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Standardizing Technical Hiring with HackerRank’s New Skills-Based Experience

Written By Ashish Garg | May 6, 2020

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At HackerRank, our goal is to help teams hire based on proven skills, not resumes. In that, our goal is to help customers create a standardized, objective technical hiring process that surfaces the best fit candidate for the job—no matter their background.

Using that methodology, we’ve been able to help over 2,000 customers across industries hire developers based on skills. And it’s led to some incredible triumphs. Take, for example, Adriana Rivera, a software developer who’d taken a 14 year break to be a stay-at-home mom. But when she was ready to go back to work, she struggled to find companies that would interview her, despite her technical skills. She later took a skills-based HackerRank assessment to land an interview at Randstad Sourceright (and got the job). But without Randstad’s focus on skills-based hiring, she may have been overlooked—even though her skills were a match for the role.

To help more of our customers create a skill-centric hiring process, we’re introducing skills-based evaluations within HackerRank. With skills, customers can now standardize their hiring process for each role based on the skills and competencies that drive success in each respective role. It makes it even easier for customers to craft objective evaluations guided by proven skill.

Introducing skills-based evaluations

Creating a skills-based hiring process is a challenge. It requires a deep understanding of the role you’re hiring for—and subsequently, a nuanced understanding of the skills required by that role. It digs beyond basic qualifications, breaking down the constituent skills that define success in each respective role.

Identifying the skills that define success is one challenge. But effectively evaluating those skills throughout the hiring process is another challenge altogether. To empower our customers to create effective skills-driven evaluations with less effort, we’re introducing skills to the HackerRank platform.

What are Skills in HackerRank?

Skills in HackerRank are a directory of competencies commonly required for success in a technical role. They range from universal skills like problem-solving and code quality to more specialized skills like React and CSS.

Questions and Skills for JavaScript Developer (React) role

Example: A skills-based approach to testing React and Problem Solving skills for a JavaScript Developer (React) role

The skills directory consists of 55+ individual skills (and counting), covering basic to advanced difficulty levels. Each respective skill comes with questions that test the candidate’s abilities in the corresponding skill. The result is a library of HackerRank questions sorted by the skills they assess, making it easier for interviewers to quickly identify the questions they need to assess the skills they care about—and in turn, create candidate tests faster.

To make it even easier for interviewers to create insightful candidate tests quickly, we’ve also linked each of the 55+ skills on our platform to the technical roles they correspond with. In doing this, we’ve created a library of more than 15 predefined roles, each with its own unique mix of associated skills, and subsequently, associated questions to include in candidate tests. Each skill—and each role—has been validated by a panel of technical hiring experts.

How skill-based evaluations work within HackerRank

Using skills as a basis of candidate evaluation, we’ve reengineered the HackerRank hiring process to make it even more standardized. Each step of the process—from screening, to interviewing, to review—can now be centered around a central set of key skills for the role at hand. It means that the candidate is evaluated against the same skills rubric at every stage of evaluation, making for fairer, more objective decision-making.

Skills rubric for a Java Developer (Spring Boot)

Here’s how you can use skills in each constituent stage to ensure candidates are held to a consistent, standardized evaluation rubric throughout the hiring process:

Utilizing skills in the screening process

First, we’ve incorporated skills into screening. When creating a new test, you’ll be able to select one of 15+ roles to generate a new test designed to assess the skills necessary to succeed in that role.

Each test comes with an auto-generated list of questions designed to assess for relevant skills. Using this capability, interviewers can create more insightful, role-specific assessments with less time investment.

Screenshot of the HackerRank platform showing the new skills-based test creation capabilities

To customize the assessment, interviewers can also handpick questions for each constituent skill. When accessing the question library, interviewers can see the skills associated with each available question, making it easier to identify relevant questions at a glance.

Evaluating skills via CodePair* interviews

Those same skills from the candidate test can now be carried into CodePair* to maintain consistent evaluation criteria across screening and interview stages. By choosing the corresponding role when creating a CodePair* interview, the interview scorecard will prompt interviewers to review the candidate against the same set of skills as the screening test.

Screencapture of HackerRank CodePair interview creation screen, complete with new role selection options

By evaluating against the same skill rubric in both screening and interviewing processes, panels can more easily spot patterns in strengths—and weak spots—in the candidate’s skill set.

Screenshot of HackerRank CodePair interview, showing interviewer scorecard customized by chosen role

Understanding skills in candidate review

Those skills also come into play during the candidate review process. Since candidates are evaluated against the same skills during both the screening and interview phases, the panel can evaluate skill performance across each phase. It not only enables the panel to conduct a more holistic candidate evaluation; it also helps to ensure that candidates are held to a consistent quality bar.

Screncapture showing the new candidate test report experience, showcasing scores for skills relevant to the role

Designing a skills-centric hiring process

Skills-based evaluations are available in the HackerRank platform now. Create a skills-based test or interview to try it for yourself.

We'll be sharing a number of new improvements to support our customers in the coming weeks. To be the first to know about new updates, follow us on LinkedIn.

Banner reading "Remote Interview Practices: A Guide to CodePair"

*Disclaimer: This blog post contains messaging around the "CodePair" and "CodeScreen" features which are now called "Interview" within the HackerRank product as of 10/06/20.

Ashish Garg, a Product Manager at Hackerrank

Ashish Garg is a product manager at HackerRank. Passionate about recruitment technology, Ashish leads enterprise and business platform initiatives for the HackerRank platform. He leverages his robust background in engineering, analytics, and entrepreneurship to bring maximum value to HackerRank customers.

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