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Stop Recruiting, Start Connecting
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Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
7/29/2014 | 1:26:28 PM
Let peers talk
"Employers that keep trying to fill reqs like they're 20th century assembly line jobs will fall behind companies adept at peer-to-peer communication."

Well said. Recruiters and HR reps are still necessary of course but the hiring process at most companies has become so rigid and formal. Couldn't agree more with this article's call for more informal dialogue between peers as part of that process.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
7/29/2014 | 3:58:43 PM
Hidden gems
Jack, thought-provoking piece, thanks for sharing it. I think IT loses too many "imperfect" candidates during a recruitment screen by non IT-people.  Who better than your peers to gauge your passion for learning? Smart companies are training data analysis pros on the spot right now, for example. They are learning by doing.
Jack Perkins
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Jack Perkins,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/29/2014 | 4:43:35 PM
Re: Hidden gems
Thank you Laurianne - allowing smart people to matriculate a bit should be a primary strategy for companies falling behind in their software engineer hiring.  Even the mighty Google falls short in this department. For example: Recently a particle physicist I know (Ph.D. High Energy Physics) who just finished his post doc at Stanford. In the course of his research he had to code C++ and do Machine Learning. He was referred by Google employees who know him(other physicists) to interview at Google.  First step: one hour with a Google recruiter who read from a list of questions. Second step: Phone "screen" from a software engineer on the team.  Conclusion: not enough computer science fundamentals.

If they looked at his resume they could have plainly seen this.

He was looking for an entry level job and he was an employee referral to boot!

But the "process" trumps all logic.

No matter how advanced our technology is becoming the mounting entropy of "hiring processes" is mind numbing.

Jack

 
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 4:15:21 AM
Re: Hidden gems
"No matter how advanced our technology is becoming the mounting entropy of "hiring processes" is mind numbing."

@Jack: I think one of the reasons behind this might be the fact that there's not a lot of people out there who understand both HR and technology. There are HR experts and then there are technology experts. The combination of both of these is a great area but you don't seem to find a lot of professionals who qualify for this. This may be the reason why technology companies don't have a very sound hiring process.
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 3:42:29 PM
Re: Hidden gems
"This may be the reason why technology companies don't have a very sound hiring process."

Agreed, sadly many HR recruiters treat the hiring process as a sales process, and, not to blame them, aren't able to determine what fits and what doesn't.

This happened to me several times when I was unemployed for a couple of months.... the reps that I would talked to were clueless on the software and projects that I had managed, even less regarding certifications. I would say "I'm PMP certififed", and then they would later ask "Do you have any Project Management credentials?"
Bhori
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Bhori,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 8:30:14 PM
Re: Hidden gems
 reps that I would talked to were clueless on the software and projects that I had managed, even less regarding certifications.


Mejiac: And this is what get some very good prospects uninterested in the position and projects a negative impact of the organization. Company's impression on candidates is as important as on customer or someone else outside the organization, as they would also share their screening or hiring experience with their network.
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 4:04:24 AM
Re: Hidden gems
"I think IT loses too many "imperfect" candidates during a recruitment screen by non IT-people.  Who better than your peers to gauge your passion for learning?"

@Laurianne: I totally agree with you on this. However, the last time I talked about this with the HR head in my company, he argued that IT people have a very myopic view about assessing people. They'd only focus on the technical part and not on the overall personality. Plus, he argued, that the IT people might not be aware of the strategy of the company and won't be able to find a sync between the people and the company strategy.
Bhori
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Bhori,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 8:01:30 PM
Re: Hidden gems

IT people have a very myopic view about assessing people. They'd only focus on the technical part and not on the overall personality.

@tzubair: Agreed, this isn't just the problem of IT but almost every department. In my organization, department people and heads assess the candidate on technical grounds and ability to fit into team. Afterwards, HR assess the candidate on personality, suitability to organizational culture and negotiations of benefits.

