October 3, 2022


Tigran is co-founder/CEO code signalan automated technology assessment platform that helps companies go beyond resumes when it comes to hiring.

Engineers play a vital role in finding and onboarding new technology talent. That’s right — they’re often the best people to assess a candidate’s technical ability and team fit.

But as the tech hiring environment heats up, the engineering time spent interviewing, writing custom tech questions, and evaluating candidates is no longer sustainable.Research shows that some engineering managers spend staggering 15% of time is spent on recruiting. This affects engineer productivity and costs your business money: due to higher hourly rates and time-consuming processes, Companies are paying six times as much Engineers involved in recruiting compared to recruiters.

The good news is that you can have both: Engineers can (and should) be involved in recruiting, but there are steps you can take to ensure the process is as streamlined as possible. This article will help you identify four common mistakes that take up valuable engineer time, and how to fix them.

1. Your engineer is in an early interview.

Technology phone screen. Secondary technical screen. Live group interviews. Executive interviews…the list goes on.

Engineers are often involved in multiple interview stages, taking a lot of time and costing your business money. From what I’ve seen in the tech industry, traditional phone screens typically last an hour. Add in one hour of preparation and debriefing and an average engineer salary of $200 per hour (in my experience), which means it takes an average of 40 tech phone screens to fill a position, at a cost of $16,000 per hire – which is just The first recruitment stage.

What is the solution?

Involving your engineers in the interview process is important, but technical screening vendors can easily conduct early interviews such as technical phone screening. The best in business use Industrial Organization (IO) psychologists for question validation and trained interviewers, minimizing the risk of bias and improving the candidate experience. You should also look for services with ATS integration and use computer scoring to evaluate candidates, which can save hundreds of hours of interview time while ensuring a fairer evaluation process.

2. Your engineer creates custom interview questions without support.

Depending on the complexity of the question, engineers typically spend two to six hours on a single interview question for technical assessments, take-home assignments, and live coding interviews. I’ve observed that the average assessment for an engineer role consists of four questions and can take up to 6 hours – that means an engineer can spend up to 25 hours on an assessment that costs your business $5,000 (based on $200 /hour wages).

There are also issues of consistency and reliability. Engineers undoubtedly understand the technical aspects of coding assessments, but they may not know how to best ask questions to accurately and fairly test a candidate’s skills.

What is the solution?

The best evaluation questions are not asked by engineers alone. Instead, there should be a collaboration between subject matter experts (SMEs) and IO psychologists trained in assessment design best practices. To minimize or completely eliminate the time engineers spend writing interview questions, you can rely on technical interview and assessment vendors that offer assessments developed and validated by IO psychologists and SMEs. The benefits are two-fold: you’ll save your team time and money, but you’ll also increase accuracy, making sure every issue is fair and job-relevant.

3. Your engineers are rewriting the leaked question.

The issue of leaks is an inevitable part of tech hiring. Even if candidates sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), questions can still surface online. A recent study showed that cheating and plagiarism were most common three months after companies implemented new technology assessments, meaning engineers had to rewrite them at least four times a year. In the companies I’ve worked with, I’ve found that it takes an average of 100 hours to evaluate each revision, which means that the engineering team spends at least 400 hours per year fixing problem leaks. $200 an hour, well – I’ll let you do the math.

What is the solution?

Of course, you can monitor popular forums and request removal of the DMCA. But for most companies, this approach is neither scalable nor sustainable. Rather than wasting time trying to control uncontrollable factors, a better approach is to reduce the impact of leaks by using a service that conducts technical interviews and assessments through a skills assessment framework. These efficient frameworks use dynamic question rotation to ensure that each test and interview is highly customized for each candidate.

4. Your engineer is evaluating each applicant manually.

The final mistake teams make during the hiring process is to manually assess each applicant’s technical skills and suitability for the role. Depending on the company, evaluating candidates can include technical phone screening, take-home assignment grading, and on-site interview debriefing that add up to hundreds of engineering hours and thousands of dollars in business each year.

What is the solution?

There are two ways to reduce the time engineers spend manually evaluating candidates. The first is to use research-backed tools that automatically score candidates’ codes.Many services offer this feature, but be sure to partner with a service that can provide you with a comprehensive coding report for each candidate. This allows for more accurate assessments and leads to higher correlations with later interview performance as well as job performance.

The second part of the solution is to use structured rubrics during the candidate debriefing process. Rubrics are used to objectively assess a candidate’s knowledge and skills in a consistent manner and reduce bias in the process. Having reusable scoring templates not only makes the hiring process fairer, but it speeds up the process by keeping engineers focused and giving them a structured process.

Hiring the best tech talent takes time and patience, no matter what process you have. But following these tips will give your engineers the breathing room they need to do what they do best: develop new products, solve real problems, and move your business forward.


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