This Month Only! >> $20 off and a FREE SHRM tote with your membership and code TOTE2018!
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
SEATTLE—Tech companies are using unconventional interviewing methods to find the strongest candidates, said Gayle Laakmann McDowell, founder and CEO of Palo Alto, California-based CareerCup.com, a company that prepares candidates for technical interviews, at the 2016 Talent42 Tech Recruiting Conference.
For example, at Amazon, “bar raisers” play a crucial role in the e-commerce company’s hiring process. Bar raisers are full-time Amazon employees assigned to interview applicants for openings in other departments. While separate from the hiring team, bar raisers wield veto power over job candidates and can block a new hire. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has said bar raisers help ensure the company makes good hiring choices by forcing several diverse employees to sign off on one candidate.
McDowell pointed out that companies should appoint bar raisers who are experienced at interviewing, and display characteristics like kindness and empathy. “Bar raisers should be smart and [be able to] challenge the candidate,” she said.
Both Google and Yahoo make use of hiring committees. Modeled after faculty hiring at prestigious universities, both companies have candidates interview with a panel of engineers. Then another panel of engineers, made of up individuals who have never met the candidate, evaluates and gives feedback based on the written report of each interviewer. This model is good for companies that receive large volumes of candidates and meet with at least five per week.
McDowell advised companies that use hiring committees to have them meet at least twice a week—rather than once—to discuss candidates in the recruitment pipeline and to vote on whether to move them through the process or reject them. “A week is a long time for a candidate to wait,” she added.
During a technical interview, recruiters ask potential employees to write code so they can demonstrate how they put their thoughts into action and show if they have good structure and style, McDowell said.
Experts debate the best way to conduct knowledge testing in technical interviews. Applicants for technical roles typically are tested by writing down code on a whiteboard or by keying in code on a computer. A whiteboard is a more-traditional approach to the coding interview and it shows the thought process of a candidate, McDowell added. The downside is that writing on a board may slow the candidate down, and it could be intimidating for those communicating in their second language. McDowell said a company should give candidates the choice between coding on a whiteboard or a computer.
Many hiring managers are also using pair programming tests, a software development technique where two programmers—the candidate and a senior employee—work together on one computer. One programmer writes code, while the other reviews each line of code after it is typed in. The two switch roles throughout the exercise.
According to McDowell, many candidates enjoy the pair programming process, as it feels fair and similar to a real-world work experience. It also encourages interpersonal interaction.
Catherine Skrzypinski is a freelance writer in Vancouver.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Guide to Screening Candidates
SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies