By Mark Knowlton
It’s nice when your expectations are exceeded, but it is truly rare when they go beyond your most wildly optimistic ambitions.
I was checking in on clients last Friday and I caught one who had a real issue. He said he was frustrated by the process one of his customers insisted upon, one that involved an intense coding exercise that shot down at least 30 candidates in the span of a month.
Our client’s customer has brand name recognition on par with Coke and Ford, so making headway with this account was a huge thing. Mike (our client) set a meeting with his customer to show him TechScreen and how easy it was to create an interview tailored to his specific requirement.
The hiring manager forwarded some PHP questions to our client, who shared some code samples from their candidate’s Github account. They conducted the interview using the questions from the manager, who made an offer on the spot when he saw the TechScreen interview result.
Let that sink in: Our client’s hiring manager made an offer without doing an interview.
The manager felt that reviewing the Github code and the result of the TechScreen interview using his own questions was enough. He pulled the trigger on the spot.
“Our client was blown away; he thought it was so cool to have a tool that lets you pick questions out of a library or add your own custom questions,” Mike said. “He said he hadn’t seen a tool like this and loved the idea of an agency doing the kind of technical interview he would conduct if he had the time. We screened three new candidates using the manager’s interview questions. The manager passed on the first one because he was a little light on Bootstrap. He liked the second candidate, who got a 71 on the interview, but he really loved the third candidate, who got a 78 on the interview.”
“Let’s move forward with this guy; make an offer,” Mike’s client told him. “This was the fastest, most efficient hire I have ever experienced with an agency.”
Mike relayed the story of sharing the process change with his recruiting team after he met with the manager. He said the recruiters weren’t happy when they saw the questions from the manager. “This is a lot of questions … this is going to take us 45 minutes …. I don’t want to take the time.”
“First, it is not going to take you 45 minutes. Second, I have already set the expectation with the manager that we would use his questions,”Mike explained to the recruiters. “We are on the hook, so we have to interview new candidates using the manager’s questions.”
He is now proposing to the President of their firm that they make this the standard process for every req they work in the future.
In March, TechScreen announced that we were going to make licenses free for staffing account managers. We did this because we resolutely believe our clients will be more successful if they elevate their engagement with hiring managers. Focus less on technology and buzzwords and more on what deliverables the manager needs a candidate to hit. Once they understand the key deliverables, they should ask the manager what questions will reveal if the candidate has the competencies to deliver.
Our clients often rely on the quicker, easier Standard Interview, which comes with 5, 8 or 9 questions depending on the number of skills included. You create them with a few clicks, but the Standard Interview is just a transitional stage, helping the recruiters get acclimated to listening to a technical answer and tracking it on the screen. A Custom Interview takes time to build, but the output is much more relevant if the questions map to deliverables.
We always say that your client is not hiring some randomly generic Java developer; they are hiring a full-stack Java developer with front end skills in Angular, a strong foundation in RESTful services on apps deployed on AWS. We think it makes more sense to create a custom interview that specifically taps on those particular competencies for a given req.
We have had great success stories with our clients, but this is unprecedented. Our biggest client is a firm that does about $500M in revenue and their recruiters have screened out 64% of almost 4,500 candidates on technical merit between 2016 and 2019. Our second biggest client has screened over 5,700 candidates since 2017 and knocked out 53% of them.
Now, we have a documented example of how using TechScreen in the way we prescribe will lead to breakthroughs that may not have otherwise been achieved. If you involve the manager in establishing the screening process and get their input on questions, they are much more likely to consider a candidate whose resume was less than impressive.
Privately, we had always hoped our clients would leverage our tool to get a manager to skip a phone screen and invite the candidate to come on site for an interview. We never even imagined using our tool in concert with something that shows the candidate’s code could lead to a hire without an interview. Now we know it is possible.
We are hoping that Account Managers may like some of those bluebird offers.
Mark Knowlton is the CEO and Founder of TechScreen, the world’s only solution that empowers a recruiter to conduct, score and document a detailed interview of an IT candidate