Naturally, every company wants the best and brightest programmers
– but what’s the best way to identify those people?
As those in the HR profession are well aware, subjective
assessments of candidates through conversations and interactions
are crucial and reduce the risk of making bad hires, which
are costly for organizations and demotivating for employees.
Understanding the interpersonal skills you can’t glean from reading
resumes is the reason most interviews happen, and much of
the information gained during the interview is invaluable to determine
if the candidate will integrate well within the established
There are countless subjective characteristics to consider: Do I
want to work with him? Are they engaged and enthusiastic? Will
she enrich our culture? Each position, candidate and interviewer
is unique, and a magic formula for evaluating people skills and cultural
fit doesn’t exist.
On the other hand, it is possible to objectively assess the technical
skills of candidates. Doing so facilitates recruiting at scale to
save HR teams time, eliminate bias, reduce engineering resources
wasted by interviewing unqualified candidates and provide a common
language to fill the knowledge gap between HR professionals
and the technical teams they’re helping.
Increasing the objectivity of the hiring process is especially important
when hiring for technical roles because it serves as a filter to
quickly identify the most skilled programmers to advance through
the hiring pipeline and ensure no one’s time is wasted in the process
– time of the HR team, that of other key decision-makers and
the candidates. Identifying and evaluating the strengths of potential
new hires early on ensures only candidates with skills best fit
for the position move on to in-person interviews and increases the
chance they’ll be successful in their new role.
With objective assessments, all candidates complete the same
job-specific tasks, with the same instructions. Subsequently, the
same assessment criterion is used to evaluate their results. The
outcome is feedback that even non-technical HR professionals can
understand and use to make informed hiring recommendations:
How quickly can they identify and resolve problems? What process
do they use to do so? How well do their skills and approach
fit what the company is looking for?
“Objective assessments get us through the vetting process faster
and help us determine whether to move forward with someone at
each stage in the recruiting process,” said Beth Sallomi, global HR
and talent operations leader at Fandom. “We can get a better sense
of a candidate’s capabilities through real-life examples.”
Another byproduct of reducing human involvement early in the
hiring process is the elimination of potential bias. An objective assessment
isn’t influenced by where a candidate went to school, who
the candidate knows, a person’s gender or any other factors that
may consciously or subconsciously influence hiring decisions. It’s
simply an apples-to-apples comparison of each candidate’s skills.
Everything you can learn about each candidate is informative
and potentially valuable, but basing candidate screenings on signals
like education background and work experience might unnecessarily
eliminate strong candidates with non-traditional backgrounds.
It even has the potential to introduce unnecessary positive bias
based on the prestige of their college or past employers.
Relying on traditional indicators shouldn’t be the only determinants
used to make hiring decisions – especially in an industry
where the most successful professionals often take non-traditional
paths to get there. By marrying subjective and objective recruiting
methods, HR teams can successfully and efficiently find and hire
new employees with the best long-term potential. n
Natalia Panowicz is the chief operating officer at Codility.
IDENTIFYING AND EVALUATING THE STRENGTHS OF POTENTIAL NEW
HIRES EARLY ON ENSURES ONLY CANDIDATES WITH SKILLS BEST FIT FOR
THE POSITION MOVE ON TO IN-PERSON INTERVIEWS AND INCREASES
THE CHANCE THEY’LL BE SUCCESSFUL IN THEIR NEW ROLE.
38 ❚ JULY 2017 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL