How to Discover the Next Generation of Developers with Skill-Based Recruiting

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How to Discover the Next Generation of Developers with Skill-Based Recruiting

We're long past the period when a detailed résumé or a tight virtual social circle would have been enough. It's time for Résumé 3.0.

· Agile Zone ·
Free Resource

The résumé is not as relevant as it once was. In today’s highly competitive technical recruiting environment, résumés fall short of what employers need in order to hire the right candidate for a job. Finding the best talent requires thinking in a new way about how to recruit and hire. The companies that gain an edge will be those that leverage skill-based recruiting to discover the next generation of developers. It’s time for Resume 3.0.

Why Résumés Fall Short

In the developer world of the 1980s and 90s, résumés were the standard. They revealed someone’s pedigree in terms of school and education and work history. What people put on their résumé was largely enough for recruiters and hiring managers to judge whether they had the requisite skills. That was the era of Resume 1.0.

The introduction of social networking, and specifically LinkedIn, marked the era of Resume 2.0. Recruiters were able to see who a candidate was connected to and what their friends, former employers, managers, and coworkers said about them. Someone’s professional network was like an extra layer of validation of their skills. It also made the importance of “who you know” in hiring more visible.

We are now entering the era of Resume 3.0. Over the past decade, there has been a revolution in how information is accessed and consumed. Beyond social media, massive open online courses (MOOCs) and YouTube have democratized learning and education. Top tier schools like Stanford, Harvard, and MIT have made their courses available and YouTube has tutorials for just about everything you can imagine. As a result, people around the world, from all different backgrounds, are acquiring skills that were previously only available to people at elite universities. Moreover, the rapidly moving nature of the technology industry means that content taught in classrooms can fall behind what’s valued or needed in the market.

This means that the traditional proxies on a résumé—education, work history—are not as relevant as they once were. Someone can master a set of technical skills from home while someone with an Ivy League degree may not have what it takes to keep up. Moreover, social networks have grown to the point that they mostly represent noise. If everyone has thousands of people in their network, a connection or endorsement doesn’t mean much.

At the same time, demand for developers is higher than ever. The talent war is getting bigger and fiercer as companies across industries need technical talent. It’s not just Silicon Valley companies anymore—companies like Starbucks are competing with tech companies for hires. Developers are in high-demand, which means employers have to expand the talent pool, which means they have to change the way they evaluate candidates. This is why the time for skills-based recruiting is now.

Skills-based Recruiting

Skills-based recruiting is centered on third-party verified skill assessment metrics. It uses data to create a measurable, quantifiable system for determining if a candidate is qualified. It’s like how a credit report pulls together a multitude of factors to provide a score that reveals whether someone’s credit is good or bad, and where they fit relative to others. With skills-based recruiting, candidates participate in assessments to test their skills in, say, Java. An algorithm scores their performance, which provides employers with direct and immediate insight into their skill level.

Skills-based recruiting eliminates the proxies of education or previous employers or professional connections and just looks at one question: Do they have the skills or not? The only reliable way to find talent at scale is to measure it directly. Resumes and social networks leave a lot of room for holes.

This approach widens the talent pool because it allows non-traditional candidates to stay in the running if they can do the work. It’s more meritocratic and transparent. A company won’t miss out on a great hire by dismissing them because of their paper résumé or LinkedIn profile, or—as much as we’d like to think otherwise—because of bias. Conversely, they won’t hire someone who looks great on paper only to find they are underqualified.

Furthermore, interviewing technical candidates takes a lot of time. A skills-based approach is more efficient because it won’t waste engineer’s (or really anyone’s) time assessing candidates who can’t do the work. Engineers can spend time with the right people and ensure their working hours are used productively.

Skills-based recruiting is where the market is headed. For all the talk about the talent crunch, there is plenty of talent out there for people who know how to look. Skills-based recruiting is how the next generation of developers will find their employers, and vice versa.

agile, dev career, developers, employment, recruiting technology, skills based recruiting

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