New research has shown that over 75% of hiring managers have selected candidates who didn’t look good on paper. This begs the question, are CVs still relevant in tech recruitment and should tech job-seekers be focusing their efforts elsewhere?
Despite not having a convincing CV, these same recruiters report back that this was the right decision and the candidate was the ideal choice for the business. The study by HackerRank, its 2018 Tech Recruiting Report, involved questioning nearly 1,000 hiring managers and recruiters within the tech industry.
Hiring Managers Prize Experience and Demonstrable Skill
The research showed that recruiters for digital and tech roles are increasingly focusing on previous experience and skills demonstrated during the recruitment process, instead of qualifications on paper. Organisations need to know that the candidate can actually perform the required roles to a certain standard, which is why the traditional interview format is changing.
When asked about the most important qualifications they look for when recruiting for a role:
- 77% of respondents said previous work experience
- 45.8% said years of experience
- 37.3% said personal projects.
At the bottom of the list were more traditional qualifications such as a computer science or related degree (35%), skill certifications (15.8%) and the prestige of the school the candidate attended (10.6%). Interestingly, 6.3% of respondents said that Hackathon participation also caught their eye when recruiting.
70% of Developers are Self-Taught
Not all talented digital and tech professionals have qualifications from top-level institutions. In fact, many teach themselves and draw on this enthusiasm to drive forward their own personal projects – and these are the people that are worth having.
In one piece of anecdotal evidence in the report, a hiring manager from a company of less than 100 employees spoke of a recent experience of finding a ‘hidden gem’. Describing the candidate, this manager said that he was:
“Self-taught, started freelance work in high school. Really knowledgeable and never saw the need for a degree in order to earn his living. He just let his raw skill speak for itself. He’s one of our stallions. Although it’s obvious he’s a rare case, he’s the reason why we started looking at self-taught candidates more closely, and it’s worked great for us.”
This kind of experience is quite common, especially as another report – the 2018 Developer Skills Report – found that 70% of developers are at least partially self-taught.
Overlook Less-Qualified Candidates at your Peril
The lesson for digital, tech and IT recruiters is clear. While qualifications and other impressive items on a candidate’s CV are important, what really matters is how well they can do the job. Real skill, talent and the value a candidate can add to the business are not always obvious from the person’s CV, so it could always be worth giving those weaker CVs a second look.
We hope you found this information useful. If you did, please feel free to share it on social media where others can benefit from it too.