The start of a new decade means it’s time for a big resolution: revamping our software hiring process. Candidates are more knowledgeable, industry demand is climbing, and our hiring process needs to evolve with the industry. In fact, in 2019, companies who followed the steps we outline in this post saw their application volume triple and time-to-hire cut by over 30%.
Our data on hiring software engineers shows that for a mid-level engineering role, we can expect to see about 86 candidates applying per role. This leads to between 5 and 15 on-site interviews, depending on applicant quality and hiring manager preference.
For high-production engineering teams, these numbers are unsustainable. The more time engineering teams spend on hiring, the less time spent hitting product goals. In this post we’ll layout a simple hiring process checklist that will ensure our software hiring process is prepared for the next 10 years.
The biggest limiting factor for most software hiring processes is posting long, boring job descriptions that don’t hook candidates. After analyzing hundreds of job descriptions, we’ve found that the simpler, the better. Here’s a basic outline to follow:
Top software engineering candidates are likely either passively looking for a job or they’re inundated with opportunities. As hiring managers, we win when we sell the opportunity and keep it short. In addition to increasing overall application volume, this will also help us increase diversity in our applicant pool. Underrepresented groups are less likely to apply for a job if they don’t check every box.
A lot of hiring managers de-prioritize job boards because they don’t think they can find quality applicants there. After analyzing thousands of software engineering job applications, we found the opposite to be true. In fact, 86% of top-performing software engineers hired via Woven in 2019 applied to their job via job boards.
If our software hiring process doesn’t heavily include job boards and social media, we’re likely missing out on highly-talented, passive job seekers. Top hiring managers are putting these channels at the top of their hiring process checklist in 2020, and we’ve seen evidence that this is a great idea.
Here are a few steps we can take to ensure that our jobs are properly represented on job boards and social media:
In 2019, here are the top job boards we saw for hiring high-quality developers, in order of average candidate score:
In 2020 and beyond, speed is the core of hiring effectiveness.
There are a ton of high-quality candidates on the job market right now, but there are also a ton of hiring managers looking to bring them on board. According to our internal data, many top software engineers are on the job market for only 10 business days before they accept a job. That means our software hiring process has to be as lean as possible so we can attract great-fit candidates before they go somewhere else.
After looking at some of the best-in-class hiring processes, we should be moving quality candidates onto the next stage of hiring within 24 hours of their first application. After that, we should an interview with them within the first week, and be prepared to make an offer within that 10-day window.
Finally, the single biggest barrier to hiring success for many hiring managers is the resume.
Not only have studies shown that resumes are terrible predictors of on-job success, but they artificially limit our applicant pool. In a competitive hiring market, we are more likely to hit our goals if we’re casting a wide net in regards to background and sorting based on proven ability to do the job, not whether or not a candidate has the right degree or years of experience.
As Charity Majors, the CTO of Honeycomb, said in an interview, “It’s about hiring for strengths, not for a lack of weaknesses.”
In fact, after analyzing software engineering hires across the country, we’ve found that candidates who complete a realistic work simulation as part of their interview process are ⅔ less likely to fail in their first 120 days than industry averages. If we’re looking to improve our hiring process in 2020, we should consider throwing out resumes altogether and replacing them with a signal that’s more predictive of success.
If you’re looking for more ways to overhaul your software hiring process and hit your 2020 engineer hiring goals, we’ve got some great new research that we think you’ll find useful.