The Next Evolution in Technical Recruiting
Hiring good engineers is hard. To help make this process easier for both companies and candidates, third party recruiting agencies have served at the top of the funnel to aid with discovery and filtering. In the era where technical pedigree was the best predictor of success, recruiters primarily vetted candidates based on the their education and experience.
Times have changed. As technologies evolve at a dizzying rate, companies view skills, not pedigree, as the best predictor of success. Additionally, with open source technologies, cheap cloud resources and online education at a developer’s fingertips, the ability to learn new technical skills has largely been democratized. As a result, a text-based resume is no longer the best vehicle to fully encapsulate someone’s technical abilities. However, many recruiting agencies still recommend candidates or filter other ones out based on their fit on paper — not in practice.
As someone who has sat on both sides of the table in engineering hiring, it’s a process I care deeply about and want to improve. That’s why I’m excited to announce today that I’m joining Bastille Agency as their technical advisor. Some backstory: I first met Georges Janin (CEO of Bastille Agency) over 2 years ago as a prospective engineering candidate. We quickly became good friends and have had some long chats about the future of technical recruiting. What we’re formally announcing today has been the fruits of our labor over the past several months.
In short, we’re adding a step to our process to better determine if a candidate is a good fit for a particular role, not just on paper, but in practice. To accomplish this, we’ve created a technical assessment in which a candidate is asked to code a set of incrementally challenging problems and save his/her solution on a GitHub Gist. Why a Gist? We believe that it’s critical for the candidate to focus his/her energy on things that really matter (technical architecture & design, performance considerations, test writing ability, code quality) and not on things that don’t (fixing compile and/or runtime issues). Upon completion, the assessment is graded on specific technical & quality metrics that are then included when that candidate is sent to a hiring manager.
So, why is this process better than what exists today? Here‘s why we believe it’s a step in the right direction:
1. Candidates will have a standardized and distributed forum to showcase their technical abilities
Much like the SATs have accomplished with universities, we’ve received consensus from hiring managers that our assessment is a worthy way to determine technical acuity. A candidate can implement the assessment knowing that if done well, he/she can become a prospective employee to several companies immediately (vs. doing multiple technical screens).
2. Companies will have context about a candidate than extends beyond the resume
As a hiring manager, receiving a prospective candidate from Bastille ensures that we’ve spent time technically vetting him/her for you. We will be able to make recommendations on if the candidate is a good fit for a particular level of role (e.g. senior, mid, junior) that’s based on real data, not what they may or may not have done at a prior job.
3. Companies will have more nuanced and ultimately more meaningful conversations with candidates
It’s important to stress that we recognize our process does not or should not replace an initial or broader technical screen. We understand that every company has a different technical bar they require candidates to reach and that it should be in their purview to make that determination. However, we believe that technical conversations with a candidate can be deeper with this data, particularly initial screens which otherwise ask candidates surface level technical questions that usually provide little or no value.
4. The “MoneyBall” Effect
Much like how Billy Beane, by way of data, was able to build a winning baseball team by seeing value in players that were not otherwise highly regarded, we aim to do the same for candidates without traditional engineering backgrounds. In my experience, candidates without a traditional background often make the best engineers because they are extraordinarily driven (they taught themselves how to code) and offer diversity of perspective and experience. We believe our approach will help companies find these engineers and better promote diversity in the workplace.
We’re really excited to innovate in this space and join companies such as TripleByte in the quest to make technical recruiting better. We soft-launched this process in June and the feedback so far has been really positive! If you’re a company or candidate who is excited about what we’re doing and would like to learn more (especially if you’re actively looking), we’d love to hear from you — email me at email@example.com. Thanks for taking the time to read and please share with anyone who you think would find this interesting!