Switching To Remote Hiring: 10 Changes You Need To Make Now

Gartner recently found that 74% of US companies intend to shift some employees to remote work permanently post Covid-19.

Indeed, remote work has become relatively widespread since the Covid-19 health crisis forced so many of us to stay at home. Now, restrictions are progressively and timidly being lifted. However, many believe that remote work is here to stay.

“Remote work isn’t just a short-term fix, but rather will open up new opportunities and test the long-term resilience of a business.” – Peter Jackson, CEO of Bluescape

We found, in our survey released last month on the effect of Covid-19 on developers and their jobs, that 98.6% of developers switched to remote working during the pandemic. One respondent underlined the adaptability of tech jobs:

“As information technology professionals, not only are we in a privileged position as one of the easiest fields to shift to telecommuting, but we also have a responsibility. Our jobs have become essential to the viability of a society that now relies almost exclusively on remote communications and digital resources to operate.” – Anonymous respondent

Developers seem to be adjusting fairly easily to working from home. But what does remote work imply for the HR professionals and tech managers who hire them?

How can companies continue to invest in and expand their tech teams? Which parts of the tech hiring process need to be tweaked in order to be effective in today’s new remote work environment? We picked apart the tech recruitment process to bring you some pointers.

Good news! You don’t need to scrap everything you know about technical recruitment! However, you do need to make some changes, and fast. This article will tell you where to make that extra effort to ensure you can keep up and switch to remote hiring.

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Summary

Related articles

This article is the first of a series of articles dedicated to remote hiring in tech.

Sourcing and attracting candidates: rethinking how you engage with developers remotely

The tech talent market is still as tight as ever and talented developers rarely turn up on your (virtual) doorstep brandishing a CV. You need to think proactively and change the way you look for and attract tech candidates.

1. Employer branding

You need to make smart changes to your employer branding: not so much in the way that you communicate (which is probably already online for the most part) but in what you communicate.

In a remote working world, posting about a fun office environment and cool afterwork events isn’t the best way to attract candidates! If you’ve made remote work part of your employer DNA, then it needs to shine through in your employer brand. You could:

  • Animate your social media with images of your colleagues’ work from home (#WFH) setup or your online morning coffee break
  • Publish easy-to-understand legal and logistical information on remote work on your website
  • Interview successful remote workers for your company blog
  • Build connections through online recruitment events
  • Etc.

2. Recruitment events

From your traditional hackathon to custom game-based coding challenges, recruitment events are an engaging and inventive way to attract and hire developers.

If you’re looking to recruit remotely, then in-person events are off limits: no opening up your offices, no fun decor, no face-to-face networking, no team strategy brainstorming, no welcoming hardware setup, no refreshments and no prize giving!

It sounds tough, but it’s easier than you think to organize a 100% online recruitment event.

CodinGame can take care of (almost) everything for you. Whether you go for a standard Clash of Code tournament, or decide to work on your own custom-made event, CodinGame deals with the technical setup and support. All you need to do is communicate the event to your networks, get in touch with your tech talent pipeline and invite any potential candidates to take part in your online event.

3. Employee referrals

Do you turn to your employees for referrals? That’s great and you can continue to do so.

However, if employee referrals in the past meant informal mixers or coding get-togethers, that has now changed. You need to get creative and come up with new ways to engage with referrals. How about inviting them to take part in your next online event, mentioned above ?

On the plus side, remote hiring means that you can engage with international referrals too – potentially increasing the amount of referrals you receive.

Note: Sourcing technology and automation is also a must for your online tech talent search. As it goes, most HR tech tools are perfect for remote working. However, make sure your tech is easy to log in to remotely (a SaaS tool is ideal) and allows for smooth team collaboration.

Screening developers: turning to online assessment tests

In recruitment, screening is the process of reviewing candidate applications to find the closest possible match for an identified position. Assessing whether developers have the right skills and aptitudes to be shortlisted is an essential, yet time-consuming, part of the tech hiring process.

4. Applicant tracking

As part of your screening process, you’re going to get through a ton of CVs. Excel spreadsheets and homemade filing systems are far from ideal at the office and unthinkable in a remote work environment!

Look for a tool that will allow you to easily sort, shortlist, and share candidate profiles. You need to level the playing field and facilitate team work (none of this “It’s my system and it suits me!” nonsense). Choose your recruitment tool or ATS carefully.

5. Technical skills assessment

Screening is more than simply sifting through CVs. It’s working out if candidates have what it takes to be successful in a role.

As part of your remote tech recruiting process, you need to be able to assess developers’ technical skills. In the past, you could invite developers to your office to take a written technical test or to take part in a whiteboard interview with a member of the technical team. Now, you’ve got to think online assessment and HR tech.

Assessment tools that are perfectly suited to remote hiring will make your life so much easier. In these unpredictable and worrying times, It may seem daunting to invest in new technology, but it’s essential if you want to keep pace.

CodinGame Assessment, for example, is an online technical assessment platform that’s ideal for remote tech hiring:

  • 100% online
  • Provides for positive candidate experience
  • Easy to use as a team (company and user organization)
  • Allows for collaborative recruiting (tech team can easily create their own custom questions if need be)

Remote interview: conducting efficient, unbiased remote interviews

6. Interviews

We understand if the idea of an interview process where you can’t meet candidates face to face makes you shudder but… the show must go on!

Yes, there are many advantages to face-to-face interviews.

That’s why, in our 2020 CodinGame Survey, both our community of HR professionals (62.2% of respondents) and our community of developers (42.5% of respondents) said that a face-to-face interview was their favorite interview format.

