It’s nearly impossible to find the number of quality engineering candidates that you need by relying on old-fashioned recruiting tactics.

Hopefully we all realize that by now.

The next wave should be skills-based recruiting, as opposed to traditional resume-based recruiting. There are dozens of reasons why skills-based recruiting makes sense. A few to begin:

  • Saves time: You get rid of the unqualified candidates immediately.
  • Verifiable: Skills are assessed throughout the hiring funnel.
  • Supports diversity: Doesn’t rely on the usual educational or experience credential markers.
  • Data-driven: This isn’t “gut feelings” or “I like the cut of his jib!” It’s “OK, this person has the skills. He/she can code in this language.”

Simple fact is: resume-driven recruiting should have died years ago. The main reason it still exists is probably “We’ve always done it that way!” and change being hard for people, especially in technical recruiting — where a million different things can fly at you every day.

We get it.

We work with people on this every day.

But ask yourself this “would you rather?” question.

Would you rather have someone with an Ivy League degree who’s average or below average as a developer, or someone without pedigree who can code like a boss?

Almost everyone we’ve ever worked with would want the latter.

That’s why you need skills-based recruiting.

We need to kill the resume

We tend to overrate perceived competence in the hiring process, and resumes are a big problem therein.

Resumes also rely on self-reported data, meaning you’re trusting the applicant to tell you the entire, accurate truth about the skills and experiences they have. There is a lot of exaggeration — and people aren’t good judges of their own skill level in all honesty, so you’re not gaining a ton of valuable intel.

The bigger issue with the resume is that, because reviewing them is ultimately time-consuming, they actually make you miss the best prospects. You prioritize certain things that can indicate a quality lead. Which school they went to and where they’ve worked might be a good indicator of whether they’d be a good fit for the role. But if you’re only looking for these, you might automatically dismiss someone who doesn’t have these credentials. You miss the “hidden gem” candidates.  Resumes promote unconscious bias – you only look at ‘pedigree’ instead of considering skill set.

Resume 2.0 is about skills

Many hiring managers just want a person who can hit the ground running. They have targets and deadlines and KPIs and, while training should admittedly be more of a focus, time is of the essence — they don’t want to train, they want someone who’s going to knock down the goal they’re supposed to knock down.

So, it’s essential to make sure a person has the actual skills of the role. It’s much less about the school, or that he/she worked for Cisco, or even the number of years of experience. It’s about “Can this person contribute to this project in a successful way? Do they have the chops?”

So how do you find those with the right skills?

The best way to never even see unqualified candidates is to use a developer-specific sourcing service. But, here’s the problem: many sourcing services and recruiting firms also rely solely on self-reported skill data (i.e. resumes), which leaves you at square one.

What we do: A service like CodeFights Recruiter, which objectively assesses every candidate based on their code-writing skills and knowledge of programming topics, ensures that you only see candidates who definitely have the skills you need.

And now, of course you’ll still use LinkedIn. Many recruiters rely on it. But LinkedIn isn’t perfect by any means. You kind of need to “power it up.”

What we do: CodeFights Recruiter Sourcing Assistant is a Chrome extension, available only to CodeFights Recruiter customers, that analyzes the skills necessary for your open roles — as well as the data that’s already being collected on CodeFights Recruiter. The assistant then uses your data to identify high-potential prospects on LinkedIn and assign them a matching score. If they seem like a good match, you can immediately send them a testing assessment.

CodeFights Recruiter is a skills-based recruiting tool for modern hiring teams that helps companies source, test, and measure technical talent. CodeFights Recruiter gives you the tools you need to stop relying on self-reported skills. Learn more about how CodeFights Recruiter helps you use objective data to make hiring decisions.


Tigran Sloyan is the founder and CEO of CodeSignal, formerly CodeFights Recruiter, a platform that uses machine learning to help companies source, assess, and interview the best technical talent for their open engineering roles. You can follow Tigran on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.