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While resumes and CVs can be an indicator of a candidate’s potential and fit for a role, it’s important to look at a variety of other factors as well. Judging a developer solely by what is written on a piece of paper never turns out well. Maybe they went to an Ivy League school, but is their code clean? Maybe they worked at Microsoft, but do they have a terrible attitude when working with others? These things cannot be translated well by just looking at a CV.

Our CEO Joel Spolsky put it best when he said, “The standard job application of cover letter plus resume is a phenomenally weak way to introduce a candidate. They give you only the faintest clues as to the quality of an applicant.”

When we asked developers about the annoying parts of searching for a job, maintaining an up-to-date CV was at the top of their list. This means that many developers – especially those who are passive and not really actively looking for a new job – likely have out-of-date CVs that don’t show their latest projects, employment, and skills. So why should you be evaluating someone on something that is so archaic in their eyes?

Developer CVs can be an efficient “first touch” in the candidate screening process. They allow you to see where the candidate has worked and what they did at those jobs. But it leaves out large chunks of helpful information, like examples of their work in a portfolio, live websites and projects, Git commits, blog posts, code snippets, and more.

Developer CVs are also a good way to screen out the “bad” applicants – the ones who have multiple misspellings, have no relevant coding experience, or are super generic.

So what else should you look at in addition to a developer's CV?

Technical interview questions are a great way to evaluate the candidate’s depth of knowledge, as are coding tests and code reviews. In fact, when asked what they want to see more of in interviews, 33% of developers said they wanted to see live code. This can be done using “whiteboard programming”, which is where the candidate is given a problem to solve and asked to write an application to solve the problem on the board. This allows the candidate to explain their thought process while being evaluated by the hiring manager.

An additional thing to look for when evaluating a candidate is their personal or side projects. Lots of developers spend time outside their job working on their own personal websites, blogs or other coding projects. This is a great way to see their skills, strengths, and passions outside of the office. 

Sites like Github and Stack Overflow are excellent ways to screen a candidate as well. You’ll notice many developers will include these links on their CVs to encourage employers to check out. 

tech recruiting 101

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