interview with programmer

Can a Non-Technical Recruiter Evaluate Tech Talent the Right Way?

Andrew Zola
Andrew Zola on Linkedin

When it comes to hiring staff, the process is pretty much standard when it comes to non-technical roles. But when it comes to filling positions that require technical individuals with highly specialized training, all the standard principles go right out of the window.

So if you’re a non-technical individual tasked with identifying top tech talent, this can sometimes be an overwhelming experience. This is because you won’t have the necessary experience to first describe the job that needs to be done. Furthermore, you also won’t have the necessary background to properly vet qualified candidates.

This is the primary reason why some in the industry insist that partnering with a co-founder or chief technical officer (CTO) is paramount to getting the job done. But in reality, it does happen all the time.

So can a non-technical person evaluate tech talent?

The short answer is, it depends.

Can they do it the right away?

The answer to that question depends on multiple variables.

How do non-technical recruiters approach this challenge?

Most recruiters at some of the world’s leading tech companies don’t come from a technical background. But they are armed with the necessary information (which could have been provided by a CTO) and significant experience to identify the right candidate.

Non-technical recruiters take on this challenge by following preset criteria:

  • They are detailed and specific about the technical skills needed
  • They are equipped with enough data to identify the signals that are strong indicators of a candidate’s technical ability
  • They consistently apply an extremely conservative filter

As you can clearly see, the ability to do this is acquired and comes with experience. But having said that, they don’t make the final decision. Instead, they rely on someone with the right expertise to make the final call.

In you’re an entrepreneur just starting out, the final decision comes down to you alone. You don’t have the luxury of experience or the benefit of leaning on an expert to make the hire.

In this scenario, you won’t be able to do it immediately, but it will give you the necessary experience to speed up the process as time goes by.

So what’s the best approach for entrepreneurs?

Practicing patience will be key during the hiring process, so you will have to accept that finding the right match will take time. Even if you’re looking for a co-founder, the same rule applies as it requires a significant investment of time and consideration.

As developers tend to be a little different, it will be important to spend some time and understand where they are coming from and what their needs are (experience, stock options, or a hefty paycheck).

But at the same time, you should rapidly eliminate candidates that turn out to be bad hires. If you want your project to stay on course, you don’t want any disruptions that can be avoided.

As teams play a vital role in the success of your endeavor, making the right hires at the start can help immensely. This is because their intelligible input can play a vital role in building a cohesive team (which can also help your investors rest easy).

To get started with the hiring process, you will have to start with a detailed job description. To achieve this, it would serve you well to pay for some professional advice to ensure that the first engineer you hire is the right candidate.

Today, technologies come handy to assist non-technical recruiters with screening and interviewing developers. For instance, our parent company Intersog offers a mobile application called Interview Assistant Pro that has recently been featured by Recruiting Headlines as a Top 7 App for Efficient Recruiters. The app was featured due to the following reason:

The focus of this app is on organizing and preparing for interviews on the go. You’re able to design the entire interview with a candidate, without restrictions, as well as track the progress of multiple interviews at the same time. You’re equipped with more than 250 existing questions, to make your preparation process faster.

The app provides a great coverage of technical interview questions and scenarios to better vet technical candidates and help a non-technical recruiter save a significant amount of time to prepare for the actual interview.

So can a non-technical person evaluate tech talent the right way?

The long answer is you can absolutely do it after you have gained significant knowledge and experience hiring multiple software engineers.