How Entrepreneurs can Improve Their Hiring Process – Even Without CVs

By Gurvinder Singh, TechRank.


With 250 applicants for a job but only 5 being asked for to attend an interview something isn’t right. It is unfortunately the case that 72% of businesses say they struggle to find skilled candidates for their open positions.  This is an issue that entrepreneurs need to address.


It is a good idea to set up the best recruitment process you can for your business. If you get the wrong person in a key tech role in a startup, for example, it can cause significant problems.


There are clearly issues with the recruitment process so you need to work closely with recruitment agencies.  Many job boards and recruitment agencies use automated keyword filtering to quickly narrow down relevant CVs. Those using a lot of industry keywords have around a 30% better chance of being hired. Be very clear what you startup needs to increase your percentage chance of seeing the CVs of the people who most closely meet your needs.


Even doing this the process is almost definitely going to filter out some highly-suitable, yet keyword sparse, CVs.  This is particularly problematic for entrepreneurs who need to get a well-qualified tech candidate onboard as quickly as possible.


The Challenges

Are CVs really a good measure of technical skills? In my experience…no.


Even when the CV is written well and lists suitable skills and experience, it’s still hard to for entrepreneurs to assess actual skill levels. CVs don’t show, for example, if an applicant had a lot of support in their previous role or whether they’ve allowed their technical skills to go rusty. It’s all drawn out by inference rather than verifiable data.


Current solutions to tech recruitment challenges


Aware of some of these issues, you may find tech recruiters adding technical interviews or even technical challenges for applicants to complete. These help to pin down applicants’ actual skill levels in the specific tech stack they will be working with.


Technical interviews are relatively resource-light to conduct, yet they still require a technologist (which as startup may not have) to design and deliver the interview, taking time away from the project delivery.


Technical challenges are a more accurate test of skills but are also more expensive and time-consuming to design and run.


And while these technical additions to the recruitment process help accurately assess applicants’ skills, they still rely on the CVs sent on by recruitment agencies and therefore still suffer from automated filtering and agency bias.


Improving tech recruitment by ditching CVs


The tech recruitment process would be greatly improved if we could ditch the CV altogether and focused on accurately assessing the crucial technical skills.


The ideal skills test would be conducted by a third-party, reducing the expense and in-house resource drain, and be customised to the employer’s tech stack and project requirements.


If your startup or growth business needs someone well-versed in the MEAN stack, you should test them on a combination of MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js challenges. Yet, another web application may require someone experienced using the LAMP stack. Simply inviting someone for interview based on their “web application development experience” won’t distinguish between these very different skill sets and may lead to hiring the wrong person.  This can have a major negative impact in a small startup team.


Besides assessing based on skills rather than CVs, these tech challenges can also be run at the very top of the recruitment funnel, quickly and accurately filtering applicants down based on their skills. If your startup allows remote working, this can also help attract top talent from around the world.


Improving the process for applicants


Having a clear expectation of the requirements your startup has is also useful for candidates. No one wants to spend time going for an interview, particularly for a new company, only to find out that the job didn’t match their expectations. And no one wants to feel out of their depth in a technical role.


Including technical challenges right at the start of the application process make obvious what the job will entail and what skills are required, leading applicants to self-filter based on their skills. This will avoid entrepreneurs wasting precious time on interviews that won’t deliver the right candidate.


The interview itself will be more useful if both entrepreneurs and candidates know what technologies projects will involve. Rather than questions to assess skills, interviews can focus on assessing the candidate’s ‘fit’ into the company culture and their ‘soft skills’, already knowing that interviewees have the required blend of skills.


Despite the difficulty of hiring staff, I’m fully convince that technology bring us a brighter future. I hope that entrepreneurs with startups will set up their job application processes up to use the new technical assessments. That way they will give all candidates the best chance and hire well-qualified people who’ll contribute to taking the business forward.




Gurvinder Singh is the co-founder of TechRank. TechRank sources, expertly tests and objectively ranks tech talent helping companies hire the best, and most capable person for the job. By testing candidates for the level of skill the position requires, businesses can make an objective decision about the person they hire to fill a vacant tech role.


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