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Elevating the Screening Process, as told by a Staffing Director

Elevating the Screening Process, as told by a Staffing Director

John Enterline shares his first-hand experiences & advice for improving technical staffing processes following 4 years in technical staffing in Silicon Valley.

Tech Recruiting

Why I left the staffing industry, sort of...

I took my first baby steps into the fast paced world of technical staffing on the east coast, making cold calls across the country and getting hung up on in every conceivable way in the process. I locked in meetings for people I had never met, in places I had never visited.

Despite having no real technical experience, I was put through enough tech talk training to get my foot in the door and not get hung up on. And I got pretty good at it – good enough to have some key people at my first staffing firm give me a shot at the big time supporting a legacy Silicon Valley company in a client-facing role. A few years, hundreds of clients, scores of placements, dozens of recruiters and a couple firms later, I’m out of the biz (but not that far away…)


Quite simply, the function of the tech staffing industry is to provide client solutions by means of contract employees, managed services, or some combination thereof to any companies with a sizable IT organization. That’s what our clients see and know. What they don’t often see is the scary backend, behind the curtain.

For me, that scary backend often came in the form of a lack of understanding about the job requirements for those tasked with candidate screening. More specifically, a lack of understanding around technologies, skill sets, languages and a comprehensive understanding of how this combination of factors defined a candidate’s ability to do the job at hand. Simply, if those responsible for candidate screening don't know how well a developer can perform their job, you have no idea how miserably they can bomb an interview. Then you go from having a backend problem to a significant front end problem: you lose the faith (and often the business) of your end customer/client/hiring manager.

There are a million different reasons for these knowledge breakdowns. But the issue remains, across all organizations large and small across the tech staffing landscape, and the challenge of overcoming improper candidate matches still lingers.


Because generally speaking, most technical recruiters aren’t technical people. And that’s not a bad thing! Recruiters are the salt of the earth, and without them the hiring process would come to a screeching halt. They possess a very valuable set of skills – people skills. However, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone sitting in a recruiter’s seat with a Masters in Computer Science from Cal Poly or Stanford – yet these are often the types of technical people technical recruiters are tasked with recruiting. Recruiters are wonderful at explaining, connecting dots and matching. And matching is where things can get complicated for someone who knows what Java and C++ are on paper, but wouldn’t be able to code it if they had a gun to their head, let alone explain to a hiring manager a candidate's individual coding technique or their specific approach to a problem.

So what’s the Solution?

What if there were a way that recruiters could assign a job candidate coding tasks and get back testing scores in real time? What if they could provide detailed breakdowns of not only their solutions, but the way they coded to the hiring manager with detailed analytics? What if these tests could be used as the front line of screening to prevent unnecessary interviews, saving recruiting teams and hiring managers hours of valuable time? What if these tests could be integrated into Applicant Tracking Systems to help optimize the hiring process? What if there were tests for entry level applicants all the way to senior talent that could be customized for individual job requirements? 

...and what if these solutions were only the tip of the iceberg of possibilities to strengthen your hiring initiatives?

At my most recent staffing firm, this solution became a reality for us in the form of Codility. Codility became instrumental in the screening process used to vet candidates for managers with stringent technical requirements. The team loved it because it elevated the caliber of talent being sent to hiring managers, resulting in a higher interview to placement ratio.

Tests could be customized using a client job description. Questions, in the form of “tasks,” could be assembled by level of difficulty depending on the seniority of the candidate being sought for the position. It was possible to get a thorough understanding of how the applicant would tackle coding challenges, and this could be shared with the hiring manager. It elevated the screening process to an entirely different level, and ultimately drove candidate placements to another level as well.

Ultimately, I believed in the product so much that I joined the Codilty team. Throughout my career, I’ve been guided by the principal that people are the foundation and key to success for any organization. Providing the solution to drive this core philosophy is what Codility is all about. 

Codility isn’t for the staffing world or the tech world any more than it is to individuals, teams or companies that are looking to truly optimize the hiring process for tech talent to maximize the momentum of their organization. Year over year the customizable solutions are only getting better. If you're looking to increase your visibility and expand your talent pool, check us out.


A trial is worth 1,000 words. 7 days, 10 candidates, no credit card.


Note: This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.

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