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Hiring developers demystified
Mario Živić
Candidate's perspective
How do I prove I'm good,
without any effort?
I have a CS degree!
● Would you hire all your classmates from your university?
● 50% of professional developers don't have a CS degree.
● Self-learning and on-the-job learning are the main ways developers acquire
knowledge and skills.
Here is my resume!
● Who has the best resumes? Marketing and sales people.
● Who has even better resumes? People who lie.
○ 100% of resumes don't say anything negative about a candidate.
○ 80% of resumes contain misleading statements (exaggerating one's impact),
○ 50% contain actual lies (90% in case of college students).
○ Former Yahoo CEO was fired due to lying about having CS degree.
○ Result: Recruiters and managers reduce what you claim by 30%
● Who will read your resume?
○ ATSes prefer long keyword-rich resumes.
○ Humans prefer short resumes with their favourite sections and format.
■ 30% of recruiters will reject a resume that doesn’t include a list-of-skills section
Look at my GitHub!
● How many of you have an active public GitHub profile?
● How many of you have your best work on your public GitHub profile?
● If it's a group project how do I find your most important contribution?
There's no easy way...
Company's perspective
How do we assess candidates,
cheaply?
● CS degree is only 3rd most common source of knowledge for developers.
● 50% of developers don't even have a CS degree.
● CS degree is definitely a positive signal but not a good standalone filter.
● The Thiel Fellowship gives $100,000 to young people who want to build new
things instead of sitting in a classroom.
We hire only candidates with a CS degree.
We only hire candidates experienced with our stack.
● What kind of experience?
○ More and more complex stuff over 3 years?
○ Or same stuff over and over again for 10 years?
● How much of experience?
○ Research says that after 6-12m there is no correlation between years of experience and skill
level. You either got it or you won't!
● Are you one of those looking for 20yr olds with 20yrs of professional
experience? :)
We only hire candidates
with strong GitHub profile.
We give them a project to do at home.
● Majority of good developers already have good jobs.
● What you actually test their motivation but a bit too early in the process.
● By giving a sample of actual work you risk that candidates will interpret that
as doing the work for you free-of-charge.
○ There are stories in design space where a candidate doesn't get a job but their idea presented
on interview magically comes to life.
There's no cheap nor easy
way...
A better way
Data science style *
* http://firstround.com/review/how-to-consistently-hire-remarkable-data-scientists/
Goals
● Accurate and reliable
○ Best candidates* should always come out at the top.
● Results with offer acceptance
○ Selected candidate will accept the offer.
● Efficient
○ Companies should not spend too much time and money on candidates they consider.
○ Candidates should not spend a lot of time on companies they consider.
* Definition of best candidates is specific from case to case
Accuracy Efficiency
Cost to
company
Cost to
candidate
Resume Low Any Low Low
GitHub
Low
(false-negatives)
High Moderate Low
Project High High Moderate High
Interview
Moderate-High
(subjective)
Any Moderate-High Moderate-High
GMA test
High
(legal issues)
High Low-Moderate Moderate
Work-sample
test
High High Low-Moderate Moderate
Selection methods
Process
1.Check for a pulse,
and an e-mail address
2.Test for sufficient skill
3.Convince them to
come to the ‘trial day’
4.Test competence in a
realistic, controlled
environment and
evaluate culture
5.Make a quick and
definitive decision
6.Follow up with every
trial day candidate
How can TestDome help?
Place to test candidates for
sufficient programming skill
Our tests
● Time bound
○ Typical tests are 30-90 min long.
● Relevant
○ Our questions are samples of the actual work candidates will face in their job.
● Self-explanatory
○ Minimizing need for questions and clarifications.
● Automated
○ Candidates get immediate feedback on their solution attempts.
○ Companies get immediate feedback as soon as candidate completes the test.
Isn't this better?
You need advice/mentor?
Željko Švedić
zeljko@svedic.org

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Hiring developers demystified

  • 2. Candidate's perspective How do I prove I'm good, without any effort?
  • 3. I have a CS degree! ● Would you hire all your classmates from your university? ● 50% of professional developers don't have a CS degree. ● Self-learning and on-the-job learning are the main ways developers acquire knowledge and skills.
