings. With developers in greater demand than supply, what approach should organizations take to fulfill staffing requirements?
Running the Recruitment Risk
Traditional recruitment processes have typically been more or less subjective. Deciding whether or not a candidate is suitable to shortlist for a role often falls to the individual reading an applicant’s résumé and cover letter.
A poor résumé could jeopardize an applicant’s job prospects from the outset. Can you predict a professional’s suitability purely from their job history? Further, whether an applicant is shortlisted depends on which member of the HR team has reviewed their application. Staff turnover within the HR department means changing standards are applied to applicants.
Moreover, assuming that a software engineer has a sufficiently well-presented résumé, they must then shine in an interview with HR or hiring managers. While excellent emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills, and a rapier wit are all great assets to perform well in an interview, they have very little to do with being an outstanding software engineer.
A Soft Solution
Technology is revolutionizing hiring, advancing both cost efficiency and decision making. For example, online coding exams are becoming an increasingly popular way to evaluate developers’ skills. This reduces the impact of the subjectivity of HR and hiring managers evaluating applicants, and provides consistent quantification for all candidates taking a test. However, this consistent basis is limited to each particular test.
An organization should be able to customize a test for each role and simultaneously maintain consistent standards over time for each of the organization’s role types, ranks, and salary grades.
Software now solves these consistency issues, evaluating test candidates as a statistical extrapolation of eventual workplace performance. Such predictions are based on the statistical relationships between how well candidates produce a software solution in an online coding exam and their subsequent workplace performance drawn from a dataset of more than ten billion observations of software engineers interacting with source code working within commercial and public enterprises. The power of this analysis now brings organizations insight into the value an applicant offers.
Online assessments and predictive algorithms serve to remove the subjectivity that is rife in recruitment—and thus any potential for discrimination of applicants. By using a fair and consistent means of evaluating professionals, companies find and hire the right recruits for the right projects. This streamlined and intelligent approach also means larger companies can scale their recruitment processes, selecting the best developers from large candidate pools while minimizing the time recruitment practices take away from key resources.
The Future is Software
Earlier this year, the App Association calculated that there were 223,000 unfilled coding jobs in the U.S. and companies have subsequently touted coding as the new literacy. In August 2016, General Electric’s then CEO, Jeff Immelt, announced that every new hire at the 305,000-person company would be taught how to code. Developers are a hot commodity in the world of business and if used correctly, will significantly optimize a company’s workflow and productivity.
Software developers are in demand for good reason. Companies looking to transform their digital offerings and compete in highly saturated markets need to recruit the most accomplished software developers to meet their business needs. Not only can reliable recruitment software eliminate any subjectivity or discrimination in the selection of job candidates, it can help match professionals to the right projects. Realistic and thorough technical examination of candidates ensures that they are truly eligible for the role to be filled, before being invited for interview. Of course, technology will never replace rigorous interviews, to assess soft skills, but there is a huge potential cost and time saving, as well as increasing the size of an addressable candidate pool in the process leading up to interview stage.
A winning formula for all, when done right these kinds of approaches to recruitment see software developers working in the areas in which they are most accomplished, and companies employing the right candidates more cost effectively. SW
Jason Rolles is the CEO/founder of BlueOptima. The company provides cloud-based big data analytics to optimize the operations of software development organisations. He is an experienced executive in the technology arena, with many years of understanding in programme management, software development, and building technology-driven businesses.