Co-Founder/CEO of Tigran codesignalAn automated technical assessment platform that helps companies go beyond resumes in hiring.
Engineers play an important role in finding and onboarding new technical talent. And rightly so—they’re often the best people to assess a candidate’s technical ability and team fit.
But as the technical hiring climate heats up, the amount of engineering time spent conducting interviews, writing custom technical questions, and evaluating candidates is no longer sustainable. Research shows that some engineering managers spend a surprising amount 15% of their time during recruitment. This affects the productivity of engineers and costs your business money: due to high hourly rates and time-intensive processes, The company pays six times more For engineers involved in recruitment as compared to recruiters.
The good news is that you can have it both ways: Engineers can (and should) be part of the hiring process, but there are steps you can take to ensure the process is as smooth as possible. This article will help you identify four common mistakes that waste engineers’ valuable time—and how you can fix them
1. Your engineers are interviewing at the initial stage.
Technical phone screen. Secondary technical screens. On-site panel interview. Executive Interviews…the list goes on.
Engineers are often involved in multiple interview stages, wasting a lot of their time and costing your business money. A traditional phone screen, which I’ve seen in the tech industry, usually lasts an hour. With an extra hour for prep and debriefing and an average engineer salary of $200/hour (based on my experience), that means an average of 40 tech phone screens to fill a position costs $16,000 per hire—and that’s just the hiring phase for the first one.
What is the solution?
It’s important to involve your engineers in the interview process, but early-stage interviews like technical phone screens can easily be handled by a technical screening vendor. The best in the business use industrial-organizational (IO) psychologists to validate questions and train interviewers, reducing the risk of bias and improving the candidate experience. You should also look for services that come with ATS integration and use computer scoring to evaluate candidates, which can save hundreds of interview hours while ensuring a fair evaluation process.
2. Your engineers are creating custom interview questions without support.
Depending on the complexity of the questions, it is common for engineers to spend two to six hours on a single interview question for technical assessments, take-home assignments, and live coding interviews. I’ve noticed that the average assessment for an engineering role consists of four questions and can take up to six hours—meaning an engineer can spend up to 25 hours on just one assessment, costing your business $5,000 (based on a $200/hour salary).
There are also questions of consistency and reliability. While there is no doubt that engineers understand the technical side of coding assessments, they may not know how to best present the questions to accurately and fairly test a candidate’s skills.
What is the solution?
The best assessment questions are not created by engineers alone. Instead, there should be a collaboration between subject matter experts (SMEs) and IO psychologists trained in best practices for assessment design. To reduce—or eliminate entirely—the time your engineers spend writing interview questions, you can lean on technical interviewing and assessment vendors that provide assessments developed and validated by IO psychologists and SMEs. The benefits are twofold: you’ll save your team time and money, but you’ll also increase accuracy, ensuring that every question is unbiased and job-relevant.
3. Your engineers are rewriting leaked queries.
Leaked questions are an inevitable part of hiring technology. Even when candidates sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), questions end up online. A recent study found that fraud and theft are most common three months after a company implements a new technical assessment, meaning engineers must rewrite them at least four times a year. In companies I’ve worked with, I’ve seen that evaluations require an average of 100 hours per revision, which means engineering teams are spending a minimum of 400 hours per year solving leak issues. $200 an hour, well—I’ll let you do the math.
What is the solution?
Of course, you can monitor popular forums and request a DMCA takedown But for most companies, this approach is neither scalable nor sustainable. Rather than wasting hours trying to control the uncontrollable, a better approach is to reduce the impact of leaked questions by using a service that conducts technical interviews and assessments through a competency assessment framework. This highly effective framework uses dynamic question rotation to ensure that each test and interview is highly customized for each candidate.
4. Your engineers are manually evaluating each applicant.
The ultimate mistake teams make in the hiring process is assessing every single applicant’s technical skills and fit for the role. Depending on the company, candidate evaluations may include technical phone screens, take-home assignment scoring, and on-site interview debriefs, which together add up to hundreds of engineer hours and thousands of dollars for the business annually.
What is the solution?
There are two ways to reduce the time engineers spend manually evaluating candidates. The first is to use a research-backed tool that automatically scores candidate codes. Many services offer this, but be sure to partner with one that gives you a comprehensive coding report For each candidate. This allows for a more accurate assessment and creates a higher correlation with both interview performance as well as job performance at a later stage.
The second part of the solution is using structured rubrics Candidates are in the debrief process. Rubrics are used to objectively assess a candidate’s knowledge and skills in a consistent and less biased process. Having a reusable scoring template not only makes the hiring process fairer but also speeds up the process by focusing engineers and giving them a structured process to follow.
Recruiting the best tech talent takes time and patience, no matter what process you have in place. But following these tips will give your engineers the breathing space to do what they do best: create new products, solve real-world problems, and move your business forward.