  • 4. Here is my resume! ● Who has the best resumes? Marketing and sales people. ● Who has even better resumes? People who lie. ○ 100% of resumes don't say anything negative about a candidate. ○ 80% of resumes contain misleading statements (exaggerating one's impact), ○ 50% contain actual lies (90% in case of college students). ○ Former Yahoo CEO was fired due to lying about having CS degree. ○ Result: Recruiters and managers reduce what you claim by 30% ● Who will read your resume? ○ ATSes prefer long keyword-rich resumes. ○ Humans prefer short resumes with their favourite sections and format. ■ 30% of recruiters will reject a resume that doesn’t include a list-of-skills section
  • 5. Look at my GitHub! ● How many of you have an active public GitHub profile? ● How many of you have your best work on your public GitHub profile? ● If it's a group project how do I find your most important contribution?
  • 6.
  • 8. Company's perspective How do we assess candidates, cheaply?
  • 9. ● CS degree is only 3rd most common source of knowledge for developers. ● 50% of developers don't even have a CS degree. ● CS degree is definitely a positive signal but not a good standalone filter. ● The Thiel Fellowship gives $100,000 to young people who want to build new things instead of sitting in a classroom. We hire only candidates with a CS degree.
  • 10.
  • 11. We only hire candidates experienced with our stack. ● What kind of experience? ○ More and more complex stuff over 3 years? ○ Or same stuff over and over again for 10 years? ● How much of experience? ○ Research says that after 6-12m there is no correlation between years of experience and skill level. You either got it or you won't! ● Are you one of those looking for 20yr olds with 20yrs of professional experience? :)
  • 12.
  • 13. We only hire candidates with strong GitHub profile.
  • 14.
  • 15. We give them a project to do at home. ● Majority of good developers already have good jobs. ● What you actually test their motivation but a bit too early in the process. ● By giving a sample of actual work you risk that candidates will interpret that as doing the work for you free-of-charge. ○ There are stories in design space where a candidate doesn't get a job but their idea presented on interview magically comes to life.
  • 16. There's no cheap nor easy way...
  • 17. A better way Data science style * * http://firstround.com/review/how-to-consistently-hire-remarkable-data-scientists/
  • 18. Goals ● Accurate and reliable ○ Best candidates* should always come out at the top. ● Results with offer acceptance ○ Selected candidate will accept the offer. ● Efficient ○ Companies should not spend too much time and money on candidates they consider. ○ Candidates should not spend a lot of time on companies they consider. * Definition of best candidates is specific from case to case
  • 19. Accuracy Efficiency Cost to company Cost to candidate Resume Low Any Low Low GitHub Low (false-negatives) High Moderate Low Project High High Moderate High Interview Moderate-High (subjective) Any Moderate-High Moderate-High GMA test High (legal issues) High Low-Moderate Moderate Work-sample test High High Low-Moderate Moderate Selection methods
  • 21. 1.Check for a pulse, and an e-mail address
  • 23. 3.Convince them to come to the ‘trial day’
  • 24. 4.Test competence in a realistic, controlled environment and evaluate culture
  • 25. 5.Make a quick and definitive decision
  • 26. 6.Follow up with every trial day candidate
  • 28. Place to test candidates for sufficient programming skill
  • 29.
  • 30. Our tests ● Time bound ○ Typical tests are 30-90 min long. ● Relevant ○ Our questions are samples of the actual work candidates will face in their job. ● Self-explanatory ○ Minimizing need for questions and clarifications. ● Automated ○ Candidates get immediate feedback on their solution attempts. ○ Companies get immediate feedback as soon as candidate completes the test.
  • 31.
  • 33. You need advice/mentor? Željko Švedić zeljko@svedic.org

Editor's Notes

  1. I'm Mario Different angles we'll talk about (candidate's, company's) A better (data science) way
  2. Low cost / low effort approaches
  3. Would you hire all your classmates from your university? They have the same degree you have. StackOverflow developer survey says that 50% of professional developers don't have a CS degree. Self-learning and on-the-job learning are main ways developers acquire knowledge and skills.