 

tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 3:57:26 AM
Candid conversations
In my experience, the best way to hire someone (and be hired for that matter) has been through candid conversations with the people working there. Talking about stuff the company does and the projects the candidate has done along with finding common links between the two has always been very effective for me. It usually gets the candidate to speak up more openly and not just speak to impress. On the recruiter's side, it helps the candidate know more clearly about the culture and the working environment rather than a rosy picture painted by the HR.
H@mmy
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H@mmy,
User Rank: Moderator
7/30/2014 | 7:44:53 AM
IT
With the help of IT hr work has been made very easy. All long procedures have been eliminated. Now from all over the world You can easily hire any best candidate. It is all about connecting and then recruiting. In those old days it was as first you recruit and then connect. 
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 3:24:45 PM
Re: IT
@H@mmy,

Agreed, my current company has been able to streamline the process that a new resource is requested, from start to end the new person is located, onboarded in ready to go in less than 2 weeks (start to end), and like you mention the long processes were steamlined so that we can focus more on skills, abilities and if the personality if the right fit (versus simply having the correct skill set)
Bhori
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Bhori,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 8:02:19 PM
Re: IT

In those old days it was as first you recruit and then connect.

@ Hammy: Very well said. Glad that this is changing. I remember the time, when team was surprised with a new member, which they find very different from them and their needs either, and the politics of power and survival began

WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 10:00:59 PM
Re: IT
Bhori, I will count that as a negative in the hiring process. May be the colleagues would want the candidate to stay out of the company if they feel he or she would not gel in with them and that's the way when the company might lose a professional who is competant and does not think conventionally.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 8:37:51 AM
Re: Stop Recruiting, Start Connecting
Very well said, Jack, and even though this is an oft-talked about topic, it seems that most companies have yet to enact better hiring practices, so there's no harm in talking about it more. The example you gave about your Ph.D friend is mind-blowing, and I couldn't think of a better anecdote even if I was making one up. To call the modern hiring machine 'inefficient' is an understatement. If we compare it to say, things like modern agile development process (or, ironically, even the DevOps we're recruiting for), it looks like a joke. It's become accepted that you don't just do what everyone else is doing, you do what's right for your business - except, apparently, when it comes to hiring.

While I definitely agree with you, I will also say I think that you run some risk of preaching to the choir here. I hope there are a wider variety of professionals reading InformationWeek, but I suspect there are a much larger number of Software Engineers than HR people. As Taimor (@tzubair) says, HR people are the ones whose minds we have to change, and they have a stake in this matter as well. That said, do HR people really go home and read technology blogs? I'd like to hope some (at certain companies) do, but I suspect not many. Maybe we have a broader role to play as technology people in evangelizing concepts like this.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
7/30/2014 | 10:33:55 AM
Re: Stop Recruiting, Start Connecting
I profiled Waste Management, in 2011 when it was #3 on our annaul InformationWeek innovators' ranking, and they talked about how every hire at every level met with a group of IT employees, including at least one of the senior IT leadership. Usually the CIO. He commented on how surprised the candidates were, especially for more entry-level analyst roles, to have the CIO as part of that group.  
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 10:05:48 PM
Re: Stop Recruiting, Start Connecting
Chris, yes that is surprising and even I would have not been initially able to relate the need of CIO or senior IT management team member sitting on the interviewing panel. In fields where you have surplus labour in the market, you can screen out a candidate if IT feels that the person is not suitable enough because that is what the new panel member will do; extra screening and eliminating candidates. If intention is only to get the candidate introduced, then there isn't any problem.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 7:26:38 PM
Re: Stop Recruiting, Start Connecting
@Zerox203: everyone reading this post is probably in very heated agreement about what Jack is proposing here. I think it's up to all of us to make sure we're sharing this with HR and other hiring managers we deal with in our own organizations or even with the headhunters that we hear from.

While hiring software engineers definitely has its specific requirements, much of what Jack outlines here really could be applied to the hiring process for almost any position in a company. I especially like his idea of uncovering ways of finding those "stealth" people who are employed and may be interested in looking around but dont want to expend all that energy.

