Finding good candidates

We've been looking for another developer since October last year.  A little over 4 months.  This is what I have experienced and a little insight into our recruitment process.  Let's see if any future candidates find this post.

I am currently working at Grosvenor Financial Services Group Ltd. and our developer recruitment process is roughly as follows:

  • We place an ad on Seek, our ads are fairly generic and since we rarely, if ever, specify a narrow experience level.  We are interest in passionate driven developers at any level.  I have recently had really good experiences with NBR Talent and may use them exclusively in the future.
  • There is some initial screening when we receive CV's.
    • We have a policy that we do not sponsor anyone outside New Zealand.  Any CV's received from candidates outside New Zealand are normally rejected, unless the CV is exceptional and the candidate has indicated that they do not require sponsorship.
    • I review all CV's and the interesting ones are passed on to the development team for their input.
  • Any candidates that get the thumbs up from the whole development team gets asked to complete what we call the "Dev Test".  This consists of three coding questions, of which they only need to complete 2, they are also given at least three days to complete it.  The questions have been developed to test what the developer knows about development patterns.  It also gives us some insight into their coding style and how up to date they are with current techniques.
    • It is amazing that CV's and the resulting Dev Tests in the majority of cases do not match up.
    • I'm not going to divulge what we look for as I don't want to give future candidates an advantage, but I will say that if you are truly passionate about development this should be a breeze.
  • For the few developers that hand in a half decent Dev Tests we get them to come into our office to sit a 1hr "Technology Test".  This is done on a laptop and covers development technologies and methodologies and is designed to give us some insight of the candidates more general I.T. knowledge.
  • Following the technology test the candidate meets the whole development team (we are a small team) and for an hour we go over technical questions.  Part of the process is to get the candidate to write code while we are interviewing them.  It is amazing how many people will tell us they are experts in SQL and when we ask them to do a simple SELECT they have no idea where to start.  Making developers write at least some basic code in an interview is an absolute must.
    I am currently amazed at this stage as well what the salary expectations of some candidates are compared to their actual technical expertise.
  • The candidates that make it past the technical interview stage has their references checked and then interviewed by staff from the rest of the business.  Including the CEO.
  • The successful candidate(s) are then made an offer.
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