With the latest advancements in technology, telecommuting is becoming increasingly popular and is here to stay. In fact, nearly 90% of employees have expressed their desire to work remotely, which debunks the myth that telecommuting is limited to the younger generations. The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic has meant that working from home is no longer seen as a luxury, but rather a necessity in order to keep operations running. This has created an increased need for remote screening of IT applicants by hiring organizations.
For companies that are relatively new to finding and recruiting talent remotely, it may appear to be a strange concept to hire without physically meeting the candidate in person. At our remote technical recruitment firm, we regularly work with this practice and have come to learn a great deal about screening remote software developers. Here is what we have found.
Pick Up Some Sources
In the past, obtaining references for prospective employees was a time-consuming task which could sometimes not be completed until the new hire had already started work. However, due to the advent of faster methods of communication, it is now possible to acquire references from previous employers or educational institutions in a matter of hours.
It is advisable to contact the previous employer of a candidate via telephone if possible, as this provides the opportunity to ask specific questions about the candidate’s performance on the job. These questions may include enquiring about how the individual managed pressure in their role, or the level of technical proficiency they possess. This method of communication is preferable to relying on general answers from a reference.
Assess Technical Ability
In the past, the whiteboard examination was the conventional way of assessing potential IT personnel. We have already considered the difficulties that such a method presents, but in actuality, it necessitates that the applicant relies on their memory instead of being able to show their problem-solving capabilities with the wealth of information at their disposal.
If you are looking for an objective evaluation of a potential candidate, there are a number of online testing services available, such as Code Signal and Codingame. Alternatively, you may wish to conduct your own investigation; for example, you could check to see if the candidate makes use of Github. If they do, it might be worth reviewing their interactions with the community and taking a look at their code.
Rather than relying solely on a certificate or other form of accreditation, it is recommended that you assess a programmer’s capabilities by providing them with a brief project or task to work on for you. This could involve fixing an existing issue, or adding a new feature to a programme. You could also have them join your team for a collaborative screen sharing and pair programming session. Doing so will give you an opportunity to directly observe their competence and judge their performance in a real-world context that is relevant to your organization.
In Depth: Beyond the Interview
It has been found that cultural compatibility is a more reliable indicator of a successful partnership than technical ability. In order to ensure that staff members feel part of the team and are able to contribute to its success, it is important to align their career goals with that of the organization. For example, the candidate who wishes to work from home and adheres to traditional office hours has a different set of values and work habits to that of a digital nomad who prefers to work remotely and on their own schedule. Even if the team only needs to communicate once a week for a meeting, it is essential to take time in the interview process to clarify working hours and expectations.
It is important to be aware of the myriad of resources available to help remote applicants perform well during video interviews. This will ensure that the candidate is seen clearly against a neutral background. If you are curious to learn more about the applicant, you may ask them to undertake the interview from their usual work environment. Additionally, you could request a virtual tour of the candidate’s home office to ascertain their organizational skills, productivity and the ability to maintain a clear boundary between their personal and professional life. For further tips on how to have a successful phone or video interview, please refer to this article.
In the early days of Apple, when Steve Jobs was at the helm of recruitment, he insisted that all employees should meet with a prospective hire before he would make a final decision. Steve Jobs’ genius was well known, but unfortunately, this practice of interviewing candidates has become commonplace in the recruitment process. The old adage, “you can readily gauge a man’s character by how he treats people who can do nothing for him,” is proving to be increasingly relevant and as such, candidates are increasingly being presented to members of staff from throughout the organization in order to observe how they interact with them.
Gaining Knowledge from Afar
The current prevalence of home-working during the pandemic is not reflective of the full scope of remote employment. It is important to recognize that working from home on a long-term basis presents its own set of challenges, and is not suitable for everyone. Therefore, when recruiting a software engineer it is advisable to look for one with previous experience of remote working in order to ensure they are equipped to take on the role.
If a candidate doesn’t have any prior experience of working remotely or has only recently been doing so due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is not necessarily a deal-breaker, although it is essential to ask them some questions regarding how they intend to tackle any issues that may arise. Questions such as how they plan to handle distractions, how they will priorities tasks, and what their strategy would be if they find themselves needing help with no one else around should be discussed. Asking the candidate to explain their strategy through a hypothetical scenario is an effective way to assess their suitability for a remote working role.
Entrust This to the Professionals
As experts in this field, we are dedicated to ensuring that businesses like yours are paired with developers and other technical professionals who have undergone a rigorous vetting process and have the necessary experience to work remotely. When we present you with a CV, you can be sure that the individual we suggest is not only technically proficient but also a good fit for the culture of your company and able to work effectively in a remote role. Furthermore, we can also take care of any human resources requirements that you may have. If you are currently searching for IT staff, allow us to do the groundwork for you.