Right now, the only way to find those folks is to cultivate your own robust peer network so you can put out feelers to find those folks. This is something that has to happen within industry or job sectors and not something HR professionals are really equipped to do.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 1:07:44 PM
Re: candid conversations
I absolutely support the idea of sharing with an employee about your operations so that he can be well conversant with what he is required to do and his role in your organization. Finding an expert HR who is a professional in the field of technology is normally very hard because for you to be come an expert in technology, it clearly means that you started a very long time ago when you were young and this field hardly allows you to get interest in other things like studying to become an HR manager as well.
mejiac
IW Pick
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 3:22:27 PM
A paradigm Shift
Wow... this has to be one of the best tech articles I've ready in a while (aside from the next Star Wars film)

"Since the engineering department ultimately must choose the right candidates, let's let them do their job in the most pleasant and productive way possible."

When I was a supervisor for a manufacturing company, I actually voiced out my concerns on the recruitment process, since I would only get people that had only been screend by HR, and no matter the amount of questiosn, there's that "fuzzy" feeling you can only get when actually talking to someone. At the end, I would do the "screening" which was more a conversational interview, and I would ask scenarios just to get a sense on how that person reacted. But It would be a tier process...since I would invite the candidate to spend half a day at the office, actually getting to know who would be there peers. At the end they would provide feedback and we would extend an offer.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 7:28:31 PM
Examples?
Jack: These are all ideas that could be tremendously helpful in changing the hiring process. Can you please share one or two examples of your own experiences where you have applied one or two of these different approaches, how it was taken by the hiring company and by the potential employee? I think many of us would like to know how this approach has worked for you in practice. 
Jack Perkins
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Jack Perkins,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/30/2014 | 10:30:05 PM
Re: Examples?
Example: In my day job as a recruiter I recently shifted to what I call "soft touch" recruiting. This led my favorite Big Data client to hire a senior distributed systems engineer through my introduction. Besides a few emails I did not call and talk to the candidate. I acted as an ambassador, made the connection and nature took its course.

A bigger example is I mostly work with start-ups and I've seen this hundreds of times: By the time the start-up wants to work with me they have already hired their first dozen engineers. How? Through their own network: friends of friends of friends, referrals from their lead VC, people they meet commuting on BART (really)... Then they get too busy and start to think their network is tapped out so they hire recruiters and drop their networking efforts. Except maybe adding "I'm hiring" to their Linkedin profiles.

The start-ups are already pretty good at social recruiting and they don't know it. What they need is a system to help support them in continuing their already excellent efforts of organic growth. A system outside the realm of HR.

This is why I am an advisor to RightJoin (www.rightjoin.io). They are software engineers that see an opportunity to improve the experience of hiring software engineers. We have begun some initial pilot programs in software start-ups in San Francisco and Tel Aviv to prove results. Stay tuned and I'll let you know how the pilots are going.

Jack
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 10:39:06 PM
Re: Examples?
@Jack: Thanks for the examples, really enligtened approach here...good to see. Looking forward to learning more about RightJoin soon. Do keep us posted.
JoshuaFox,RightJoin
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JoshuaFox,RightJoin,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/31/2014 | 3:43:43 PM
Connecting professionals
Glad to see these positive comments.

This is exactly why we created RightJoin.io -- to make it easy to connect professionals outside the company to their peers inside it.

We all know that the best hires come from conversations between professional peers, for example people you run into at  a conference.

We saw the need for a toolset to let software engineers and other IT folks reach out and connect into the company to learn what it's like -- recruiting as it should be.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 9:58:24 PM
New angle
I like this concept of convincing candidates. People like software engineers or lets say almost every skilled professional is concerned also about their JD and the possible learning opportunities. Money and designation aren't always the critical factors. 
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
8/1/2014 | 3:43:14 PM
Stealth candidate
The reason why most candidates do not bother with interviewing is that they don't have to and the process of polishing that resume, doing a phone screening, a one on one meeting with HR, another interview with the hiring manager, another interview with peers including a skills test, followed by who knows how many more interviews...just to get offered a temp to hire opportunity.

Companies should get everyone in a room and then talk to the candidate. Ask questions and listen to the answers, then turn that around, have the candiate ask questions and then give answers.

OR: hire straight out of college and train your new employee the way you want. That will be more promising to find the ideal candiate than hoping that she or he magically shows up and begs for a job.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/4/2014 | 1:25:27 PM
Re: Stealth candidate
interesting point, as the process itself is not a simple one...


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