Something I love about my job is that there is nowhere to hide. We are all in the middle of the most complex puzzle trying to fit all the pieces together seamlessly to create the perfect outcome. Building a business is a bit like mystery puzzles: you have one representative piece and some descriptive adjectives but have to build it with no instructions or a complete image. Like a mystery puzzle, there are so many pieces and variables associated with developing and leading successful teams, businesses, organizations and communities. That said, there is one common denominator: people! With the right group of people with an audacious enough challenge, aligned vision, passion to perform and culture to bring their personal and collective genius to bear you can achieve absolutely anything!
Finding The Right Pieces
Starting VECKTA, as a leadership team the biggest challenge facing us was building the right team (and for us a family) with all these ingredients while having the technical capabilities, emotional intelligence, passion, and attitude to deliver on a huge vision.
Some personal and professional attributes are very challenging to define, measure, and test but we wanted at minimum to be able to create an unbiased, fair, and transparent mechanism to qualify interested applicants. We knew if we could do this it would allow us to compare applicants fairly and then prioritize with whom we wanted to invest precious time to get to know better and assess the other less technical, soft skills. As luck would have it, we met through the Plug & Play network a startup called Filtered AI.
Filtered AI had designed the solution we were looking for: a hiring platform that enables us to assess for the best qualified candidates quickly and confidently. The way we applied the technology at VECKTA was to set several coding challenges. The candidates complete the challenges (typically in less than an hour), and describe how they approached the problem.
For our CTO Phillip Shoemaker this was a game changer:
“Never before have I been able to guarantee that all of our candidates were on a level playing field, and that we were comparing apples to apples. Far too often, engineering interviewers ‘mix it up’ in their interview questions, putting the interviewee on a different path. The Filtered AI approach reduces that risk, and allows us all to do an equal comparison. This is the future for consistent hiring.”
Some candidates simply refuse to take the challenges, claiming it undermines their profession. This too tells us a lot about someone’s attitude. At the end of the day, this process creates a minimal–but valuable–barrier to entry. You can’t just apply for any and every job: you have to want it and you have to be confident in your skills. This process also benefits the candidate. A one-hour online test is far less of a commitment for a candidate than preparing for, travelling to, and having the equivalent interview. Your results are captured on file for future considerations vs being lost in a paper report/whiteboard somewhere.
We have had our interns take the same tests as our senior hires. This sets a consistent baseline. We adjust our expectations accordingly to the role, taking into account their approach, style, and attitude, not just the results.
Putting It All Together
To date we have had over 100 VECKTA applicants complete our tailored software development tests. This resulted in 10 interviews, from which we have hired 5 engineers. The typical recruitment ratio is hiring 1 person for every 100 applicants. Through this process we have gained a 5x efficiency and enabled us to essentially complete a technical interview with many more applicants than traditional practices. In our estimation, utilizing Filtered AI to enhance our process has saved us in excess of 90 hours of effort for our leadership team alone over 6 months. For a startup this is huge, the opportunity cost loss of 90 hours of effort is significant. We expect these efficiencies will only scale as we grow.
To close out, I would like to say we have yet determined how best to apply the tech to hiring less technical roles. We look forward to continuing working with Filtered AI to figure this out.
We are always looking for ways to challenge our limits, adapt purposefully, and co-create sustainable solutions, and it has been amazing working with a partner with awesome tech and similar values!
Photo credits: (Filtered AI) (Javier Allegue Barros / Unsplash)