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  • Expert Interview Series: Bala Nemani of eTeki on the Challenges of IT Recruiting

Expert Interview Series: Bala Nemani of eTeki on the Challenges of IT Recruiting

Dec 12 , 2016
IT recruiting

Bala Nemani, Founder and CEO of eTeki, has a passion for candidate fit, which comes from decades of experience as an IT solutions and staffing executive.

Here he discusses the challenges of IT recruiting and how to overcome them. Read on:

How has the world of IT recruiting evolved since you launched your career?

IT recruiting is getting more challenging day by day. I have seen the days of the IT boom where someone can spell just ONE language or technology and could get hired for a job. Now, hiring managers are seeking their hires to be an expert in multiple technologies/languages. The volume and combination of skills necessary for success as an IT professional today makes screening of candidates by technical recruiters challenging. It is especially difficult for technical recruiters without a hands-on IT background to accurately screen for job requirements and predict candidate fit without a technical interview.

What's the mission and philosophy between eTeki?

eTeki helps recruiters and hiring managers to identify the right candidate for the job through rapid, expert technical interviews. eTeki's core philosophy is to increase the hiring company's return on interview (ROI) by assessing candidates with a structured, behavioral-based conversation focused on practical and hands-on experience in the required skills. By understanding the job requirement and making sure the candidate has required hands-on experience, eTeki interviewers provide keen insight into candidate fit. Executives, hiring managers and IT teams only speak with qualified candidates during the final step of the hiring process when they entrust eTeki with their technical interviews.

What are the challenges facing companies today in recruiting and interviewing IT candidates?

The idea came from a real-world problem in my experience as a hiring manager building tech teams and as a staffing partner in providing tech talent to hiring managers. The most widely adopted IT screening methods I found available sacrificed quality of the assessment for a quick turnaround and were limited to gauging technical competency rather than experience.

Attempts by our IT recruiters to have technical conversations with candidates were largely unsuccessful because they did not have the background necessary to ask questions that revealed actual project experience. Hiring managers expect the best candidates and the best way I could fulfill those expectations was to require a technical interview performed by a practicing technologist before presenting the shortlist to the hiring manager.

Technical interviews are a tried and true method of screening IT pros - when a techie is being considered for hiring, you bring in another techie to ask the tough questions. However, the volume of interviews needed to keep pace with hiring demands using just internal consultants, team members and prior placements became unmanageable.

What are the common mistakes you see companies making during their recruitment process for IT jobs?

Some employers ask questions that are worthless in determining if candidates are the right fit. Others make more of an effort to learn about candidates' skills, but commit the error of focusing on only theoretical questions. Answers to such questions only show that candidates understand theory, and have limited value in helping determine if candidates can successfully perform the job.

The average job interview process in the United States takes 22.9 days. Longer processes can lower quality hires, worsen candidate experience, decrease acceptance rates and reduce productivity. Companies use shortcuts that spoil the results of the process. Shortcuts include not having standards for the technical interviews (e.g., not having common questions, not having common rating scale) or even not having technical interviews at all.

What are the benefits of using freelance interviewers for this process? Drawbacks?

A key reason for leveraging freelancer IT professionals is on-demand availability. Technical experts across the globe are available 24 hours a day for clients who seek objective evaluation of candidates from an independent party.

Freelancers have no vested interest in the type of person they wish to work with, decreasing inherent bias in the technical interview step of the IT hiring process. The network of freelance interviewers joining eTeki grows daily. This means recruiters and hiring managers tap directly into an expansive knowledge base for screening candidates for complex IT roles. eTeki's interviewer certification program ensures freelancers are well-versed in predictive interviewing techniques, legal compliance and strategies for boosting candidate experience.

The only drawback for relying on a freelance technical interviewer versus an internal technical interviewer is an inability to assess the candidate's fit with employer culture, however, the recruiter and hiring manager should be able to assess during their discussions with the candidate.

What types of questions should interviewers ask their IT candidates?

The interviewer should plan the topics to cover with the candidate in advance and phrase the questions using the behavioral-based interview framework. This methodology has decades of practice, solid research behind it and is used by companies across the globe to get an accurate match between the job requirements and the candidate. The content of the questions should be based upon core technical concepts of the position, requirements and preferences outlined in the job description, and an analysis of the candidates resumes.

How do you think recruiters could do their jobs better? What would you love to see more recruiters doing when it comes to screening tech talent?

Recruiters should improve their understanding of the job requirements, as well as the broader technology landscape. With the right technical interviewing partner working alongside of them, recruiters can rapidly pre-qualifying the technical experience of candidates before wasting the valuable time of the hiring manager and potential IT teams.

What do you see as the future for how job candidates and recruiters connect?

I think that AI will play a big part in connecting the candidates and recruiters. Recruiters will rely on it to better understand factors concerning how likely a professional would be to change employers and the best timing to reach the candidate. Mobile/social recruiting and video will play a big part in employer brands who want to tell stories of culture and introduce prospective candidates to hiring managers, peers, etc.

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