By: Sophia Baik, Co-Founder, CodeSignal
Talent is everywhere. And those highly sought-after new grads with computer science degrees—they’re everywhere, too. In fact, 94 percent of computer science degrees awarded each year are from universities that are not well-known to employers. Schools like Arizona State University, North Carolina State University, and San Jose State University produced some of the most talented new grad software developers in 2022.
What does this mean for your campus recruiting efforts? For companies like Zoom and eBay, it means seeking out students on the basis of their objective coding skills rather than the prestige of the school they attended. The result? These companies have diversified their engineering teams tenfold by bringing in diverse and highly talented new grad developers.
These 5 strategies will empower campus recruiters to build a robust candidate pipeline of diverse and talented junior-level developers for their company.
1. Broaden your search
The first step to diversifying your campus recruiting is to open up your search to a wider range of schools. This means looking beyond elite schools for computer science (like MIT and Stanford), and instead actively seeking out candidates from more diverse schools. Try partnering with schools recognized as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), if you are not currently doing so.
You may also consider working with a nonprofit organization like ColorStack, which provides job market support to new grad Black and Latinx developers, or using a recruitment automation tool like RippleMatch to source underrepresented talent from a wide range of US universities. And one more resource: CodeSignal’s annual University Ranking Report identifies the top 50 colleges and universities for new grad developer talent based solely on students’ coding skills. You can check out their list for 2022 here.
2. Use a top-of-funnel skills screening
Not even the best recruiters can be totally objective when reviewing a candidates’ resumes. With most hiring teams spending just 6 seconds per resume, research shows that recruiters are subconsciously drawn to universities and experiences (like internships) that they recognize. This means that talented developers graduating from lesser-known schools, or who have taken an unconventional career path, may fall through the cracks.
One way to avoid missing out on top talent is to send all candidates a screening evaluation to objectively assess their core programming skills. CodeSignal, for instance, offers data-driven, research-backed pre-screen assessments that fairly and accurately measure candidates’ coding skills.
3. Invest in building meaningful relationships with candidates
Keeping talented candidates in your pipeline requires relationship-building. With strong competition for securing a “yes” from top early career developer candidates, you want to make sure that you’re not losing any candidates due to infrequent or confusing communication.
After you’ve identified a narrower pool of candidates who’ve proven they have the technical skills needed for the job, take time to connect with them to get them excited about your company and the role they’ve applied for. Set up a call to learn more about what motivates them and address any concerns they might have, and be sure to respond to follow-up questions promptly and thoughtfully.
4. Reduce bias with structured onsite interviews
When you move to the onsite interview stage, it’s important that your interviewers use a well-structured interview. This ensures that every candidate follows the same interview process, minimizing the risk of bias and giving each candidate a fair opportunity to demonstrate why they’re a great fit for the role.
Structured interviews require interviewers to be prepared, so ensure your hiring team has set aside time to prep for each interview and decide which interviewer is responsible for assessing each skill. Structured interviews should also follow a logical, progressive question order. Starting with less challenging coding questions and moving towards more complex questions helps the candidate feel comfortable and builds rapport between the candidate and interviewers.
5. Assess troubleshooting skills and team fit in the onsite
Especially for new grads, core programming skills and problem-solving abilities are more important than knowledge of a specific language or framework. To evaluate these core skills, we recommend using a coding interview tool like CodeSignal Interview to collaborate with candidates on real-world coding problems. This not only allows you to assess their troubleshooting skills, but it’s also an opportunity to see how candidates communicate under pressure, how they collaborate, and whether they’ll be a good team fit.
Want to learn more about how to take your university recruiting to the next level? Check out The Comprehensive Guide to University and Early Career Recruiting.
About The Author
Sophia Baik is Co-founder and VP of People, Finance, and Operations at CodeSignal, a coding skills assessment platform dedicated to helping companies #GoBeyondResumes in tech recruiting. Prior to co-founding CodeSignal, Sophia started her career in investment banking at Lehman Brothers before gaining experience in marketing and operations at tech companies such as Wayfair, Zynga, and Beepi. Sophia earned a master’s degree in business administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management and a BA in Economics from Carleton College.