False promises are a bad way to start a business relationship, or any relationship for that matter! For me, the trope ‘recruitment is broken, we’ve fixed it’ is a tired one that rings hollow.
Whenever I see an email or website making this claim, my suspicion invariably leads my fingers all the way to the nearest delete or close button, and I get on with my day.
If recruitment was ‘fixed’ years ago by someone, a company, or an app, then the rest of us must have missed the memo.
A lot of our clients and candidates tell us that we've helped them solve their hiring problems for specific roles; but we'll stop short of extending this success to the entire recruitment industry! Also from a selfish perspective, most people (quite rightly) care about their next hire being easy and successful, not whether some company somewhere has 'saved' the entire recruitment industry from its 'broken' state.
Anyway, #hatersgonnahate and all that. There are definitely parts of the tech recruitment process we think can be improved and automated. This post will talk about what we do at intaview.me to make tech hiring much easier for hiring managers and candidates. You can use a lot of these tips whether or not you become a client.
On a lot of software projects people obsess over (or dare I say, sometimes hide behind) which tools, processes, and technologies are best to use. When all said and done, good software usually boils down to good hiring decisions. Talented people would still come up with great software in spite of tool and technology constraints. Conversely adequate performers aren't going to set the world on fire, just because they have daily standups, and some nice issue tracking software.
In our digital agency days, our clients and contacts often enjoyed working with our teams so much they would ask whether they could hire people from us directly, and/or, if we could help them with their tech hires.
To cut a long story short, hiring became something of an accidental business model for us. We now focus exclusively on finding the kind of candidates and hiring managers that are destined to create great software together.
The tools and proven processes we’ve built up over time are now available via ‘intaview.me’. By sharing our 'secrets’, our plan is to build up a community of like-minded hiring managers and candidates. To kick things off here are some of the proven processes and tools that we believe result in a better hiring process for everyone.
1. Answer candidates’ FAQs up front, not at the interview stage
‘Great question, let me check and get back to you’. Life’s too short to be a glorified ping pong ball, going back and forth and relaying information without adding value. Let’s just cut to the chase.
Salary, start date, what the role entails, who’s on the team, work from home policy, and so on. These things (and more) always come up when working with strong candidates, so why not have that info ready on day one?
It seems inefficient and pointless to make that a guarded secret unless you make it through to interview number two or three. Only a handful of people will get to this stage of the process, so really you’re just missing out on a bunch of great candidates who saw the job, and decided that if you can’t be bothered to post basic info, they can’t be bothered to apply.
But what about privacy? Common sense applies, there's no need to reveal your trade secrets just yet. That said, businesses (and the people that run them) share more about themselves online than ever before, and in a less 'corporate' tone too. The direction of travel is pretty clear here, we may as well all get on board.
2. Interactive job ads
Put simply, would you rather explain a job five times to five people on separate calls (each of which need scheduling), or record one overview for people to watch in their own time? We swear by the 2nd option.
Job ads are stuck in something of a time warp. They’re just static text, words on page, with maybe a few bullet points here and there to break things up.
The approach of posting text to attract job seekers hasn’t really changed much over the years. In fact, the only major difference between a job ad in the 18th, 20th, and 21st centuries is where you’re more likely to find them; physically posted on a noticeboard, printed in a newspaper, or published online respectively.
The 'evolution' of job adverts (i.e. static text) - from physical, to printed, to online.
With intaview.me the hiring managers record video answers to common questions (it’s 2023, not 1823 - it's about time we used some new technology!), meaning candidates can ‘meet’ their future managers up front, understand the role, and have way more info before they decide whether to apply.
3) The ‘first meeting’ between hiring manager and candidate can be automated (the first few minutes at least!)
One of the key stages in the recruitment process is when the candidate meets the hiring manager (i.e. their future boss) for the first time; and of that meeting, the first 3-5 minutes are probably the most important. By pairing interactive job ads (featuring the hiring manager), with interactive candidate profiles, this vital juncture in the hiring process is largely automated. Let's take a look at the kind of thing that happens during these introductions:
Scenario 1) Job clarity
A candidate who thought that a Fullstack Developer role meant a 50/50 or maybe 60/40 split between those specialities, suddenly finds out the job will be 80% back end, and only 20% front end, not what they were hoping for. They've now mentally checked out, and the remaining 30 minutes of the meeting becomes pointless.
Scenario 2) Candidate clarity
A busy Head of UX at fast growing consumer app is meeting a designer with a strong background in B2B SaaS products. As part of their ‘quick intro’ the designer explains how they’re specifically looking to move away from B2B and get into consumer facing products/apps. This wasn’t clear from their resume/CV, and the hiring manager had in fact been hesitant about interviewing them (preferring candidates who already had mobile/B2C design experience). The Head of UX can now officially start to get excited about this candidate.
By the time the job ad goes live, applications come in, HR does the initial screening, and everyone has found mutually agreeable calendar slots, we’re often talking days if not weeks before this initial conversation takes place.
With intaview.me this kind of info is on the table from day one, and our starting point is this virtual meeting between manager and candidate. This ensures the hiring process gets past one of the most important hurdles before anyone has invested significant time or effort.
4) Play 'a' numbers game, NOT 'the' numbers game
Our aim is simple, strike gold every time.
To quote one client (a tech lead in charge of multiple lean dev teams) ‘you always seem to find good people’, hopefully this could be paraphrased into ‘you only seem to find good people’.
This is the feeling we want for candidates and hiring managers alike. Our team and tools do a lot of work in the background so you don’t have to. If you want a great Product Manager who can take your product, team, and customer satisfaction levels to the next level, our job is to find you one. One being the operative word, not 6, 8, or 14 potential candidates. Just someone (or ideally two or three people) you actually want to hire.
If you’d rather have ‘access to 1000s of candidates’, or an inbox with 10 or more applications for you to filter through then we’re not the service for you.
If you're sending lots of candidates to your colleagues, or asking them to interview people who don't end up passing through to the next stage, you're not doing your reputation any good. Candidates and hiring managers are busy enough as it is, don't drag people into a 'numbers game' where no one wins.
This is doubly destructive. Your colleagues are now hesitant to interview anyone you're suggesting, slowing your process down; meanwhile the strongest applicants gravitate to companies that do recognise their talent, and therefore move much more quickly.
Recruitment is a bit like a 'Rubik's cube', it's hard to solve if you leave things to chance. Our tips are proven to result in more successful hiring.
It's important to get things off to a strong start. Help ensure that your recruitment counterpart (whether hiring manager or candidate) doesn’t have to second guess what your key questions or concerns are. In fact, by second guessing the kind of things your counterpart wants to know and providing that information before they ask, you can really get ahead of the game.
Once you're at a more advanced stage in the hiring process, we suggest playing the numbers game the way we do. Hiring managers should focus on the strongest applicants (you only need one after all!). You're better off progressing with no one, rather than taking the 'boy who cried wolf' approach and constantly sending 'options' to your colleagues that end up being more like 'false alarms'. Similarly there's not much point pitching jobs to candidates who aren't going to be interested.
Recruitment isn’t ‘fixed’ but the good news is you can definitely make your life easier, and stack the odds in your favour on your next hiring process.
By David Fallon
Founder of Intaview.me