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How Recruiters Secretly Evaluate Tech Pros

How Recruiters Secretly Evaluate Tech Pros

If you expect an employer to only use phone screens and interviews to evaluate your qualifications, you may be in for a surprise. Here are some key to to how recruiters secretly evaluate tech pros.

Recruiters are increasingly using outside-the-box strategies, tools and stealth techniques to vet potential employees, even those who haven’t applied for a position. The idea is to predict how a tech pro will perform once they join the team and are no longer on their “best behavior.”

Don’t let your guard down. Here are six examples of innovative screening techniques that employers may use to evaluate your technical skills, temperament and cultural fit.

It’s Not All Fun and Games

Coding challenges and hackathons aren’t just for attracting passionate tech pros. Employers may assess your potential by combining simulations and game play with behavioral science and data analytics to evaluate your personality, behaviors and technical skills. In other words, they evaluate not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.

Undercover Evaluators

When is a lobby receptionist not a lobby receptionist? When he or she is actually a behavioral psychologist who evaluates candidates waiting for interviews, said Doug Beabout, owner and president of The Douglas Howard Group, a personnel and training-services company.

“At one major company, the receptionist evaluates a candidate’s actions, body language and which magazines they read while they wait,” Beabout explained. “She submits a report to the hiring manager before the candidate finishes their interview.”

He offered this advice: “If you’re waiting for an interview, don’t pick up the magazines.”

Covert Selection

To save sourcing and screening time, recruiters are using Big Data tools and analytics to determine whether a potential candidate is qualified for a position. For instance, social aggregators scrape information from the web and create a consolidated profile outlining a tech pro’s technical expertise, projects, interests, work history, hobbies, and so on. Some of these tools use an algorithm to score and rank your abilities behind the scenes.

For instance, employers may use a platform such as HackerRank to evaluate your code samples, according to Shally Steckerl, president of The Sourcing Institute. Alternatively, recruiters may judge your ability to garner interest and interact with colleagues by reviewing your open-source projects, including your participation on forums.

“When others join in [on a project], it’s viewed as a show of confidence from your colleagues,” Steckerl noted.

Off-List References

Recruiters like to evaluate potential candidates before they decide to make contact. They may consult your contacts on professional networking sites, including former bosses and clients, to assess your fit and verify the information in your online profile.

Continuity Checks

Does your cover letter express your profound interest in working for a Fortune 500 manufacturing firm? Then why are you following tech startups on Twitter? And why do you have a profile posted on AngelList? Recruiters may search for your presence on job boards, as well as your social-media patterns, to determine whether your information aligns with the information you’ve given them.

Surprise Encounters

Some hiring managers use social settings and surprise encounters to catch candidates off-guard. For example, a hiring manager may call you after hours or begin phone screens late to weed out candidates who are inflexible or easily annoyed. Or someone may burst into the room in the middle of your coding test or panel interview to see how you react.

“A hiring manager in North Carolina takes out-of-town prospects to lunch at a backwoods BBQ joint, just to read the prospect’s comfort level with the local culture,” Beabout said.

Annoying job hunting

The Most Annoying Part of the Job Search Process

What’s the most annoying part of the job-search process? According to new data from Robert Half, it’s waiting to hear back after a job interview.

Some 23 percent of the 1,000 U.S. workers who responded to Robert Half’s survey indicated that they would lose interest in a firm that didn’t contact them within a week after the initial job interview, while 46 percent said they would lose interest after one to two weeks without some sort of check-in from the prospective employer.

“Professionals in fields such as compliance, cybersecurity, Big Data and finance can receive four to six offers within a week,” Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half, wrote in a statement accompanying the report. “Candidates with several options often choose the organization that shows the most interest and has an organized recruiting process.”

Faced with a lengthy wait, some 39 percent of respondents said they would lose interest in the potential job and begin pursuing others, while 32 percent would begin to question the prospective employer’s very ability to make decisions. Another 18 percent said they would lose interest in the role, but decide to stay in their current position.

Other pet peeves among job-hunters: having an interviewer describe a different role than the one described in the initial job posting; being asked to attend too many interviews; and scheduling delays for interviews.

A recent analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data by USA Todaysuggested that tech professionals earn a salary premium over their non-tech colleagues, especially in major tech hubs such as Seattle, San Francisco and Boston. In those cities, tech pros with the right mix of background and skills can earn a comfortable six figures—which is good, considering the high cost of living in many of those places.

With that much demand, technology jobs stay open only 25.8 days on average, according to the latest update of the DHI-DFH Mean Vacancy Duration measure, which is based on the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) in the United States. No wonder tech pros on the hunt for their next position get impatient if they don’t hear from a company in a week or two—chances are good they’re already fielding queries from other interested firms.