This article is written by Sara Isotalo.
As we know, experienced software developers have the opportunity to choose where they want to work. Talented wants to help Talents to find their dream jobs and projects, as Talented’s philosophy focuses on contributing to the career needs of the individual (here experienced software developers, the Talents). A Talent applies to Talented who then evaluates his/her technical skills. If qualified, the Talent will meet with the Talent Agents. During the meeting, the needs and career ambitions of the Talent are discussed. Talented then matches the Talent with partner companies who could offer the desired next step on the Talent’s career. After that, the process follows the recruitment process of the company in question.
I was assigned to map out the Talented service experience and Talents’ pain points during the process. The goal was to further develop the service experience and in order to reach that goal, I interviewed nine (9) Talents who had not accepted job offers through Talented but had been involved in the Talented process. In addition, I interviewed five Talent Agents to understand the business context of the service and conducted a literature review around the themes related to job choice decision.
Negative experiences from technical interviews
An interesting finding was that for two-thirds of the interviewees (9), the emotionally most negative moment during the recruitment experience was the technical interview executed by Talented partner companies. Everything had gone pretty decently until that stage of the process: Talents had enjoyed meeting with Talented Talent Agents and gotten their hopes up after a friendly culture fit interview with the HR of the partner company. Later in the process, Talents experienced delays and did not receive feedback about their performance at the interviews. The technical interviewers exhibited lack of human skills and commented on the know-how of the interviewee in an unconstructive manner. These experiences caused feelings of disappointment in Talents. Some even felt discouraged and insecure about themselves after.
One talent was very excited about a certain opportunity when he went to a technical interview. He had read good things about the company online, and especially the company values presented in the brand book struck a chord on him. At the technical interview, his image of the company was completely altered. The interviewers were all sitting on the other side of the table, creating a feeling of confrontation. The interview was really pressuring and stressful. The candidate got an image that the interviewers were not aligned with the values of the company since they did not have good human skills. This made him feel disappointed since he had expected a more friendly interaction based on the company values. He ended up accepting an offer from a company where the interviewers had great interpersonal skills. He received multiple offers but accepted the one with the best experience.
Pay attention to the interviewing style
Another candidate explained that the interviewing style was very interrogative and pressuring in many companies. He felt that it did not allow him to exhibit his skills as well as he could have. Despite this, he got multiple job offers. He accepted one from a company where the interview was very relaxed and he succeeded better in it.
Talents use their time and effort to work on code assignments prior to the interviews. Some companies don’t get back to Talents or give feedback about the assignments Talents have spent hours working on. One Talent got very aggressive and unconstructive feedback about his code assignment, and another felt that the company did not align their instructions to the evaluation of the assignment. Talents stated that at its best, technical interviews are great opportunities to learn about both the assignment and the company, but that requires that companies share feedback in a constructive way. Paying effort in planning the code assignments and their evaluation criteria is important as well.
Interviews should be fun experiences
None of the Talents accepted a job offer from a company with a negative technical interview experience. On the other hand, all of the Talents shared positive things about the recruitment experience from the company they chose. Talents enjoyed the learning experiences of challenging technical interviews where their skills were tested and where constructive feedback was received. Talents appreciated being able to meet their future team members and co-workers: They, for example, had lunch and pair coded with their future teammates. Good human and communication skills of recruiters were praised.
The recipe for excelling in the interview experience
The literature around job choice decision has acknowledged the meaning of recruitment experiences in talent decision making already in the 1960s. Now that the market for software developers is tight – if you want to hire developers, you should treat them in a respectful way. There’s nothing magical in the recipe for excelling the interview experience: good communication skills, constructive feedback, timely follow-ups and well-planned code assignments.
If you’d like to talk about how to recruit these in-demand Talents or streamlining and enhancing your recruitment processes, Tommi is your guy.
+358 40 746 7385
Need assistance with technical evaluations and/or interviews? Please contact Teemu.
+358 50 463 0004
More information about the research, please contact Sara.