GlobalLogic provides experience design, digital product engineering services and Agile software development to global brands in all vertical industries.

Predictive Hiring (Or How to Make an Offer Twice as Fast)

August 10, 2018

In this article, I would like to describe how GlobalLogic is changing the approach to contracting with new technical specialists. We want this process to be effective – not only for our customers, but also for engineers.

Before explaining the changes, I am going to outline the most common way of involving new technical specialists in IT service companies. I will also explain the downsides of the usual approach for both companies and engineers.

Traditional Approach

Recruiters look for specialists within the company or on the market. Matching candidates are invited to HR interviews and then to a technical interview. If these go well, the candidate is usually interviewed by a project manager and then must pass one or more interviews with a potential client (depending on the specific project and agreements with the client). If the candidate is rejected at any stage and is then offered an opportunity to pursue another position, the entire process, except HR interviews, has to be held anew. Meanwhile, the candidate has no guarantee that he/she will be hired to a project.

Disadvantages for Engineers

Firstly, they need to pass many interviews. Although companies are trying to reduce the number of interviews for alternative projects (if the candidate was not qualified for the initial project), it is not always possible.

Secondly, apart from passing interviews, a candidate has to perform tasks on his/her current project. This is often inconvenient and drains energy and strength from candidates while also impeding preparation for the interview.

Additionally, feedback after each stage of the interview is often not given at once. The candidate has to wait days or even weeks without any guaranteet he/she will be picked for a project.

Due to the this, candidates often go to multiple interviews in order to increase their chances to quickly change a company or a project. Consequently, they accept the offer that comes fastest, even if the project is less interesting or promising. On the other hand, interesting projects usually have many stages of interviews.

Of course, the tendencies mentioned above do not necessarily take place. There are many cases in which candidates find interesting projects without facing many difficulties, but this often depends on luck.

Disadvantages for a Company

The first disadvantage for companies is, in fact, the same as for candidates — a large number of interviews that take a long time. A company not only organizes many meetings with the candidate, including communication with the customer, but also waits 2-4 weeks after a successful interview for the candidate to start working.

The second disadvantage the risk of losing a candidate because an offer from another company comes faster. This often happens when the customer takes a long time to choose an engineer for a project, even if the client loses several good candidates in the process.

The third disadvantage is that, even after several interviews, it is difficult to choose the best candidate. That’s why project managers and customer representatives tend to take time and try alternative candidates. A perfect candidate that complies with all the requirements is rarely met;however, if a specialist is already working in the company and feedback is available, the decision about him/her is much easier to make.

Predictive Approach

As a company, we decided to change the approach when searching for candidates. Instead of using a principle “The project is primary, the company is secondary”, we decided to go with the opposite approach: “Join the company, then join the project.” If, based on the results of the first technical interview, we believe that a candidate is suitable for one or several of our projects, we immediately offer cooperation and sign a contract. That is, we are ready to pay him/her and take all the risks before a project manager and a specific customer interview the candidate.

There is no trick. It is the same contract he we provide to specialists whom we take directly to the project. We bear the same mutual obligations, and we continue to apply the traditional approach when needed. It is more important for useto secure a good specialist, even if we will subsequently need to spend time finding a suitable project. . There is no difference in the compensation package. The probationary period begins when the new expert joins the company and does not depend on the time when engagement in a project starts.

Over the years in business, we have developed a number of expertise areas, including Java, .NET, C/C++, Embedded, DevOps, Mobile, UX/UI design, QA, and JS. We choose specialists both in terms of 100% compliance with a certain project and in terms of compliance with the technological areas we develop.

If we like a candidate as a technical specialist, we will always be able to find and offer him/her a suitable project and a good customer. We have the opportunity and resources to sign a contract with the candidate and fulfill our financial obligations before going through all interviews. At the same time, we continue looking for a project while the candidate is in the interview process.

