How to Avoid Mis-Hires in IT Recruitment

We often turn to our clients to understand the ins and outs, the ups and downs of their tech hiring lives. One pain point that comes up regularly is mis-hiring.

Bad hiring decisions are expensive. The cost of a mis-hire can be anywhere from 5 to 27 times an employee’s actual salary, and according to a three-year Leadership IQ study, 46% of new hires prove unsuccessful within 18 months! This means that a mis-hire for a tech position that pays $45,000 per year could cost your company anywhere from $225,000 to $1,215,000! That’s a lot of money – that you could be investing elsewhere.

While you may not be able to eradicate mis-hires from your recruiting vocabulary completely, you can limit how often you experience them. Here are our top tips – tried and tested by our vast community of HR professionals and tech hiring managers.

  • Tip one: Introduce potential hires to your tech team
  • Tip two: Streamline and automate your screening progress
  • Tip three: Plan your interview questions carefully

Introduce potential hires to your tech team

As part of our 2020 international CodinGame survey, we asked developers, “What is the main, non-negotiable reason you’d decline a job offer?” More than 1 in 3 developers (34.4%) replied, “Company culture doesn’t match my personal views.”

What does this mean? It means that company culture is incredibly important to developers – just as it is (or should be) to you. Indeed, a culture and values mismatch can result in a painful recruitment experience. 

So, what can you do to avoid the distress of a mis-hire? 

First, be clear about your expectations for your new hire’s demeanor and conduct in the workplace; ensure that your candidate is also aware of how current team members approach their work and responsibilities, how they interact with each other, and the company’s goals and values. 

We’d strongly recommend introducing potential hires to your tech team. The people working at your company will reflect your company culture with authenticity and transparency.

Here at CodinGame HQ, for example, we often invite promising candidates to join us for lunch. We eat at a large wooden table in the kitchen. At lunchtime, this table becomes a busy hub. We don’t all eat the same thing at the same time and conversations rarely rotate around work – it’s very laid back. By inviting a developer to the office at lunchtime, we give them a real, unfiltered sneak peek of life at CodinGame. They get to meet the people they’d be working with on a daily basis, ask questions and generally get a feel for the place. 

CodinGame kitchen scene
Why not invite promising candidates to drop by your office?

This allows candidates to have a clearer picture of what to expect, and we get to see if they’re comfortable in our office environment. We get a modest view of how well they interact with others and possibly some information that might not come out in an actual interview – a little like an “undercover interview” technique

Candidates are more likely to open up to potential colleagues, and if your team knows they’re a part of the interview process, they’ll be on the lookout for any red flags in a candidate’s work ethics, attitude towards former managers or jobs, inherent arrogance or conceit, and any other issues that might make collaboration difficult.

With something as simple as an informal lunch, both company and candidate can make an informed decision and hopefully avoid any disappointment further down the line. 

Streamline and automate your screening process

According to our CodinGame annual tech recruiting survey, over 80% of HR professionals consider that “Finding qualified candidates” is the single most difficult thing about recruiting developers.

Yes, finding potential hires, filtering applications and figuring out if candidates are qualified for your job opening is difficult. Sifting through resumes is both inefficient and time-consuming.

The bottom line is this: can you rely on a resume to give you an accurate overview of a tech candidate’s skills? The answer is a resounding “No”!

On the one hand, some candidates have the right qualifications, experience and skills on paper, yet end up falling short of the expected technical expertise. On the other hand, some hiring managers miss out on talented developers with high potential – simply because of an unattractive resume or an untraditional career path.

Developer profiles are becoming increasingly diverse. 34.6% of developers are self-taught, for example, according to our recent international survey. This is why we, at CodinGame, are paving the way for skill-based hiring.

Hiring organizations turn to our online technical testing platform to streamline, automate and speed up their screening process. By sending hands-on, gamified coding tests to candidates, our clients level the playing field for all developers. They receive a detailed, reliable test report and can uncover hidden gems in a heartbeat. Our automated testing gives reliable data and insight into candidates’ true abilities – you don’t have to rely on what they say they can do on their resume. You can rely on what you have actually seen them do, and can evaluate and compare their performance against other candidates’ work on specific problems.

Evaluate your process now and quickly identify where to focus your efforts

Technical skills aren’t the only skills you need to assess. A Leadership IQ study revealed that new hires fail for various reasons. For example: 

  • 26% can’t accept feedback
  • 23% can’t manage their emotions well enough either to complete the job or successfully interact with team members
  • 17% lack the intrinsic motivation needed to excel

So how do you figure out any of this information before hiring? 

Evaluating technical skills can be made simple with online technical assessment tools, like CodinGame. However, uncovering soft skills can prove to be tricky.

Plan your interview questions carefully

A hiring manager’s preparation for an interview is just as important as the candidate’s. 

You can’t expect to ask leading questions that will reveal candidate behavioral attributes and idiosyncrasies by sheer luck. Have the most important traits you need in a candidate top of mind before beginning the interview process. It’s important to assess a candidate’s soft skills in the interview, whether virtually, in person, or through an online assessment tool. 

Emoji face
It’s not easy to see through candidates’ expressions to find out who they really are

What are you looking for – a team player with a positive attitude? Someone who is self-motivated and has a strong work ethic? Is it more important for them to be adaptable or detail oriented? Prepare a set of questions in advance, designed to obtain information from the job candidate pertaining to these characteristics. For example, you can ask them role-playing questions, such as:

  • What would you do if…? 
  • We had this situation arise once. How would you solve it? (Have them identify the soft skills they used for each step.)
  • What’s the most complex problem you’ve ever solved and how did you find the solution? 
  • Describe a real problem you worked on that required you to get help from another employee. How did you work together to find a solution?

In addition to the hiring manager’s personal interview questions, or possibly for pre-screening to reduce the number of candidates to be interviewed, online soft skill assessments can be useful. 

Online aptitude tests are available, designed specifically for determining an applicant’s perceptions towards work, job and personal ethics, teamwork, etc. Neuroscience assessments have leapt from fiction to practicality, using such technology as AI and chatbots to screen candidates through short 15-minute interviews by analyzing their speech and answers. 

In reference to some of these automated screening technologies, Precire Technologies co-founder Mario Reis says: 

“There is no person in the world who would be able to analyze so many aspects of personality, skills and speech in just 15 minutes.” 

An added advantage to using online personality/aptitude soft skill assessments is that it automatically removes any gender bias from one more step of the hiring process.

Another way to take your interview process to the next level, is to start using online, remote interview technologies. Virtual job interviews can prove exceedingly useful, whether it’s to involve tech team members in the process, assess technical skills with live coding, assess soft skills from a distance… or to avoid unnecessary physical interactions. 

Indeed, in the midst of the Covid-19 situation, an increasing number of companies are turning to remote interview solutions. LinkedIn, for example, went to all-virtual job interviews the second week of March 2020.

Let’s wrap up

The better your hiring process, the less risk of an expensive mis-hire. Taking the extra steps of having potential new hires spend time with your tech team, narrowing the field through automated screening for technical and soft skills, putting some extra thought into your interview – whether virtual, in person, or both – can greatly increase your chances of getting your new hire right the first time.


There’s a better way to test coding skills.

Picture of Nathalie Figuière

Nathalie Figuière

Nathalie is Content Manager at CodinGame. When she's not busy creating quality #techrecruitment content, chances are she’s watching Friends or snuggling her little grey cat, Moon.