3 tech hiring practices we want to see the back of in 2022
The pandemic has had a notable impact on the way companies hire by creating an unprecedented demand for specific jobs in tech — especially for those skilled in cloud-based systems.
We’re also seeing Brits leaving their jobs in record numbers as the trend dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’ sweeps the UK. Job-to-job moves came to almost a million between July and September of this year: a record high. The subsequent shortage and difficulties in hanging onto talent make it an employee’s market — meaning skilled tech workers are currently spoiled for choice.
With all this in mind, it’s never been more important to know which tech hiring practices are working — and which are becoming outdated, convoluted, or even (in some cases) unfair. Read on for our roundup of three hiring practices we think should ‘exit stage left’ in 2022, and the inclusive hiring practices we think should replace them.
1. Too many interview rounds
Software engineers have often dealt with long interview processes, which have historically included ‘brainteasers’. (One famous example: “Why are manhole covers round?”) While most methods like this used by Silicon Valley firms in the mid-2000s have been phased out, software companies still tend to have highly theoretical interviews. These days, some companies insist on over six interview rounds, which can make it challenging for a candidate to engage alongside their current role.
According to Neha Parashar, one reason companies do this is so that different skill areas can be focused on in each conversation. However, this many interview rounds may occur at other times because the hiring manager is unclear or undecided about what exactly they’re looking for — or because the candidate is being ‘kept warm’ until any internal indecision is sorted. Instead, we recommend getting crystal clear on the role and buy-in process from before the interview round begins.
In extreme cases, you run the risk of getting called out online. 49-year-old Mike Conley is an American software engineering manager who lost his job during the pandemic. He found a company he wanted to work for but pulled out after scheduling 4–9 rounds of interviews with him.
“It should not take 9 interviews for any role. You have trial periods. If you are still fearful, use contract-to-hire. Increasingly making interviews more and more lengthy and difficult can lose you the talent you are making the process more difficult for,” he wrote on Linkedin. His post went viral, and it has been viewed millions of times, with thousands of public comments of support, reflecting sentiment around the topic at the moment.
Our recommendation? Review how many interview rounds you’ve got, and only keep what’s essential. There’s no clear-cut rule for how many stages will be effective, but it’s good to be clear on what you want to get from your candidate at each stage. It’s also important to reflect on how to keep your candidates engaged throughout the process — after all, the final decision should be mutual!
2. Biased interview questions
People can be inherently subjective, no matter how unbiased they think themselves to be. This can lead to decisions in interviews being subject to various unconscious biases, which beyond those around race and gender can also include:
- Affinity bias (the unconscious tendency to get along with others who are like us);
- Attribution bias (systematic errors made when you evaluate or try to find reasons for your and others’ behaviors);
- Conformity bias (allowing your views to be swayed by others).
Beyond this, a lot of the data on candidate interview performance is not recorded and used holistically to assess individual decisions or the overall process objectively. Instead, the data tends to exist across multiple platforms and documents, being lost afterwards and allowing the bias to keep perpetuating over the years.
Moving beyond biased interview questions means looking objectively at the processes you have in place, which is best done through a third-party organisation such as Hustle Crew or Unleashed, both of which offer training, workshops and support through their talented diversity and inclusion experts that help organisations with their People processes. Opting for a third-party organisation can help you design more inclusive interview processes that ideally allow for a more data-driven approach.
3. Overcomplicated tasks
51% of workers currently employed are actively seeking or open to new job opportunities, meaning that most of them will begin interviewing for their next role while they are still in their current one, which usually involves working 40+ hours a week. In short, the best candidates might not have time or interest to complete these tests or will refuse to when they have competing job opportunities to consider.
“90% of candidates dislike the take-home technical test as an interviewing technique and would rather meet for a face-to-face interview or testing in-house as they believe it’s more practical and more time-efficient.”
For example, Kristen Shattuck found that before her interview, she was asked to create a personal statement, strategic plans, proposals, and watch videos, which she then had to produce written feedback on. This pre-work took six to ten hours, for interviews she often didn’t end up even sitting for.
Instead of complicated tasks, we recommend a face-to-face or timed interview that allows the candidate to complete all they need to do within a set time framework. This sets expectations clearly and puts less pressure on the applicant.
The point of calling out these practices isn’t meant to shame employers. Every organisation has different needs, and hiring practices may differ wildly depending on the role and seniority. But as the tech industry moves fast, companies need to be equally as agile with their hiring practices — or they run the risk of losing out on great candidates. Making sure you have inclusive hiring practices in place is a key step in building an inclusive culture that your employees feel they can thrive in.
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