The organization I used to recruit for operated under the belief that it was best to hire slow and fire fast. Because we wanted to be incredibly selective and hire the right people the first time around, this mentality made perfect sense on paper. But this approach to hiring also gave us a little too much flexibility, and many of our top candidates ended up enduring multiple (and unnecessary) final round interviews. Although a slower approach to hiring has its merits, here are a few signs that your technical hiring process is too long—and how it might be turning developer candidates off.
There are edge cases when a candidate reaches out a few hours after their interview to say, “What’s next?” However, those instances tend to be rare. Developers shouldn’t be responsible for moving the process along for you. If you notice an uptick in the number of candidates who reach out to you with questions about next steps, not only are too many of them left in the dark, but chances are that they’ve been through too many interviews.
Considering that only 13% of developers worldwide are actively looking for new jobs, you should be focused on creating an incredible candidate experience for anyone who agrees to come in for a technical interview. If you ask them to do too much of the logistical work, they’ll either turn their attention to other companies that are more accommodating—or they’ll simply take a pass and go back to their current jobs.
Our CEO Joel Spolsky recommends having at least six people interview each developer. That’s quite a few people for any developer to meet, but if those interviews all take place over the course of a week or two, they’ll probably remember each person. However, if your candidates can’t keep track of everyone they’ve met, this is a huge red flag about the length of your technical interview process.
Developers want to know more about the projects they’ll be working on and the people they’ll be working on them with. Even if your current programmers know how to sell your company to potential team members, it’s important for those first impressions to stick. An elongated interview process makes it much tougher on any candidate to remember even half of what they’ve learned from your tech team.
I’m going to fess up to something. A candidate that I interviewed once wrote me an email that made me scratch my head because I could not remember who she was. After digging around my inbox for a few minutes, I realized that not only had I spoken to her on the phone, I also intended on rejecting her weeks earlier. I was horrified when I realized this mistake. But more importantly, I felt terrible about the negative candidate experience this person had with us (and more specifically, me).
Developers want to work for companies that are excited about adding them to their team. Even a subtle apology for forgetting them can make them feel as if you’re not really interested. Considering the fact that their skills are in high demand, developers who feel underappreciated by a potential employer have plenty of other options.