How to design a recruitment process that saves weeks on hiring remote developers
Discover our custom recruitment process that allowed us to deliver a highly-skilled Senior Back End Developer to a Teal organization.
It is commonly held that neither candidates nor companies are generally satisfied with the recruitment process. With averages of 10-20 weeks spent on developer recruitment, from the kick-off to employment, ending up with a bad fit candidate can put your company in a problematic position.
The majority of applicants often lack the right skill set or experience. So how have we managed to shorten the recruitment process and find a remote developer that matches all expectations?
Get to know our recruitment challenge
Northern.tech was looking for a Senior Back End Developer with specific skills:
At ITCraftship, our unique recruitment strategy brings satisfying results every time. As the needs of each company vary considerably, awareness of this helps us tailor our recruitment process to save time and acquire a candidate who is ready from day one.
When Norwegian product company, Northern.tech, reached out to us – a recruitment agency, we knew that their needs would require a bespoke approach. As highlighted above it is quite clear that Northern.tech was looking for a particular kind of remote developer. They needed a senior Back End Developer to work on Mender – the only client-server, open-source solution for the deployment of secure over-the-air software updates.
Northern.tech has offices in Oslo as well as Palo Alto, with remote engineers working across Sweden, Poland and Ukraine. Northern.tech builds a suite of ease-to-use security products for the connected world. Northern.tech is also a Teal organization. A type of a company without hierarchy, where employees themselves create the processes and shape the future of the development.
Northern.tech, generally, attract many candidates and have impressive organic traffic of applicants. However, they don’t have dedicated HR resources on the team, and processing the overwhelming amount of applications is a challenge that consumes valuable time. For a company that is a Teal organization the ability to work effectively means there cannot be room for any waste.
This informed a starting point for our relationship. ITCraftship’s recruitment strategy assumed support in both sourcing and screening to offer the most value to Northern.tech. Our team’s composition of software engineers allowed us to verify candidates and given assignments technically. Also, we were able to verify answers to technical queries provided by a client and the results of the coding challenges.
8 essentials tech recruiters need to know before starting their recruitment process
As a recruitment agency, specialized in technical recruitment, we try to understand our client’s needs thoroughly. We realized that companies often lack clarity when expressing their recruitment needs and expectations. All potential new hires should know their prospective company’s goals and how they intend to achieve them. That’s why we always interview the client to identify their overall business growth strategy.
During interviews, we collect and analyze information about the main tasks that a remote developer will be encountering during work. Even companies open to remote software developers are often not entirely prepared for remote work. That’s why we always make sure the position itself is suitable for remote employment and verify if a client is prepared for it.
Alexis Bruemmer, an engineering manager at DigitalOcean confirms that telecommuting might not be the right choice for some positions in Ask these 4 questions before hiring a remote worker:
Even in the age of Slack and Google documents – some roles don’t work well remotely. For example, if you’re hiring an office manager or administrator, they should probably be present in the office. You need to ask yourself this before you even start considering candidates – because if it turns out that being remote is a hindrance to their role, you’ll probably face expensive and time-consuming problems down the line.
With Nothern.tech we knew at an early stage of cooperation that they were well-prepared for remote employees. They not only had a Company handbook that explained vacation policies, how to deal with problems, etc. but also an Engineering handbook. Their handbooks described to new software developers how company processes were conducted, what meetings they handled, what planning and grooming were for and what tools were used for remote team communication.
If you want to learn more, check out our article: Hiring a remote developer while scaling up a company – 5 must know facts
Our recruitment strategy discoveries
Bringing new people into a team is always exciting. However, it can also be a lengthy process if not well-thought-out. At ITCraftship, we designed a recruitment strategy optimized to identify first-grade remote developers, who are dynamic straight after onboarding. How? We always start by prioritizing high potential for fit when finding candidates.
The first step is the creation of a checklist that helps us monitor all actions required. After the planning stage and the client’s tech survey, we move to the preparation of all the necessary services for the launch of the recruitment process.
Based on the information we receive, we create a well-written and eye-catching job ad. Passive sourcing commences when we post job advertisements on relevant job boards, our website, and social media channels. Once our LinkedIn campaign has launched, and we have published the job offer, candidates begin applying.
To achieve satisfactory results, your recruitment strategy must include active sourcing. We simultaneously reach out to remote developers who have the desired skills and send them a short video about the position.
Our recruitment process enables candidates to feel informed and highly valued – exactly how we’d like to be treated ourselves. No ghosting, no prolonged waiting time for feedback, no messing around. It’s important to us that we build long-term and trusted relationships with our software developers.
Below you can see how our typical developer recruitment process looks like:
The ideal recruitment strategy is a combination of well-prepared sourcing and screening. We’ve prepared step by step instructions on what should happen after a candidate applies.
8 steps on how to screen for the best fitting remote developer for your remote team
Now let’s dig deeper into the custom recruitment process that we prepared for Nothern.tech:
Step 1. Client interview and tech survey – The main rule is simple, during interviews, you must understand exactly who you are looking for. The exact type of software developer that is needed. Each company delivers a product or service that requires specific skills and knowledge that a candidate for potential fit should possess.
We asked our client in detail about existing technical challenges, frameworks, libraries, technologies, business models and used methodology that allowed us to understand the company. We treat every company as our recruitment partner and emphasize communication.
