hackerrank-ufl-130216123915-phpapp02-thumbnail-4While a veritable cottage industry has sprung up around sourcing for tech talent, particularly in the profile aggregation space (think: Entelo, Dice Open Web, Gild), comparatively few options exist for actually screening tech skills, especially developers.

Most of these dedicated tech recruiting tools offer integrations with public code repositories like GitHub or StackOverflow. None of these emerging solutions, however, offer employers the kind of comprehensive skills assessment capabilities that have become ubiquitous in the recruiting process for almost every other functional area.

This means that employers must rely on previous projects or existing code for screening hard skills; but as any technical recruiter can tell you, even complete proficiency in a particular programming language doesn’t guarantee universal translation across projects and employers.

So how to make sure the developers you hire really get with the program?

Meet HackerRank, a Palo Alto based “social platform” for programmers which has already raised $12.4 million in funding in its less than two years in existence.  HackerRank is a new tool designed to help hire developers; while it has a fairly broad range of features and functions, the thing it really does best is giving recruiters the capability to deliver fully customized, completely configured coding challenges directly to candidates.

Administering a standard, on-demand or in-person test is pretty simple; you can simply upload it directly to HackerRank and invite one or more candidates to take the test.  Once completed, HackerRank generates robust reporting results to show which coders make the cut – and how their skills compare to other candidates under consideration.

template3This, of course, is fairly standard; what’s really cool, though, is that HackerRank lets employers go beyond templatized, standardized assessments to let employers see not only developers’ skills, but also their style.

Their proprietary CodePair Live tool (screenshot above) creates a secure environment for administering coding challenges from questions created by you and your developers – and have them solve a real challenge in real time.

This live environment not only helps better adjudicate proficiency for a specific development or programming skill, but also offers employers insight into how candidates approach coding, respond to changes and work collaboratively on code – just like they’ll need to be able to do on the job.

It also integrates these live assessments seamlessly into the recruiting process, with scheduling and calendar capabilities built in, along with audio and video controls that function similarly to a sophisticated digital interviewing point solution – with the added bonus of in-line editing and annotation for group or collaborative screening.

After completion of any test administered by HackerRank, a report is generated within 5 minutes showing not only the final code and test case results, but also feeds that data directly into your ATS through an API, with this information integrating directly into a candidate’s profile so that HackerRank results can be accessed from a single sign on from your system of record.

Now, if you’ve ever done tech screening, I’m sure you can imagine how much time this saves in the average hiring cycle, since most of these skills assessments are normally done by developers, not recruiters, and generally without any process or insight into the candidate’s viability other than coming back with either red flags or a green light. Even that normally tacks on days or weeks worth of waiting time to the tech recruiting process.  With HackerRank, you’ll never have to worry about tech screens again.

If a candidate seems like a good fit, all a recruiter has to do is invite them immediately to the programming questions and test cases your dev team’s already uploaded, and will know within a matter of minutes whether or not they passed. Think about the ROI this creates.

HackerRank a potential game changing technology for tech companies, considering that since the tech teams themselves create the challenges, it’s highly targeted and ensures that busy development teams will only see the candidates who meet their existing baseline.  Effectively, this software bridges the knowledge gap between recruiting and technology – no easy feat, but a real tech recruiting challenge that now has a really effective tech solution.

While I’m really impressed with the Codepair feature, which allows developers to have several people attend live screens collectively while being able to collaborate in a real time environment, I don’t actually think it’s necessary. Seriously, with HackerRank’s ability to have challenges uploaded and automatically e-mailed to candidates, you’ll have all the information you need to make a much more informed decision than is possible with most skills assessment or screening solutions.

You can also administer tests for multiple languages through an existing library including, but not limited to, C++, Java, PHP, C#, Ruby on Rails and many of the other most common languages used in development today – and the most competitive for recruiting developers.

While HackerRank is obviously pretty awesome for recruiting and hiring, it’s also able to add value to the candidate (and potentially, your existing tech talent) by offering a multitude of developer challenges which allow programmers to hone their skills while learning new programming skills or expanding their proficiency with different coding languages or challenges.

These hosted events are obviously a pretty great place to find programmers for tech recruiters, and that value add should only expand as HackerRank rolls out this feature to colleges so that computer and technology students can show their stuff to prospective employers and hone their skills solving real world coding challenges. Talk about a win-win.

A lot of recruiting and staffing tools claim they have the potential to be huge game changers; with its ability to streamline tech screening and improve the efficiency and efficacy (not to mention quality) of the tech recruiting process, HackerRank actually delivers as promised.  And it not only changes the game, it also steps it up when it comes to the science of tech recruiting and staffing.

About the Author: Dean Da Costa 
is a highly experienced and decorated recruiter, sourcer and manager with deep skills and experience in HR, project management, training & process improvement.

Dean is best known for his work in the highly specialized secured clearance and mobile arenas, where he has been a top performing recruiter and sourcer.  Dean’s keen insight and creation of innovative tools and processes for enhancing and changing staffing has established Dean as one of the top authorities in sourcing and recruiting.

Connect with Dean at LinkedIn or follow @DeanDaCosta on Twitter.


By Dean Da Costa

Dean Da Costa is a highly experienced and decorated staffing professional, recruiter, sourcer and manager, who also boasts outstanding experience and skills in Human Resources, Project Management, Training, and Process Improvement. He is best known for his work in the highly difficult security and mobile arena's, and the gold star winning numbers he produced. His keen insight and creation of ground breaking tools and processes, to enhance and change staffing as we know it, have proven he is a true "Staffing Thought Leader". Despite all this he remains first and foremost one of the top sourcers, staffing managers and full cycle recruiters in the industry and a true "Search Authority"