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How Okta expanded their candidate pipeline from 1,000 to 6,000

and improved candidate quality at the same time

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Kathy Mason


"We couldn’t have done what we did if we didn’t have Codility. I’m Codility’s biggest cheerleader."


Kathy Mason
University Recruiter at Okta

Challenges of campus recruitment at scale

Manual. That's the best word to describe Okta’s initial processes.

Recruiters were managing coding challenges sent to 1,000 candidates annually via the in-built calendar feature of their email inboxes.

This had to change — communicating with candidates and managing their hiring process was not going to scale this way.

Kathy needed to find a solution so that all of these processes could be prepared for scale, fast.

Okta had some fears and doubts:

  • Maintaining culture has always been a priority, especially for the hiring department.
  • Avoiding false positives and false negatives during the earlier stages of the recruitment funnel.
  • Showcasing why Okta is a great place to work is extremely effective in recruiting interns and fresh graduates.
  • Saving time spent on interviews frees up a lot of resources that can be better allocated elsewhere.
  • Automating the process and moving away from the manual way of handling candidates was crucial.

How did Okta respond?

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Implementing CodeCheck and CodeLive

Okta started with a pre-made template of the CodeCheck test created by our team. The following year, they began using CodeLive for pair programming sessions with candidates. 

Okta’s workflow had changed and become almost completely automated. Scoring, reporting and managing candidates are some key areas that went through the shift to automation.

 

“Okta was growing rapidly — and our need

for software engineers was growing too.”

 

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Reducing the overall number of interviews while improving quality

Okta constantly reviews its process to find ways to optimize it. Last year they created tests for Java, UI & UX, and Mobile. The pass rate is 33% for the initial Codility Test, 33% for the technical phone screen (the subsequent step), and 33% for the final onsite interview. 

By using CodeCheck for technical skills assessment and CodeLive for remote pair programming interviews, Okta sped up the rate of screening while improving the quality of candidates.

 

“Candidate experience is great,

the tool is very versatile and robust.

It’s amazing how great the interns did this year.“

 

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Results

Last year Okta tested 2,399 candidates with CodeCheck and CodeLive. The team then hired 29 interns and graduates out of that pool — many of whom went on to become full-time employees.

Okta's recruitment funnel

6000

Initial Resumes Checked

2399

Codility Tests Taken

33%

Pass Rate to Technical Phone Screens

243

CodeLive Interviews

33% 

Pass Rate to Onsite Interviews

29

Hired

What's the plan for 2020?

“It's very easy to use Codility. It integrates with Greenhouse so well. It’s easy to load in and manage candidates.” 

  • Further optimizing screening. Okta will replace specified tests with one that'll test general coding ability among candidates.
  • Fewer interviews with better candidates. The main focus is to improve the signal for recruiters and save engineering time spent on interviews.
  • “Testing blind." Assessment platforms like Codility are unbiased — and test for technical skills above all else. 
  • Reducing bias and being more inclusive. Workshops are provided to employees to ensure that they know how to approach this challenge.

What are the biggest trends?

Here's what Kathy predicts will change in the future of tech hiring

CVs and resumes are currently still in use, but this will change

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“We noticed that a resume and university experience doesn’t necessarily reflect the skills and abilities of a candidate. We’re changing our process to be Test-based only — where we would purely focus on checking candidates abilities instead of their academic background that seems to have no correlation with future performance at work.”

Reducing bias and supporting a hiring process that's more inclusive

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“An interesting study was done. Findings after comparing millions of different resumes found a lot of differences between male and female resumes, such as that they used different words. While male candidates focused more on technical terms,  women seemed to be more soft-skills oriented. There are also terms in job descriptions that scare off the women applying, like 'rockstar,' for example. At Okta we are aware of that and trying to minimize the hiring bias“.