Step 2. Submission form – We use a short application form, created in Typeform to collect all vital information from the remote developers who apply.
Northern.tech was inspired by our application forms, and they introduced a first obstacle – a Typeform questionnaire with questions that aren’t easy to google. Something that can only be verified by using webhooks or Zapier integration to eliminate candidates in the first step.
Since it takes between 10 and 20 minutes to fill in the form, you filter through the motivated candidates, saving time by highlighting the candidates who are willing to put in the time and effort.
Step 3. Initial CV screening – During the initial screening, we review the software developer’s CV and/or LinkedIn profile in addition to the information provided in the Typeform application. If we are satisfied with the details, the candidate is invited (at a convenient time with the help of Calendly) to attend an intro-call.
Step 4. Intro call – We want to keep our recruitment process short and efficient. Calls usually last about 20-30 minutes. During that time, we check the level of English fluency as well as general communication skills. We also appraise the level of compatibility with the client’s remote team. For a software developer, it’s an ideal moment to ask questions.
With Northern.tech, we prepared several technical questions centered around aspects that were associated with the technical stack necessary for product development (Golang, Python, microservices) – such intro calls last up to 45 minutes. It enabled us to verify at an early stage of recruitment if a candidate represents a high level of technical knowledge.
Step 5. Technical skills assessment – When checking the software developer’s technical skills the level of difficulty, type of questions, and the coding task must be fitting to the role as well as seniority.
When designing a coding assignment we try to bootstrap the project and take away everyday tasks from candidates so they can focus on showing their code style and problem-solving skills. The technical home assignment that our internal software engineers prepare consists of 2 parts: a test in HackerRank and a coding challenge.
However, Northern.tech decided to come up with their own coding challenge. Candidates received instructions sent in PDF. A Github repository was created by a developer and shared with our tech team for code review. We evaluated the results and Northern.tech verified whether they concurred.
Step 6. Video interview – If the remote software developer completes the test and technical assignment successfully, one of our technical recruiters conduct a 1-hour video call.
We discuss tricky moments and mistakes within the tech assignment to get to know the candidate better. Candidates who didn’t pass, receive feedback so they can learn from such experiences and improve.
In the case of Northern.tech, we were asked to prepare a shortlist with the best-matching candidates for the senior Back End Developer position. We provided test results (code review) and supported the client with professional advice and expertise. Then, after examining all the results of the coding challenge, our client decided whether they wanted to invite the candidate for an interview or not.
Step 7. Interview with the client – It’s necessary to keep constant communication with the client. Our Customer Success Specialist updates clients on how the process is progressing through weekly reports. We typically use Slack, Zoom/Hangouts to communicate.
When our recruitment process reaches final interviews, the Customer Success Specialist schedules a meeting at a convenient time for both parties. Later, we collect information about the candidate’s thoughts regarding the entire recruitment process, satisfaction with the presented candidates, and obstacles that appeared and impacted them from making the final decision.
Step 8. Closure – When a remote developer is finally chosen, we present an offer to that candidate. Even when our recruitment process comes to an end, we still stay in touch with the client as well as the employee. We make sure that everything is running smoothly, and both sides are happy with the outcome.
Tools we use that make our recruitment process smooth and easy
- Typeform makes a collection of the first essential information about remote developers quick and in a well-planned manner.
- Typeform, with the help of Zapier, integrates with Recruitee. We use it as our Applicant Tracking System, which saves us hours of work.
- The combination of Typeform, Recruitee, and Slack helps us keep a finger on the pulse. We respond to applying candidates as swiftly as possible.
- HackerRank as a tech screening platform that helps automate the screening part of the recruitment process. We usually treat it as the first hurdle to beat before our home assignment is sent. However, during this recruitment HackerRank wasn’t used.
- Google Hangouts helps us bringing remote developers and clients together with flexible video meetings as well as video interviewing candidates.
- We share with the candidate a Calendly link where they can easily choose a convenient time for a call concerning the recruitment process with us.
- Process.st helps our recruitment team to distribute responsibilities clearly and makes the whole workflow lean and organized.
- LinkedIn is a great social media platform for finding and connecting with remote developers. It allows us to reach out to them directly.
Our developer recruitment strategy achieves a result that surprises clients
Without IT technical knowledge we could have delivered candidates to Northern.tech who weren’t as skilled as expected and simply wasted our client’s time screening them.
Now we would like to reveal some figures that just show how important each part of our recruitment process is:
- Approximately 120 candidates, during 5 weeks, filled in the questionnaire on Typeform to apply for the senior Back End Developer position.
- After the initial CV screening, we rejected 60 candidates.
- After into call, we rejected another 37 candidates.
- The technical home assignment was failed by 20 candidates.
- Our client scheduled a video call with only 3 candidates.
- 1 software developer was invited by a client to Oslo to have a final conversation and ended up with an offer that was accepted.
From the first application for the senior Back End Developer position to the first video call with a candidate about 6 weeks passed. That was the part of the recruitment process in which ITCraftship was fully involved. However, it took another 5 weeks until the hire – this was the time our client needed to arrange all the video interviews and the Oslo trip for the best candidate to make a final decision.
Our cooperation with Northern.tech was well-organized from both sides. They communicated their needs and the skills they were looking for. It allowed us to handle the entire process efficiently and ended up with another recruitment success story.
You can find more recruitment tips in our article Hiring a remote developer while scaling up a company – 5 must know facts.