Nevertheless, hiring is changing and you have no choice but to roll with the punches.

The interview is a decisive part of the recruitment process. With remote interviewing, you’re pushed to overcome extra hurdles (technical difficulties, non-verbal communication barriers, distance, etc.). You need to adapt your process so as to continue to nail this essential part of recruiting.

Note: It’s important to pick the right remote interview tool. During the Covid-19 crisis and as a result of social distancing, a whole bunch of video conference applications gained sudden popularity. Zoom, for example, saw their daily downloads go from 56,000 in January 2020 to 2.13 million in March 2020.

Regardless of popularity, it’s important to choose a tool that truly fits your needs. CodinGame’s remote interview tool not only has the basic video, audio and chat options, but also provides you with a live shared coding editor and syntax highlighting.

Making an offer: keeping in touch and securing a remote “Yes!”

7. The job offer

So you’ve shortlisted a developer based on their technical skills, you’ve “met” them in a first and second interview, you’ve “introduced” them to a couple of the people they’d be working with and now you want to take that leap of faith and make an official offer. Hoorah! ?

You want to include the usual in your job offer:

  • Job description
  • Job title
  • Reporting structure
  • Starting date of employment
  • Salary
  • Benefits information and eligibility
  • Acknowledgment of offer and confirmation of acceptance

– with some small revisions.

For example, make sure you include any expectations linked to remote work (regular visits to headquarters, for example). Make sure you also adapt your salary offer, taking living expenses (your potential hire may not be based in the same town as you) into account. Also, include any benefits you offer to remote workers (a new laptop or an allowance towards office furniture, for example).

Note: It’s also extremely important (even more so when remote hiring) to stay in touch with candidates throughout the entire recruitment process. In fact, more than 1 in 2 developers say that “Lack of feedback” is what annoys them most about the hiring process (2020 CodinGame Survey).

Having never met you in person, developers will have no scruples turning down your offer or accepting another if you don’t keep the fire burning. To avoid being dropped, send regular, personal and friendly updates to candidates in the running.

Hiring “the one”

You did it! You hired a developer remotely!

8. The hire

The fundamentals of hiring (employment contract, collecting contact and banking details, setting up health plans, etc.) don’t need to undergo drastic changes. Although, you do need to make sure you adapt any paperwork to remote working and include any obligations or policies (in regards to working hours, equipment, etc.)

We’d also suggest that you take this time to do a little introspective thinking. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Would I have noticed this developer’s application if remote hiring hadn’t pushed me to make unbiased online technical assessments an integrated part of my screening process?
  • How much do I usually rely on the impression candidates make on paper or in a face-to-face interview?
  • How much time did I save by updating my hiring process with HR technology?

Remote onboarding process: renovating and restructuring your onboarding for developers

Quite obviously, the onboarding process needs to undergo a “remote transformation”. Since you won’t be welcoming anybody into a buzzing office space, you’ll need to make some changes to support and guide your new hire.

Most before-the-start-date preparation doesn’t need to budge (writing a welcome email, sending the employment contract, giving access to tools and systems, adding to the payroll, etc.). Some things can even be crossed off your onboarding checklist for good!

However, once your new hire is officially part of the company, you’ll have to put your remote thinking cap on!

9. Training and project onboarding

In this year’s CodinGame Survey, we asked over 20,000 developers to name their biggest challenge at work. “Unclear direction” made second place, only just beaten by “Rework, changes and unplanned work”.

It’s extremely important to make sure that new developers are properly included in ongoing projects. Unfortunately, in a remote working context, this can end up being a rushed or slapdash affair.

Extra effort must be made to ensure new recruits understand what’s going on and how to play their part. Otherwise, developers will quickly feel isolated, confused and frustrated. Tech managers must pay particular attention to new team members in the first months: planning their first week of work, checking in with them regularly, giving training on how to use project management tools and walking them through processes, explaining goals and objectives, describing the company’s end game…

10. Meeting and greeting

Work relationships can make or break an onboarding and developers pay particular attention to team dynamics. In fact, when we asked programmers whether they prefer to work alone or as part of a team, a great 76% answered “Team work makes the dream work!”.

You can’t force developers to get on. However, you can play your part in bringing your coders closer together – and this is especially important when teams are working remotely.

Where you might usually organize an informal team lunch or a board game evening at the office, you’ll have to think outside of the box to make newcomers feel part of the gang. Why not take the opportunity to organize an online coding event for your team? There’s nothing like a spot of competitive and addictive programming to excite and unite developers. And don’t forget to set up a live chat for banter!

Let’s recap, shall we?

Your plan of action for the next few weeks. You’ve got this!

 

Switching to remote hiring: action plan No need for change Need for change
Sourcing and attracting candidates
Employer branding X
Recruitment events X
Online presence/outreach X
Social hiring X
Employee referrals X
Use of sourcing technology X
Screening
Applicant tracking X
Technical skills assessment X
Screening phone interview X
Interview process X
Making an offer X
Hiring “the one” X
Onboarding process
Advance preparation X
Training and project onboarding X
Meeting and greeting X

STRUGGLING TO HIRE SKILLED DEVELOPERS?

There’s a better way to test coding skills.

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Nathalie Morris

Nathalie Morris

Nathalie is CodinGame for Work’s content manager. When her head’s not humming with #ContentStrategy, #BlogPosts and #SocialMedia, chances are she’s watching Friends (again) or making strawberry and lemon cheesecake. Golden retrievers are her ultimate weakness.