Despite concerns about the post-pandemic job market, most companies across industries are ready to up their hiring. Recruiters are thus focusing on building hiring strategies that allow large candidate pools to be screened quickly and accurately.
This can pose a challenge for technical roles, which usually call for highly specialized skill sets that need their own evaluation process. It gets even more complicated when the recruiter is not from a technical background and does not have first-hand knowledge of the lingo.
Luckily, the answer to this does not involve going back to school for an engineering degree. If you are a recruiter, read on for some handy tips on screening for technical roles and making the right choices each time for your company.
What is technical screening?
Technical screening is the process by which technical candidates who have made it past the initial round of resume screening are evaluated for their technical skills. It is an intensive process that requires a foolproof assessment method for coding skills, IT security knowledge, programming abilities, problem-solving approach and other must-haves for the job.
Technical screening can take the form of a predetermined assessment or an interview where skills are tested in real time for fair evaluation and decision-making.
How technical screening benefits companies
Recruiting for any role requires an accurate idea of each candidate’s abilities. For technical positions, for example, choosing between a sound engineer and a merely average one could make or break the product. A structured tech screening process, however, can help you in the following ways:
1. Lower turnover
When you invest more time in screening for technical ability, you are more likely to pick a candidate who is the right fit and has long-term prospects in the company. Given how expensive it can be to replace turnovers (30-50% of the annual salary for entry-level positions alone), making the right decision is vital, especially the first time around.
2. No unconscious bias
By removing the human element and assessing candidates with predefined questions, technical screening ensures that candidates are chosen on merit alone. It does not let your unconscious bias get in the way.
3. Less time and money spent
Technical screening streamlines the hiring process and helps you identify good fits much sooner - without breaking a sweat.
4. Getting the right people in time
The demand for top tech talent is much higher than the supply. So if you are looking to add the best people to your roster, you will need to be efficient in your hiring, which is where structured assessments can help.
5. Finding reliable skill practitioners
Technical screening assessments verify that the candidate understands the core concepts of the skill and can apply them well enough to do justice to the job.
How recruiters can improve their technical screening
Recruitment starts as soon as you identify the need to fill a job position and ends when a candidate accepts the offer. Adding structure to the process helps you oversee all activities, keep the team on track, and simply get the job done quickly.
Plus, when you work closely with the hiring team, you can determine all the criteria a potential employee must meet, reduce the time to fill, and enable fair candidate evaluation.
So, first things first, get the job opening approved before posting an ad and discuss the recruiting budget for the position, draft the job description, and assemble the hiring team. Then, follow the steps outlined:
1. List all sources of talent
The first step is to identify an initial pool of talent you can screen for suitability. You could start an employee referral program, look up the profiles of candidates who were part of previous recruitment drives, or upload jobs on portals like GitHub, Monster or LinkedIn. You may also want to work with a professional talent sourcing agency to collate a set of profiles.
2. Identify the right technical screening tool
Perhaps the most effective way to hire tech talent is by conducting a skills test focusing specifically on the skills required for the job. However, some of the challenges faced by recruiters in conducting assessments for technical roles include:
- The tests conducted take too long to complete.
- The tests are too generic or irrelevant to the role at hand.
- The tests are not appropriately evaluated and accurately. Besides, there is a chance that the online environment is unfamiliar to them.
Several tech screening tools enable a blend of pre-designed and custom pre-employment assessment tests. Some features you should look for in a tool include:
- Auto report generation
- A good repository of relevant questions
- Quality video interviewing and proctoring
- Assessment of multiple parameters with competitive scoring
- Ability to conduct bulk assessments for easier recruiting at scale
- Ability to communicate with candidates through emails and automated notifications
3. Determine an excellent Applicant Tracking System you can trust
Applicant Tracking System or ATS typically make use of AI technology and keyword-based filters to parse resumes and find relevant candidate profiles. Basically, the tool is a time-saver! You can sort out a large volume of resumes quickly.
What is more - you can also schedule candidate interviews, send messages to your team members and post jobs to multiple job boards - from the ATS itself! It truly makes your life easier, so be sure to incorporate one in your hiring process.
4. Create a technical hiring cheat sheet
A technical recruiting cheat sheet lists all the concepts and terms you need to bear in mind when hiring for a technical role. The document comprises basic definitions, language requirements, and necessary soft skills in a simple format that helps you gauge the skills of a candidate. It can give you plentiful information, empowering you to converse freely (and smartly) with a candidate.
Here are the key benefits of a technical hiring cheat sheet:
- Greater clarity when drafting job descriptions
- Enhanced trust for both candidates and hiring teams
- Improved ability to screen and test candidates for job suitability
5. Conduct pre-employment assessments
Once you have finalized a testing tool and an ATS, invite all the candidates who have made it past the initial resume screening to sit for a test. As discussed previously, allow them to schedule a test time according to their convenience - most ATS solutions will let you do that.
Afterwards, have a look at the scores and decide whom you want to call in for an interview. Depending on the nature of the job, you may need to conduct more than one test and take a weighted average of the score of each.
6. Start organizing interviews
Interviewing candidates is hard work - especially in tech recruitment. Apart from their resume and test scores, your decision to hire someone relies on how your interview goes. When you have a cheat sheet in your hand, this problem can be averted manifold.
You see - technology is continually evolving. And as a recruiter with no technical experience, it can get tricky to ask the right questions to form the right opinion about the candidate. So one thing is not to skip making the cheat sheet with the help of the hiring team.
Now, with the test results in hand, you know what to focus on during the interview instead of starting from scratch. You could ask questions about their approach to various questions or simply assess their communication and soft skills.
At this point, you have all the data you need to make an informed decision. So when you extend an offer, do so with confidence. Another thing - do not forget to make notes during the interview.
This is handy, especially if you are speaking to several candidates in a short time. The notes will help you remember every interview you conduct and compare candidates to make the right hiring decision. Make tech screening easier!
7. Maintain quality candidate engagement
This is something you should not ignore in technical hiring. Engagement can start and end with your job ads, which showcase what the job is about, why anyone should work with your company, and how they can apply for the role.
If your job description is not attractive enough or it is not posted on the proper channels, it will not fetch you suitable applicants. You are a tech company, after all! You have to identify the best promotional channels. Secondly, you have to keep the candidates abreast of the hiring process.
They should know how long the process is, how many tests they have to give, how many rounds of interviews are there, and so on. After every step, inform the candidates regarding where they stand. Even if a candidate has been rejected, do not ghost them. Instead, inform them about the process and wish them good luck!
Over to you
In conclusion, technical screening becomes significantly more manageable when you have a straightforward process in place and a platform that lets you conduct various assessments for different job roles.
All you need to do as a recruiter is evaluate the results, maintain an open line of communication with candidates and work with the final selection to design as mutually beneficial an offer as possible.
Shop around to find the best screening tool for your needs, or maybe give Adaface a try! Customize tests as necessary for your hiring drives and find the best talent for your company. All the best!