How should your hiring process change from a fresh engineer to a senior engineer
A report on the National Employability of Engineers released last year by Aspiring Minds showed that a mere 3.67% of software engineers are employable for large-sized companies. Other statistics show that 90.72% of graduating engineers do not have the programming and algorithm skills desired by IT product companies, 72.77% lack soft-skills, and 59.40% lack cognitive skills.
With such dismal numbers, how do you find graduates or senior engineers with the right mix of skills to fulfill your requirements? In this article, we will talk about how to find great talent for your company and what to focus on when hiring fresh and senior engineers.
Regardless of the level, you’re recruiting for, the first step is the same — defining your requirements in the form of skills needed and roles and responsibilities to be performed.
“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.” — Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Just like Alice, you will have trouble getting to your destination — finding the perfect candidates — if the path or requirements are not well-defined. Once you have defined the requirements, you can start the hiring process for your candidates.
Hiring Process for a Fresh Graduate
Since a degree is clearly not a relevant measure of employability, it is critical that the hiring process is able to ascertain in other ways whether the candidate has the right skills and is a good fit for the company. It should check whether the candidate has technical acumen along with necessary soft skills such as the communication and interpersonal skills to work in a team. The hiring process for a fresh engineer looks something like this:
The first step in the hiring process is to source the right candidates for the job. You could try campus placements, use outside recruiters who do the sourcing for you or use inbound recruitment techniques to attract the right candidates. Any or all of these sources could give you a pool of candidates for consideration.
in this FastCompany article, Keawe Block, a recruiter at Google, says that they look for candidates who have experience at hackathons, coding competitions, or have had programming assignments at work. Check the resumes to see what coding languages they know, and what relevant internships they might have done. These give an insight into their technical acumen which can be tested further in the next stages.
You have a targeted pool of potential recruits. The next step is to filter them further by testing these candidates on their technical skills. Alternatively, you can use tools (such as HackerEarth Recruit) which have an online coding test, that allows you to check scores in real-time and use detailed test reports to analyze performance.
Depending on the job requirement, this could be an interview or a series of interviews with supervisors and peers. If your engineers are expected to work in an agile environment, your questions should check for whether the candidate is a team player, is patient, and resilient as she would be working for long periods of time with the rest of the team. Check mainly for “fit,” whether you see the person blending in and growing with the company.
Lastly, it does not matter if the candidate is not a full-stack developer, as long as she demonstrates a willingness to learn and has the right attitude. Technical requirements of companies are ever-changing, and any skills one has today might be rendered redundant tomorrow.
Hiring Process for a Senior Engineer
The hiring process for a senior engineer differs vastly from that of a fresh graduate. For starters, the emphasis is on experience and accomplishments in past roles. The other vital difference is in sourcing senior managers, which is much more challenging because of the limited pool of qualified senior engineers available.
The hiring process for a senior engineer looks something like this:
With fresh engineers, there is a problem of plenty; with senior engineers, the opposite holds true. There are few engineers at the senior level who have skills that you need, and they might not be motivated to switch jobs. Referrals are the perhaps the best approach to attract candidates in this case as they referrals a mutual interest from both the employer and the potential hire. You can also use inbound recruitment techniques, such as your website and social media handles, to advertise and invite candidates to apply. Alternatively, you can use recruiters to do the sourcing for you.
The quickest way to screen candidates is to conduct telephonic interviews where you can ask them for further details about their experience and skills. A more detailed way to check their acumen would be to assign a coding test, allocate some time to work on it and do a review with them. This gives you a chance to see them in action and judge their ability in a practical manner.
The selection involves interviews with the top management. The number of interviews is usually lesser for a senior engineer than a fresh graduate. The interview will focus on the candidate’s experience and how that might be relevant to the role that the candidate is being interviewed for. The interview should focus on how he has demonstrated leadership skills in the past with relevant examples. A candidate that attends conferences and technology meet-ups indicates that she’s in touch with changing technology trends.
Since the requirements for graduates and senior engineers are different, the skills tested and the hiring process cannot be the same for both. While you look for leadership skills, stability, and relevant experience for a senior engineer; you look for aptitude, a willingness to learn, and culture fit while hiring fresh engineers. As stated above, it all needs to tie back to the company’s requirements. A vital point of difference is also negotiations with senior candidates. It is difficult to make the switch if they don’t get the salary they’re looking for. With fresh graduates, because of the abundant supply, it is possible to find someone in your budget, but with senior engineers, the salary must be lucrative enough, hence the negotiations take longer.
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