  4. Sales and marketing people have best resumes. Omission (100%), exaggerating (80%), lying (50% to 90% for fresh graduates). Former CEO of Yahoo fired for lying about having CS degree. Recruiters reduce what you claim by 30% (CarrerBuilder says) How will read it? ATS or recruiter? ATSes prefer long CVs, people prefer short. ATSes are biased to keywords, people to favourite sections (recruiters love list of skills section and 30% will reject CVs without it). Do you know who has best resume? People with sales and marketing skills. Would you hire a sales and marketing person to do develop your software? Do you also know who has even better resume? People who lie! 100% of resumes don't say anything negative about a candidate. 80% of resumes contain misleading statements (exaggerating one's impact), 50% contain actual lies (90% in case of college students). Former Yahoo CEO was fired due to lying about having CS degree. Recruiters and hiring managers discount everything they read in resume by up to 30% penalizing even candidates who tell the truth. This is not a recommendation to lie in your resumes! You don't know how companies will assess your resume. Short resumes are better for people but long ones are better for ATSes. ATSes will look for keywords, humans will look at their favourite sections (biased) and format (completely subjective). According to Careerbuilder, 30% of recruiters will reject a resume that doesn’t include a list of skills as a section in resume. Do you still think that your resume represents you in the best light? Source: http://www.eremedia.com/ere/whats-wrong-with-using-resumes-for-hiring-pretty-much-everything/
  5. No active profile (how many of you have active profile? mine is empty) Active, but not best work (is your best work on public GitHub profile?) Best work but how do you find it (project ordered by popularity, important commits hard to find) How many of you don't have an active GitHub profile? Mine doesn't have a line of code. How many of you have your best work on your public GitHub profile? Mine is keeping Japanese smartphone users happy with their bandwidth but not available as open source. If your best work is on GitHub, how does a recruiter find it? Projects are ordered by popularity, not quality. Important commits are buried deep.
  6. His best work? (he's a co-founder and former CEO of GitHub itself) Co-founder of GitHub What's Tom's greatest accomplishment? He's a co-founder and former CEO of GitHub itself. Source: https://github.com/mojombo
  7. Low cost approaches
  8. CS degree is 3rd source of knowledge 50% devs don't have a CS degree (even more in game and web dev) CS degree is definitely a positive signal but should not be used as a standalone filter. The Thiel Fellowship gives $100,000 to young people who want to build new things instead of sitting in a classroom.
  9. Even Google gave up on such a rule.
  10. What kind of experience (doing more and more complex stuff or doing the same stuff over and over again)? How much (research says that after 6-12m there is no correlation between years of experience and skill level). You either got it or you won't. Are you one of those looking for 20yr olds with 20yrs of professional experience? :)
  11. Top 10 results from CarrerBuilder for AngularJS positions: 7 years - AngularJS Developer 5 years - JavaScript & AngularJS Developer 3 years - AngularJS Developer 3 years - AngularJS Developer 2 years - C# & AngularJS Developer Slide is from 2016, but just replace Angular with technology of the day
  12. Why would you narrow down your choices?
  13. So you wouldn't hire people behind SpaceX rocket landing software and Google core search algorithm? Their GitHub profiles are better empty. It's not just SpaceX and Google. Majority of software is proprietary.
  14. Remember that majority of good developers already have good jobs. What motivation do they have to spend hours working on a project just to be considered for another job? What you actually test here is if they are motivated to join your company but it's a bit early in the process for that kind of check. By giving a sample of actual work you risk that candidates will interpret that as doing the work for you for free. There are stories in design space where a candidate doesn't get a job but their idea presented on interview magically comes to life.
  15. Resume - 80% of resumes contain misleading statements and 50% contain actual lies. GitHub - People without GitHub are penalized without any meaningful justification. Project - Good candidates have good jobs and don't like spending hours just to qualify for consideration. Interview - Subjective (interviewers are biased towards candidates who are similar to them). GMA test - Very good if allowed. In U.S. it's practically forbidden. Work-sample test - Not perfect, but the least bad.
  16. Don’t review their resumes. Don't debate their experience or qualifications. Run objective evaluations first. Minimize your biases (prefer people who are similar to us).
  17. The first filter. The first time candidates judge how company thinks. A sound test should be self-explanatory, time bound, relevant for position with clear evaluation criteria.
  18. Sales pitch.
  19. A full day work on an open-ended challenge. Concluded with a presentation to the group. Technical perspective - Q&A after presentation. Culture fit - Lunch
  20. Discuss and decide immediately If anyone is strong no, then answer is no If everyone is lukewarm, that is also a no.
  21. Recruiters contact candidates who failed the first test. No feedback. Team members contact and provide feedback to all trial day candidates.