Discovering Hidden Talent: Innovative Approaches to Assessing Non-Experienced Computer Programmers

Finding the right talent can be daunting for businesses of all sizes and across industries, especially roles involving technical skill. Hiring someone is always a risk, and the cost of hiring the wrong person can be significant. Sometimes, it feels like finding someone with experience is impossible, especially when you’re hiring computer programmers.

The good news is that with a positive attitude and an innovative approach, assessing inexperienced computer programmers doesn’t have to be a chore. Here’s how you can find the best of the best— even if they’ve just graduated and their resume has the white space to prove it.

Growing Demand is Draining the Talent Pool – Recent Grads Can Help

The field of computer programming is still pretty new, at least in comparison to many other professions. There are now so many different languages that it can be hard to find the right person with the mix of training and experience you’re looking for. The talent pool simply isn’t growing fast enough to meet demand.

The solution? Find someone with the right training for your company’s needs and help them to gain experience and prove themselves in the field. Help someone get a leg up and learn the ropes, and they’re likely to provide enthusiasm and fresh ideas in return.

Although hiring fresh talent does come with some risks, it also comes with many benefits. New graduates are eager to prove themselves and gain experience in the working world. They might also provide much-needed diversity to your organization and new perspectives that spur growth.

Innovative Approaches to Hiring New Graduates

Many new graduates have the technical know-how to be successful in a variety of programming roles. However, with the rise of online degrees and coding boot camps, it’s common for these applicants to have little to no hands-on experience with live projects.

Assessing their skills, knowledge, and potential takes a bit more effort and creativity than simply scanning their resume for relevant work experience.

Beyond the basics, such as a degree or certification in programming, there are several ways to see if a candidate might be a good hire, such as: • Using coding assessments and challenges • Conducting technical interviews revolving around problem-solving • Assessing student projects and open-source or personal initiatives • Looking at candidates’ programming community involvement • Emphasizing personality and “culture fit” over experience and establishing an apprenticeship or mentorship program

These techniques can be more time-consuming than evaluating a candidate’s professional work experience, but the payoff can be enormous. People are more than their resumes, and it’s easy to pass someone extremely talented up due to a lack of experience.

Putting Non-Traditional Evaluation Approaches Into Practice

When deciding how to evaluate inexperienced programmers, it’s important to think about your business’s unique needs.

If you’re looking for programmers who will help you grow your startup, for instance, then you will need them to have a certain amount of technical ability, meaning that a coding assessment or challenge might be necessary.

You’ll also need them to be invested in your company’s vision, meaning that asking questions to determine if candidates are a culture fit could be key.

For larger organizations, hiring people in an internship or apprenticeship role might be more realistic. In this situation, you’d want to conduct interviews revolving around problem-solving (using hypothetical and real-world problems) and look for initiative, like a portfolio of personal projects.

Attitude is Everything

Everyone has to start somewhere. Making an effort to hire new grads for some of your roles will not only help you get fresh new talent with the latest skillsets but will also provide people with a foot in the door of computer programming to build amazing careers.

At the end of the day, an applicant’s attitude, willingness to learn, and adaptability can be far more valuable than the number of years they’ve worked in the field. If you can identify incredible talent in recent graduates and nurture that talent within your organization, then you’re likely to see good results from your hiring protocols.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to finding the right fit. You need to change your hiring practices as needed, based on your company’s unique goals and attributes and on the available talent pool. Give new programmers a chance to wow you!

Andreew Deen