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Samba TV recruits the best data engineering talent faster than the world’s biggest tech companies, helping them build an international team that can unlock critical insights from real-time TV data.

We’re living through the age of the streaming wars. People are spending literally billions of minutes every year streaming media consuming traditional broadcasts through their televisions. All that underlying data can be a gamechanger for brands, media companies, and advertising agencies alike. The only problem is that the truth about how consumers interact with their televisions is more mysterious than you might think.

This is the problem that Samba TV is solving. But doing so means successfully competing with massive tech companies for top data engineering talent. Since early 2018, Kimberly Davis, Sr. Manager, Talent & HR, and Kristen Huie, Sr. Talent Partner, Global Tech, have taken steps to speed up time to hire without sacrificing quality—even in the midst of a global pandemic.

Recruiting Data Engineers for Complex, Innovative Projects

Kimberly and Kristen know that the work Samba TV does today and plans to do in the future is complex. It’s not enough to settle for average or even just above average engineering talent if Samba is going to execute its mission to transform the TV viewing experience. While the best tech talent might gravitate toward the biggest tech companies, Samba TV knows that it can compete for top tier data engineers.

Kimberly says that “it just doesn’t make sense to try to compete directly with the likes of Google, Facebook, Apple, and even LinkedIn” but knows that “the faster we can snap up great talent, the less likely we’ll lose out to the big tech companies that have near limitless resources.”

This is when Samba started its partnership with Codility. With the help of standardized coding assessments through the Codility platform, Kimberly and Kristen enable their managers to make faster, more data-driven hiring decisions. Instead of wasting time coming up with new tasks, creating a grading rubric, and manually reviewing every completed assessment, hiring managers can focus their efforts on identifying the candidates that perfectly balance hard and soft skills.

Taking the Power of Whiteboarding Remote

All of the goals Samba TV set for 2020 took a hit when the global pandemic forced the company to go fully virtual. While the recruiting team had to rethink all of its processes initially, Kristen says that “our engineering teams are already spread across offices in San Francisco, Taipai, Warsaw, and other major cities around the world. Our engineers are already used to remote work and communication through all kinds of apps.”

What could have been a disaster for tech hiring turned out to be more of an opportunity. Instead of focusing so heavily on hiring tech talent in the Bay Area, Samba TV can branch out and commit to building its international data engineering teams with the best possible candidates no matter where they live.

It didn’t take long for Kimberly, Kristen, and the hiring managers to adapt to new fully virtual processes. However, the one thing that the engineering leads couldn’t seem to replace was the onsite whiteboarding sessions. Being able to “go through storytelling scenarios with whiteboards” helped engineering leads “understand exactly what a candidate would bring to a role,” according to Kristen. Solutions like Google Docs weren’t able to replace this value—but Canvas in the Codility platform did.

Canvas allows Samba TV engineering candidates and hiring managers to collaborate seamlessly within a live developer environment. The tool enables interviewers and interviewees to quickly draw diagrams and shapes to communicate about technical questions on a high level.

With Canvas powering remote interviews, Kristen says that the engineering teams are able to get more comprehensive feedback about candidates that adds an extra layer of confidence to final hiring decisions. 

Getting Comfortable with a Fully Remote Future

Eventually we’ll move past the global pandemic and employees will return to their offices. While some companies will do everything they can to return to business as usual, Kimberly and Kristen know that their approach to hiring has fundamentally changed.

They say that employee safety will always be Samba’s the top priority when considering reopening offices. For many teams, that would put greater stress on hiring for the remainder of 2020. But thanks to Canvas and other Codility features, Samba is making the most of this transition to remote work. The lessons learned now will carry over to further speed up time to hire and solidify competitive advantages in tech talent recruiting.

Wrap Up

Tech hiring is as much about understanding how an engineer solves problems as it is about whether or not they have the coding skills you’re looking for. Being able to communicate with remote candidates as if they’re on site makes such a crucial difference in the quality of hiring decisions. Adopting a remote-first hiring solution like Codility gives Samba TV the features and flexibility necessary to staff for its most innovative projects.

Michael Cruz is an Account Executive at Codility.

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