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Why tech hiring is broken – both from the recruiter and employee sides – and what can be done to improve it

The tech industry, especially software, is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, with a demand for highly skilled tech workers of many different types. However, the tech hiring process is broken, and it’s causing problems for recruiters and programmers alike.

The hiring side is broken

From the hiring side, the tech hiring process is broken because it’s often inefficient and time-consuming: too much time is spend screening resumes, doing phone screens, home exercises and in the end it’s very difficult to find viable candidates. This results in a lot of wasted time and efforts for both the recruiter and the candidate.

A top reason for this inefficiency is that: recruiters often rely on outdated hiring methods, such as measuring a candidate’s experience in years instead of their actual skills: e.g. a candidate may have ten years of experience “on paper”, but lack the specific skills required for the job, or just not be great at doing these required skills. Meanwhile, a candidate with less experience but a better skill set may be overlooked, or outright screened out of the hiring process.

Another problem with the technical hiring process from the recruiter’s perspective is that they often don’t have a deep understanding of the technical requirements for the job they’re trying to fill. Recruiters are not technical experts, they don’t have to be smart, they just follow rules from their managers: find candidate with X years of experience in Y. This often leads to confusion, as recruiters struggle to communicate effectively with the hiring managers and technical teams: each of them may have a different opinion regarding what is required of the candidate, and requirements from the technical team may be “lost in translation”.

The programmer/tech person side is broken

On the other side of the equation, consider the programmer trying to get a job. The tech hiring process is broken from his/her perspective as well. One of the biggest complaints from his/her is that they’re often asked to complete time-consuming home exercises as part of the hiring process. These can take hours or even days to complete, and they don’t necessarily reflect the candidate’s ability to do the job.

Often, candidates find that their skills aren’t properly assessed during the hiring process. Instead, they’re judged based on their years of experience or their ability to complete a specific task during the interview – sometimes not the right task, or not the task that the job will require them to fuflill. This can lead to a situation where a highly skilled programmer is passed over because they lack a specific certification, degree, years of experience in X technology.

Another problem with the tech hiring process from the programmer’s perspective: they often don’t have a clear understanding of what the job entails. It’s important for them to understand, first to improve their fit for the position (or disqualify themselves) and also to consider whether it’s the right job for them, whether they should pursue it, and whether they should invest time in a home exercise. Job descriptions can often be vague or misleading, leaving programmers unsure of what they’re expected to do on te job. This may lead to frustration and confusion, as candidates try to assess the job they’re applying for.

Possible solutions

Well, so what can be done to fix this broken tech hiring process? One solution: focus on skills-based hiring instead of experience-based hiring. But everyone is saying that for a long time. It hasn’t materialized yet as a viable alternative to recruiters asking for your “years of experience in X”. This means evaluating candidates based on their ability to do the job, but how can you do that? Perhaps you can create a setting that is very similar to the job environment and let them do a task relevant to the job.

Another improvement: increase communication between recruiters and hiring managers. This will make recruiters smarter and help in their decision making. But they are still not technical, their assessment of the candidate is limited. This does not solve for the technical assessment and/or home exercises.

What we’re trying to do

We think that job candidates are entitled to more respect from hiring managers, and suggest these alternatives:

  • Job candidates will be paid a small sum for finishing a short home assignment
  • Job candidates will be entitled to a 10min video conversation with the technical team leader that is recruiting for his team

This will allow for more respect for the candidate, improve his/her hiring experience, provide him with some feedback, and also make sure he’s not feeling “used” for doing exercises for free.

From the hiring manager side, this results in more candidates finishing the assignment for a negligible price, having a larger candidate pool to choose from, and easier and quicker screening with short video calls with viable candidates.

Join our pilot and get paid to find a job!

We’re running a pilot of this hiring methodology and have some employees interested in providing the money for you to complete a 2-hour home assignment. If you’re interested, please contact us at team@yoman.io and specify your location, skills, and job titles you’re pursuing. We can find remote as well as on-site jobs.

Why tech hiring is broken – both from the recruiter and employee sides – and what can be done to improve it
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