September 15, 2020

Why You Might Miss Great Software Engineering Candidates This 4th of July

By Wes Winham

For many software engineers this year, Independence Day will bring them closer to liberating them from their current employer.

In fact, 43.9% of the work simulations submitted last July through Woven happened during the 4th of July week and weekend.

An additional 29.3% occurred in the week immediately following. This means that, while most hiring managers were barbecuing and enjoying fireworks, talented engineers were actively applying for roles on their team.

Luckily for Woven clients, the follow-up process was automated, these candidates received detailed feedback, and hiring managers came back from their long weekend with qualified candidates scheduled for interviews on their calendar.

This year, not all hiring managers will be that lucky. In fact, if you haven’t automated your screening process, you’re likely to miss out on the most talented engineers in your applicant pool. In this post, we’ll talk about why the “common knowledge” about applying for jobs in July doesn’t hold up to the data, and how the best engineering leaders in the country are automating themselves ahead of other employers in their market.


The Advice Job Applicants See About 4th of July Weekend

Common knowledge says that July is a terrible time to job hunt. Bloggers and career coaches lament holiday weekends and hiring manager vacations as a major impediment to hiring processes, slowing the time-to-hire and making the environment inhospitable to job seekers.

As a result, job hunters are told repeatedly not to apply for jobs over Independence Day weekend.

The biggest problem with this advice is that it treats all employers as the same. For some employers, applying for a job in July is truly a black hole. Between vacations and calendar Tetris, you’re more likely to get lost in the shuffle than to get an interview scheduled.

But top applicants, especially in the world of software engineering, aren’t looking for average companies with average hiring practices… They’re looking to join elite teams that move quickly. Those elite teams understand that, in order to attract the best talent, they need to build processes that reflect their end-users’ needs and constraints as much as their own, and top talent doesn’t typically blow off work to apply for jobs Monday through Friday.

Long weekends can actually be some of the best times to attract and screen top applicants. Candidates have time off, and other hiring managers are likely asleep at the wheel. That means that, if you move quickly, you can schedule in-person interviews with top applicants while the recruiters for the enterprise-level software companies in your market are busy grilling.

All of this hinges, of course, on whether candidates actually want to apply for jobs over Independence Day weekend.


What Job Applicants Actually Do Over 4th of July Weekend

Do people want to apply for jobs over long weekends? Our data suggests that the answer is yes.

In July of 2018, 43.9% of the work simulations completed on our platform happened during the first week of July. Another 29.3% of submissions were completed the following week. This means that, in the first half of July, nearly 75% of the technical screens that occurred on our platform occurred before July 16th.


Furthermore, research from Indeed showed that, in 2014, there was a dip in overall search activity on July 3rd and 4th, but an uptick that was higher than normal weekly averages on the 5th, 6th, and 7th. That means that, even if applicants aren’t looking to spend their Independence Day job hunting, they’re more likely to apply for jobs this weekend than weekends later this month.

If your hiring process hinges on you being in the office, this number should really scare you. This means that candidates are actively applying for jobs and completing technical assessments while you (or your HR team) is on vacation. As we cover in the next section, this likely means that you’re going to lose out on top engineering talent.


Why You Should Take Action

Competition for top software engineers is fierce. In every market, large or small, demand exceeds supply and those that have mastered the art of software hiring are seeing outsized results.

One of the biggest factors in their success is one of the simplest: Speed.

Many top software engineers are on the job market for 10 business days before they accept a job offer. Meanwhile, hiring managers struggle to screen resumes more than once or twice a week. That means that, if someone applies for an engineering role on your team on the Fourth of July and you don’t follow up with them until the 9th or 10th, they could accept an offer before you schedule an onsite interview.

Instead, the best hiring managers are shifting their focus to automate candidate follow-up and technical screening. This allows them to enjoy their extended weekends and vacations, fully confident that they will have great interviews scheduled on their calendar when they return.

To learn how Woven helps engineering leaders across the country automate their technical screening process, request a demo.