How we vet developers for the Edge Talent network

The tech industry, in particular Silicon Valley, is notorious for inventing interview processes that are overly restrictive, exclusionary, excessively burdensome on candidates, and ultimately ineffective. Why is this? There are many reasons, but the biggest factors are fear and ignorance. Fear of making a bad hire and ignorance about how to prevent it. The safe thing to do is what the company has always done. And when in doubt, no hire!

But if your interview process is effective, it should produce a clear answer, not uncertainty. A good interview process is objective, transparent, supported by academic research, and produces a clear hire/no hire signal. It also needs to be reasonable for the developer so that great developers don't withdraw themselves. This was the criteria we used to develop the vetting process for the Edge Talent network.

To develop the vetting process for the Edge Talent network, we went to science. We stand on the shoulders of decades of research conducted by leading academics on which selection methods effectively predict future job performance.

The Process

Step 1: Written Application Submission and Review

The process begins when a candidate submits a written application to join the Edge Talent network. On the application they provide a professional summary, a skills self-assessment, and a resume. This application is reviewed by a Facet technical recruiter. If the candidate has relevant skills, work experience, and/or education, they are moved to the next round.

Step 2: Video Screening Call

The next round is a video screening call with a Facet technical recruiter. In this call we:

  • Verify the candidate is a real person.
  • Visually confirm their identity matches their online profiles.
  • Verify that the candidate has the skills and experience they claim. We do this by asking in-depth questions about their education, work experience, and projects where they've used the skills they have listed on their application.
  • Evaluate their spoken English proficiency throughout the interview and generate a score based on their level of proficiency.

The video screening call takes 15-30 minutes. To move forward to the next step, the candidate must pass the identity verification, have been completely honest in every aspect of their application, and have an English proficiency equivalent to CEFR C1.

Step 3: Cognitive, Integrity, and Productivity Assessments

Step 3.1: Cognitive Ability Assessment

Over 100 years of research has confirmed that the most valid predictor of future job performance is general mental ability (GMA), or intelligence[1]. It has a predictive validity of .51. People with high cognitive ability learn faster and are more productive than others.

We use a standardized cognitive ability test provided by Criteria Corp, a leading expert in pre-employment assessment. Candidates must score in the 60th percentile or higher to qualify for the Edge Talent network. We recommend 60th percentile, but clients can set more restrictive search criteria when opening a role.

Step 3.2: Integrity Assessment

Integrity tests are used to hire employees with "reduced probability of counterproductive job behaviors, such as drinking or drugs on the job, fighting on the job, [and] stealing from the employer."[1] This is especially important for remote employees where direct supervision is not possible. Because intelligence and integrity are not correlated, the combination of a cognitive ability test and an integrity test produce the highest combined validity, .63, of all the studied selection methods.

A score of "Medium" or "High", represents a low risk of undesirable behaviors and is required to join the Edge Talent network.

Step 3.3: Productivity Assessment

Conscientiousness, which is defined as "wishing to do what is right, especially to do one's work or duty well and thoroughly", is strongly correlated with employee job performance. It has a validity of .31 and a validity of .60 when combined with cognitive ability assessments.[1]

Candidates must score in the 50th percentile or higher to join the Edge Talent network.

The assessments in step 3 can be completed in less than 30 minutes.

Step 4: Job Knowledge Test

Job knowledge tests evaluate a candidate's knowledge of the skills required for a job. For example, a developer with deep experience in React should know what the second parameter of the useEffect hook does.

Contrary to conventional developer "wisdom," job knowledge tests have a high validity of .48.[1] When combined with the previous steps (cognitive ability, integrity and productivity), the overall validity or effectiveness of the vetting process is very high. Based on the results we see with our customers, we estimate the combined validity to be .95. In other words, 95% of the developers that pass the Edge Talent screening process and the client screening process, and are hired by the client, meet or exceed their manager's expectations.

Job knowledge tests are conducted live with the candidate and a Facet recruiter. This ensures the candidate is the one taking the test and is not receiving outside help. The candidates' answers are scored against a rubric and an overall proficiency rating between 0 and 5 is determined.

The job knowledge test is not used to admit or reject candidates from the Edge Talent network. It is used to score a candidate's skills. Clients can set required proficiency levels (i.e. 3 or higher in TypeScript) when opening a position with Facet.

Step 5: You evaluate for team fit

If a candidate has passed the previous steps in the vetting process, and meets your required skills criteria, they will be submitted to you for review. Every candidate comes with a strong endorsement, having passed an effective and objective vetting process.

When hiring global talent, you will not be able to use your standard procedure to evaluate a candidates resume. You won't recognize company names, universities, and other signals you are accustomed to. You will receive the candidate scores from the previous steps in the vetting process.

We strongly recommend that hiring managers keep an open mind and interview the candidates that have passed the vetting process.

At this point, you should evaluate the candidate for team fit. This includes passion for your mission, alignment with your team values, and any other skills or experience required for the position. We advise NOT evaluating for things like, "Would I want to grab a beer with this person?" or "Do we share any hobbies?" These types of criteria have been proven to not predict future job performance.

We recommend limiting this portion of the interview process to 2-2.5 hours.

Step 6: Job Tryout

The only foolproof way to determine if a candidate is a good fit for a position is to actually hire them and work together. That's why the final step in the vetting process, assuming they've passed all the previous steps, is to hire the candidate.

The hiring process is quick. Facet is the employer of record, but they are your employee. We handle the complexity of getting them on international payroll, benefits, etc. Once hired, the candidate is a regular member of your team.

If during their first two weeks you decide your new hire does not have the skills required for the job, you can notify Facet that you wish to terminate their employment. We will handle the termination process and we will cover the cost of their salary during that time period.

Note: We do not allow clients to hire two candidates for a single position, with the plan to keep the person they like better after the trial period is over.

The Result

The Edge Talent vetting process can be completed in 2 hours. This keeps the burden low so experienced developers are not repelled. The process is objective, effective, and accurate. You get a clear picture of a candidates skills and ability, and are not limited to subjective measures like pedigree or professional connections.

Combined with your own interviews and a risk free job trial period, there is simply no faster and more effective way to hire developers.

[1] Schmidt and Hunter

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"Facet has greatly reduced the time required to find quality, high caliber candidates. The employees we have hired through their platform have consistently been some of the most impactful contributors on our teams."

Greg M.
Greg M.
VP of Engineering at Vizio

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