How to find and hire developers from a different perspective

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In this digital age, when we talk about innovation, we talk about technology and therefore, inevitably, computing. Code is everywhere today. Growth in all business sectors, from telecommunication to banking and from industry to agriculture is based on computerization which is constantly increasing and becoming more complex. Developers are creating tomorrow’s world. The impact of their work is much more strategic than we would tend to think.

Recruiting a developer: an obstacle course?

Although computers are everywhere, we currently sorely lack in developers. There are several reasons for this shortage among which the fact that job offers largely outnumber candidates, the insufficient number of students trained or the image of the profession. Around the world, countries are sounding the alarm: governments are multiplying initiatives to democratize coding courses, starting at an early age (,…). Training developers – by millions – has become a critical global issue. Institutions are worried, yet the general public that is not really aware of this crisis, is far from suspecting that we risk seeing a general slowdown of the global economy if we don’t stop the shortage.

This is the context in which businesses are now seeking to recruit developers and companies who don’t have the reputation of majors such as Google and Facebook should prepare themselves for a long haul. Developers are in high demand and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to convince them to join a company. Finding a developer who meets expectations for a given position is a challenge for nearly 75% of tech companies (and for over 80% of startups). The traditional recruitment channels (ads on job boards, career fairs, etc.) are increasingly inefficient. Since developers are excessively in demand, they don’t post their profile on job sites and rarely reply to offers they receive. Most of them already have a job anyway. Lastly, developers are very sensitive to corporate culture and the work environment proposed to them: in a tight market, they will primarily choose companies that they want to work for (meaning, those that have the best employer brand and where there is a better working atmosphere).

The new recruitment vectors

In this context, “innovative” recruitment channels are flourishing. There are more and more applications and platforms which facilitate referral programs, professional recommendations on social networks, automated candidate-employer “matching”, or customized alerts. Do these new vectors really show results? Do they really put you into contact with the developers you’re looking for, i.e. those that are talented and who love their job?

In order to recruit developers, you first need to understand them. Most developers are passionate about programming. Why? Because programming is a kind of puzzle game: you need to put a lot into it and be able to imagine, design and develop the most efficient solution to a given problem. In other words, for coding aficionados, programming is an art which involves a great deal of creativity and imagination. Developers working on a technically motivating and challenging project don’t pay attention to the time they put in.

At CodinGame, we are programmers at heart. We know the little sparkle in a developer’s eyes when facing a technical problem very well. Therefore, we wanted to push the concept a little further. By creating the platform, we emphasize the fact that coding is also a game. To help developers meet companies that they are interested in and who are looking for talent, we have developed solo and multiplayer games. For the thrilling sense of live competition, we also regularly organize online coding challenges.

Our events may be referred to as online hackathons, except that the purpose is not to code an application from A to Z. It really is a game, like a video game, but where players have to program the characters’ actions from scratch. Our challenges have several advantages: in an entertaining way, they allow candidates to demonstrate their technical skills (range of algorithms they master, code optimization, time management, strategy…) whilst sparing them the tedious recruitment procedures (a lot of technical interviews are still done in the form of paper and a pencil). Another important point is the advantage of an online challenge which allows developers from around the world to participate. For recruiters who sponsor our events, recruiting through games shows they are open minded, that is, that they are more interested in seeing what the candidates can do, rather than which diplomas they have or what’s on their resume. This proves that they are open to work with candidates who are different, sometimes with atypical career paths.

Let’s not forget that although coding is a passion, not everybody choses to be developers for their career. This pool of hidden talent is just waiting to be discovered thanks to gaming. In the current conditions, and whilst waiting for the coding training programs to show results on a large scale, this approach seems to us to be the best alternative to find talent where you would not have thought of looking for it.

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