Jessica Miller-Merrell | , , , , ,| By
This post is sponsored by Dice. Read more about their partnership with HackerEarth by clicking here.
How to Hire Using The Force
In Star Wars, the force is a gut feeling. It’s an intuition that relies on energy fields created by all living things. The force grants a number of useful powers which many of us leverage in our daily tasks and responsibilities in work and life such as the ability to sense impending attacks, influencing the thoughts of others and the ability to foresee if someone is a good or bad hire for our company.
Unfortunately, using the force effectively takes time. You have to hone, understand and train your abilities. Influencing others in meetings is a skill of the Jedi I desperately am trying to master. During a meeting with co-workers who are hesitant to take a risk on a crazy idea I just pitched, I want nothing more than to use the force to get my way. The force is also a skill that comes in handy when parenting a sassy 8 year old, but alas the force continues to elude me. I’d love to “force her” into cleaning her room or I’d even settle for her giving in to my not so subtle hints and bribes for ice cream and toys used in those most desperate of parenting moments. As business leaders and recruiters, no matter how much we don’t want to admit it, until we’ve had extensive training in the force we aren’t able to truly use the powers properly.
There’s nothing more satisfying than tapping into the energy that surrounds your candidate during that interview to determine if they are someone you want to pass onto the hiring manager or extend an offer to. Unfortunately for me, no matter how much meditation and training I have with my Jedi master, I can’t master the ability of foresight when it comes to effective and qualified hiring.
How Online Assessment Enhances the Power of Foresight
It takes extensive training to hone the foresight ability the force offers. Maybe years, which is something we don’t always have in the business world. Head counts change in minutes not years and revenue expectations for your division, department or organization shift just as quickly. Technology can give even the most skilled Jedi a competitive advantage against the Empire. You didn’t see the Jedi willing themselves into hyperspace. Like us, they had to rely on technology such as online assessment to determine the skills and experience of their best candidates.
All this might sound silly to you, but this is exactly what I think we recruiters and talent acquisition leaders are doing when we rely on our “gut feelings” to determine if a candidate is qualified or a role instead of using an online assessment to help us determine the skills and abilities of our candidates.
There is nothing worse, as a recruiter or hiring manager, than relying on your gut instincts (or the force) when it comes to highly technical and skilled positions like data scientists, java programmer or engineer, only to find out your best candidate for your senior java programming position doesn’t actually know java. You later learn that he bought a bunch of books at the used bookstore and after your initial interview has spent the last two weeks studying so that he’s ready at your company.
The Place For Skills Testing in the Hiring Process
Whether you are a recruiter, candidate or hiring manager who oversees a 15 person engineering team, your time is valuable. I don’t want my engineering lead to spend even an hour engaging with a candidate who doesn’t meet our role’s requirements. Time is money which is why when it comes to technical hiring, the skills test needs to happen as early as possible in the hiring and selection process.
It’s not enough to look at code in GitHub or invite your candidate to an in person whiteboard session. GitHub can be gamed and the whiteboard takes the candidate away from their work as well as your hiring manager. Here’s a script GitHub users can use to increase their “stars” and followers on the site. Sites like GitHub, while helpful, should not be used as your only talent assessment. Your skills test should happen alongside the initial candidate application or even before the candidate completes the long form application. You want to respect their time, interest and expertise.
And that’s why I was so impressed and intrigued by Dice’s recent partnership with HackerEarth. Combining the power of their reputation and technology in the tech space with HackerEarth’s skills assessment and coding challenges allows employers to screen and qualify candidates across 32 different programming languages. This partnership allows companies to invest in technical online assessments quickly using an HR technology partner you are already working with your Dice rep.
Like many of you, I’m dangerous with coding and technology. I’m certainly no coding Jedi master. When recruiting for technical candidates, it’s so hard as a recruiter to get a grasp on the skills and nuances because I’m not particularly skilled in the areas I’m often asked to hire for. Skills assessments are a great way to effectively scale and standardize your hiring efforts instead of relying on gut feelings and the force.
FTC Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Dice. I received compensation for mentioning them. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.