You wouldn’t hire a designer based on a list of places they worked. Why hire a developer that way?
Stack Overflow Developer Stories are better than resumes. They are designed to give you a full picture of a candidate based on what they know and built. Stories give you insight into the candidate’s proficiency in different technologies, open source contributions, blogs, applications and websites they’ve built, Stack Overflow activity, and much more. This information is valuable and usually gets lost on a traditional CV or resume due to the strict format.
We give you both the traditional CV view of a candidate and the Developer Story view.
Here’s what you’ll find:
When you’re evaluating candidate profiles, a developer’s work experience is a good place to start. While it shouldn’t be the only thing you consider, the work items on a candidate’s Developer Story or CV provides additional context for their previous jobs. Not only do candidates share past responsibilities and achievements, but they can also include specific technology tags to show which languages they used to get the job done.
Technology tags highlight the candidate’s preferred tools and languages. Each tag represents a specific technology that the candidate has used, likes or dislikes. This is a great way to evaluate whether or not the programming culture at your organization may be a good fit for this candidate.
TIP: Even if a candidate is not currently using a programming language or technology required for your current opening, if they have it listed in their “likes” section, this is a good indicator that they may have the interest to learn the technology quickly on the job.
Open source projects are a great way to evaluate a candidate’s programming skills before initial contact: Participating in open source projects shows passion and love for programming. But keep in mind that a lack of open source projects does not mean a candidate is not passionate about programming.
If a developer has linked to an open source project on their Developer Story, you can check to see how popular a project is and whether it’s built on a technology stack related to what your company uses. The number of people who follow an open source project or a number of times a project has been forked can be a good indicator of a project’s popularity and usefulness. However, nothing beats checking out the project itself and finding out how it was built, why it was built, how it was documented, and how well it works.
Developers love sharing knowledge. This section of their Developer Story and CV allows them to share blog posts they’ve published and/or recordings of talks they’ve given on a particular topic. This is a great way to evaluate a candidate’s passion for writing code, as well as how they communicate complex ideas to a wide audience.
Developers have made no secret of the fact that the most satisfying part of their job is shipping code. Check out what a developer has built to completion. Often this is more revealing of a candidate’s passion and what they’re capable of doing than a list of responsibilities at their last job.
TIP: Developers are more receptive to recruiters who have done their research. Start conversations with candidates by inquiring about how they built the features and/or apps they’ve shared on their profile.
Education background can be a useful data point, but we want to stress that it shouldn’t be overemphasized. Here’s why: where a developer graduated and what kind of degree they received does not indicate whether or not they are qualified for a job. In fact, 90% of software developers say they are at least partly “self-taught” and the number has been increasing in recent years with the availability of online courses. Don’t get hung up on hiring a developer with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science. You won’t find your perfect candidate that way anymore. Seeing what a candidate has actually built and the tools and technologies they know is more indicative of their ability to do the job.
Candidates who have answered questions on Stack Overflow choose their favorite answers to display on their Developer Stories. If you notice a technology (tag) or title that seems relevant to your position, read the question and full answer to dig deeper. You’ll find coding samples, problem solving skills, a sprinkling of humor, and depth of knowledge that you won’t see on a resume.
TIP: You can also use their answers as a writing sample to see whether they can clearly communicate, explain, and collaborate with others.
This is one that’s rare to find on a resume or CV. Candidates recommend blog posts, articles or books that have had an impact on them. This can provide useful meta data on topics and perspectives that the candidate finds interesting.
TIP: Don’t overlook a candidate because they don’t have all of these sections filled out. An absence of information does not indicate a less qualified candidate.
What are reputation points?
When candidates participate on Stack Overflow, other users upvote or downvote their questions and answers to generate reputations points. A high reputation score can be viewed as social proof (like working at Google)—it doesn’t tell you everything you’ll need to know, but it can be a helpful indicator. You can read more about reputation points here.