It is no secret the technology market in Dublin is thriving and the war for IT talent is intense. This is particularly the case for software engineers, where it appears the demand is currently exceeding the supply, which results in companies finding it very difficult to secure talented developers within the domestic market. As a recruiter, I see this issue daily, from both the candidate and the company perspective.
Companies are trying to differentiate themselves and improve their employee value proposition to attract and retain the software engineers which they desperately need. Good developers and being seemingly bombarded daily with new job offerings from recruiters and internal talent acquisition teams.
Competition is fierce and when a good developer becomes available, it is often case that they will have multiple job offers to consider. Organisations times to hire is key here, as I have seen companies miss out on excellent talent simply by taking too long to close the interview process. Thus, a candidate may accept an offer elsewhere, leaving the hiring manager and HR in the other company becoming extremely frustrated at the situation.
One technique that has become prevalent is to streamline the process by including a technical coding test as a first round interview, before any on-site interview takes place.
This allows the developer to show their skills while also demonstrating they can do the job, before having to take time out to meet a manager and find that technically they may not be strong enough for this role and time for both parties. Passing a technical test can mean that the candidate is physically capable of fulfilling this role. Then, the interview can focus more on the projects they will be delivering and the cultural/ team fit.
However, there is some drawbacks to this approach.
I have seen technical tests being somewhat over the top. At times they can take 3-4 hours to complete. This can be a big commitment for a candidate who has not yet met the organisation. In some cases, it may even put a candidate off proceeding, if they need to pass a test before proceeding to a formal interview.
I believe that a technical test is a really useful tool for reducing the time to hire for developers. However, the company must see things from the candidates’ side also. I think that the test should be limited to a maximum of an hour, which will allow the candidate to showcase their skills, rather than needing to take half a day to complete a substantial project without any guarantee of ever meeting with the company. The on-site interview will be an opportunity to further probe on the technicalities of the role. The test is an efficient tool but must be used effectively as part of the overall recruitment process.