Fixing Broken Hiring Market, Agile Design LLC Launches to Automate Technical and Cultural Pre-screening for Medium to Large Line-of-Business Applications

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Few extremely experienced and technical resume readers can tell with certainty if a person ever worked in a great, mature team based on a resume alone without having through expensive interviews, which fail too often. scales out to the masses this resume-reading and pre-screening art. Screenshot

Numerous phone and face-to-face interviews are laborious and fail too often. Even when interviews did not fail, around 70% of software projects did. The screening process is over-complicated by common practice of inflating skills in resumes.

Few extremely experienced and technical resume readers can tell with certainty if a person ever worked in a great, mature team based on a resume alone without having through expensive interviews, which fail too often. scales out to the masses this resume-reading and pre-screening art. unique benefits:

  •     Automated technical pre-screening

o    See only technical people that have skills for large line-of-business applications and use technology components that comply with scalable architecture for large line-of-business applications
o    True skills from the best teams
o    See only developers who aim for quality code and automate quality control
o    See only experienced full stack developers and architects
o    See people with better or more modern skillsets first
o    Users do not need search and technical knowledge
o    Match developers to an application type, like Mobile native, Web-UI or Web service

  •     Automated cultural fit pre-screening for Agile, Waterfall and Cowboy/Mix cultures

Recruitifier covers application sizes from Medium (M; may take a couple of months) to Extra Large (XL; may take many years). Users can use the Agile or Waterfall culture for L-XL, and Cowboy/Mix culture for M. Only Microsoft stack is supported at the moment.

For most organizations, searching for and screening senior software developers and architects is an extremely long and unreliable process. Numerous phone and face-to-face interviews are laborious and fail too often. Even when interviews did not fail, around 70% of software projects did.

The screening process is over-complicated by a common practice of inflating skills and experience in resumes, and often leads to either project failures or overspending.

So far there was no automation around these problems, because they are hard. tackles all of these issues with a very high degree of certainty.

Common screening mistakes that helps to avoid:

  •     Not matching candidates by expected size and complexity of projects. Forgetting about complexity management skills, like basic architecture, refactoring, test automation, modeling theory and so on.
  •     Forgetting about cultural fit: values, management style and methodology preferences, or not understanding culture meaning and importance.
  •     Misapplying one application type required skills as required skills for another application type

o    E.g. requiring OS and Real Time application skills like multi-threading and sorting algorithms from line-of-business Web-application developer.

  •     Over-filtering and under-filtering at the same time

o    E.g. searching by a single JavaScript framework like AngularJS, searching by WPF but not by Silverlight, and at the same time not looking for testability and solid data access and data manipulation skills at all.

Where would one start, if one needed qualified people for a large application, but did not know how to screen them?

Hiring market agents, such as IT recruiters and software consulting companies, are not there to save their client’s big projects from hard time – it is not their main goal. For larger projects these agents often lack technical and hiring skills. The agents are usually motivated to source cheaper junior developers without design skills, as it gives more room for their margins, despite increasing clients’ project costs in the long run. Even successful, established IT recruiters and software consulting companies do that.

Real life examples: Although it does not occur very often, some recruiters may advise candidates on which specific skills to add for a specific position that they are trying to fill, regardless if the candidate has them. Software consulting companies often package one strong and two or more weak guys into a team and sell it like all of them were experts. The team will not fail long enough because of that one strong guy, but the project maintenance costs run up quickly. Agents succeed at over-selling because their clients often do not know better when it comes to complex projects. The lack of technical expertise is especially apparent if an employer is switching gears: e.g. a bank starting its first in-house software project, or a small software development company starting a larger project than usual.

On the positive side, recruiters and consulting companies are not directly motivated to run up their client projects’ costs either, provided they can keep their margins. Some recruiters even pay for technical phone interviews to avoid too many failed candidates. If agents had an inexpensive tool to automate the pre-screening effort, and their clients had the same tool to double-check their agents (or source directly), agents would have to source better qualified candidates.