Experience shows that, on average, it takes 26 days from the date of a company signing a customer contract to match a candidate to that project. Although this is faster than waiting for a specialist to exit the market, we often find a suitable project within about a week. Using the predictive approach, we have attracted around 200 engineers to the company since last April. More than 100 of them are in Kyiv, and 70% have already chosen projects they want to join.

Many candidates ask, “Is there a maximum period of staying in the company without an allocation to a project?” I want to emphasize once again that we treat engineers found predictively in the same way as other engineers. In each case, the decision is made individually. However, since changing companies can be stressful and candidates expect stability in a new position, we guarantee that a specialist may stay in the company for a minimum of 6 months. This is not the maximum period and, as I said before, the decision in each case is taken individually.

Advantages for a Candidate

Advantages in the proactive approach are opposite to the previously discussed disadvantages of the classical approach:

  • A candidate receives an offer immediately after a successful technical interview. On average, this takes no more than 3-4 days.
  • When a specialist joins the company, he/she can choose a project and prepare for the next interviews in a calm atmosphere, when there are no tasks within a current project and no pressure from the fact that he/she needs to change companies urgently.
  • During the adaptation period, a specialist can learn more about the company and learn internal processes before he/she is assigned project tasks.
  • While the project is under consideration, there are opportunities to focus on self-development, improve knowledge and participate in the company’s internal research projects (so-called Proofs-of-Concept [PoC]). We do not want our newcomers to sit around; on the contrary, we always welcome knowledge development and participation in activities that are beneficial to the company and the engineers themselves. Moreover, we have a very strong training base available to all specialists.
  • Finally, engineers have an opportunity to choose a project from the proposed options and refuse uninteresting ones. While we expect that the specialists we take predictably will not look for a unicorn project (the ideal and mythical one where everything is always is good and never bad), we also understand an opportunity to refuse unsuitable offers should exist. Both HR and management would perceive it normally.
Advantages for a Company
  • We find the right specialists faster. If we are sure that the candidate is suitable for us, we do not need to wait for the customer’s confirmation.
  • This situation is beneficial for projects. Project managers and clients are often more willing to take candidates who have already spent at least a few weeks in the company, as a manager can better see if an engineer fits a project than if they’d only interviewed.
  • After a successful interview with a client, a specialist almost immediately starts working on the project. There is no need to wait for 2-4 weeks for a candidate tobe transferred from another company.
  • In addition to solving tactical staffing tasks for specific projects, we also solve a systemic strategic task. Due to this approach, searching for and attraction of specialists becomes more effective, because we avoid pressing deadlines and reduce concern from customers.

Usually, we quickly find a project for a specialist. Candidates are satisfied, which means they are loyal to the company and tend to cooperate with us longer.Even if the candidate was not picked for one, two or even more projects (in very rare cases), we keep him/her in the company, and more importantly, help him/her to gain new experience and skills.

Business Benefits

There is an increasing trust in us from clients who receive a specialist for the project immediately after the interview. This allows us to fulfill our obligations on time, even if the client needs a lot of specialists as soon as possible.

Ultimately, this allows us to grow our business faster. If customers are able to get more people to join the project quickly, they begin to consider the company in particular and Ukraine in general as a more attractive place for development of their products. I am certain an increasing number of service companies will use this approach to attract engineers. This is also good for engineers, because the more businesses come to the market, the more choices and offers they will get.

Possible Disadvantages

In this article, I have emphasized the advantages of the new approach,but I would like to add that – depending on the situation or wishes of a specialist – this approach may be less suitable than other methods. This can take place in the following cases:

  • The specialist wants to start a new project immediately after joining a new company without a single downtime day. Even with the traditional approach, this does not always happen, but the chances are higher than with the predictive one.
  • Only the project is important to a specialist and not the company (outstaffing approach when choosing a company for work). In this case, the candidate needs to understand what project he/she wants to work on and search until this project is found.

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