As of now most employers try to mitigate the screening problem by conducting extremely expensive, 4-6 hour long face-to-face interview loops. Such interviews are often full of puzzles and interesting logical questions that are not directly related to real work problems, and do not allow the employer to conclude if a person is qualified. Logical reasoning is not a real problem for most professional software developers. But most of them struggle with abstract conceptual thinking. Abstractions are a hard problem, and it shows itself when it comes to theory, modeling, architecture, frameworks and best practices. Too few professional developers understand and can use the very basics of object-oriented programming like polymorphism.

Even established online screening and software consulting companies fall into a trap of thinking that writing complex algorithms is both a must and enough for all good developers. Likely, they think that a developer’s major activity is writing complex algorithms. But are there any complex algorithms in enterprise applications, or are they all just poorly structured big methods? Who is writing sorting algorithms in the line-of-business applications world? – No one! People simply love interesting problems, even if they are not practical in their current job. Many fresh computer science graduates would succeed Codify and similar tests, but what are their chances of succeeding a big enterprise project on their own? Are there any?

There is simply no substitute for the correct questions, skills and knowledge that are directly connected to real life problems. And if an employer's current team members did not gain those skills yet, the bigger projects had been almost destined for a painful run, because no one was there to help.

The problem boils down to the fact that too few people understand what skills are required to build large enterprise applications successfully, and what constitutes complex management skills. Such knowledge needs to be persisted and automated in order to scale to all consumers.

The evidence is disappointing so far:
Even though it is very common to have a very low interview success rates (like 15/1) for phone and even face-to-face interviews, too often project vacancies end up filled with either under-qualified software developers, or with great people who are a cultural misfit, as confirmed by such facts as:

  •     Around 70% of software projects fail each year.
  •     High turnover: software developers change companies or projects every 1-3 years on average (depending on country).

Major contributors to high turnover among high quality developers include a low-quality legacy code base and organizational reluctance to acknowledge and tackle it. This is a classic cultural misfit due to the absence of a culture screening process, or an unrealistic wishful estimation of the current organizational culture. Such an organization’s top management would benefit by either committing to real culture changes, or stopping their wishful thinking and hiring more “old-school” or cowboy developers who do not mind bad code. It is important to note that low-quality legacy code base is a problem for a vast majority of large applications and organizations.

Solution offers a simple and cost-effective solution by automating resume pre-screening based on cohesive clusters of decisions that candidates have already made in their practice. It automates a cultural match as well.

There is no need to grind through hundreds of possible matches and talk to each candidate before knowing if their skills are real and there is a match to a position. The screening process should be so much simpler – the bulk of resumes can and should be analyzed, pre-filtered and ranked by a search pre-screening bot, leaving out a vast majority of candidates that can actually do the job.

Recruitifier can make more correct conclusions about people simply by looking at their professional history: what specific professional choices candidates have made to date, how much they have learned, what they have chosen to learn, and how well all those things are directly connected to our specific problems and culture. Then hire those who made good and bold choices and did not give up learning.

Recruitifier searches only for developers that use modern, architecturally sound, scalable and testable technology options for all stack components. Many required technologies are hard to master, sometimes taking more than 5-8 years to know them all well. Most developers simply give up learning, and get filtered out from the results of the Recruitifier search engine.

The most efficient software developers are full stack developers. Recruitifier searches only among full stack developers who are able to implement any new feature or use case end-to-end on their own.

There is an abundance of fake and exaggerated skills in resumes. But solves that problem searching by multiple keywords related to the same skill and looking for all components of a cohesive stack simultaneously. This trick will work for a while, till we add more features when people start to catch up. Also full stack developers are quire experienced and do not need to inflate their skills as often. And as for most novice developers, adding very many hard to learn technologies is too intimidating to attempt. Stack components tend to differ between Agile, Waterfall and cowboy/mix teams, and uses that fact for its cultural match.

As of now, will not determine the level of each skill exactly. Employers would still benefit from a short practical coding / refactoring / architecture task and interview to make sure that the candidate did not simply copy his/her resume from someone else’s. But now such interviews can be short and basic, and employers would need only a few of them, because Recruitifier pre-filtered resumes based on technological patterns from the best teams, so most of the candidates likely have already been screened successfully by those teams before. The employer needs to check only some of the facts and skills randomly.

All of these factors reinforce each other and Recruitifier finds the best talent by looking for all of them at once, but not forgetting about a lot of healthy variation. There are usually multiple good solutions.

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Sergey Getman
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