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The Best Advice from Lever’s Talent Innovation Summit 2017


Missed Lever’s Talent Innovation Summit last week? I had the pleasure of attending Lever’s 2nd Annual Talent Innovation Summit, a conference for recruiters to get together and discuss the art and science of recruiting.

The sessions, networking events and keynotes left me with 7 pages chock full of wisdom to help me boost my recruiting skills. I’ve distilled the insights from top recruiting thought leaders Matt Charney, Stacy Donovan Zapar and Lou Adler to share with you all!

#1 Fast Facts on Tech Recruiting Today by Matt Charney

TL;DR: in order to stay competitive in tech recruiting consider broadening your region and look at candidates living elsewhere in the country.

Matt Charney, editor-in-chief of Recruiting Daily, did a great segment in which he highlighted how tech startups have fundamentally changed the way people live and work. With that, he set the stage to why a lot of startups fail and what companies can do to be more competitive in the war for tech talent.

Matt’s #1 Recruiting Hack

Add working from home as a benefit!  Given 63.3% of tech workers consider it unimportant to live in Silicon Valley, allowing work-from-home benefits is a no brainer. If you can swing it, it can be a game changer when it comes to attracting talent. This also reminded me of our recent “The United States of Developers” study, which found that the fastest growing regions of developers are in unlikely places, like Ohio and Hawaii. 

On Remote Working

  • 90% of virtual tech workers say they are happier with their jobs because they can work from home.
  • 92% of tech workers are “concerned” with the high costs and time required for daily commutes.
  • 73% would choose a job of equal salary and title to reduce their daily commute.
  • 67% of tech workers said that easing their commute was “important” or “very important” in their next opportunity.

And to get a pulse on which roles have been the most difficult to fill, Matt also offered the top hardest-to-fill roles in Silicon Valley today, courtesy of CB Insights. Tech support and engineers continue to be the most challenging roles.

Top 10 of the hardest to fill tech roles in the valley:

  • Technology support
  • Software engineer
  • Principal software engineer
  • Senior software engineer
  • Product specialist
  • Application engineer
  • Web application engineer
  • Technical support rep

#2 Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Day-to-Day by Stacy Donovan Zaper

Stacy Donovan Zapar is the founder of Tenfold and the Talent Agency. Her segment focused on tactical advice on how to stay organized and maximize effectiveness in your daily recruiting activities.

Some highlights (which I will certainly be implementing here at HackerRank) are:

  • Leave No Website Applicant Behind
    80% of applicants that visit your career site leave without applying– this is because they don’t find a fit in any of the postings. Therefore, it’s important to create a link for those applicants to send their resumes in case a new role opens up. Example: “If you don’t see a job that fits your background, send us your resume for future openings.”
  • Sample Resume Review
    For new requisitions, bring a few resumes and review them with the hiring managers and listen to them review the resume out loud to see what’s important. ( I love this tip!).
  • Must-Ask Screening Question
    When screening candidates, ask: Is there anything that did not come up today that I should know about? You’d be surprised by how much you can learn about the candidate with that simple question.

#3 Wisdom from 40 Years of Success by Lou Adler

As one of the biggest highlights, veteran HR professional, and founder of Performance Based Hiring, took the stage to share a few pearls of wisdom. Here are three.

First, there are few things you can do that are more impactful than getting a strong foothold on the job req. Beyond conceptual advice, Lou offered the top three questions you must nail through strong discussions from hiring managers:

  1. What does the person need to do?
  2. Who knows the ideal candidate?
  3. Why would a top person want this job?

To be successful, it’s critical to get inside the mind of your ideal candidate. Realize, the most common reason why people leave jobs is for better career growth.
Secondly, Lou outlined the 5 key pillars of successful recruiting:

  • 3 questions: What, Why, and Who?
  • Convert strangers into weak connections
  • Fish where the big fish hang out
  • Find “Nodes” who will connect you
  • Pre-select who you put on the boat

And lastly, one memorable key theme that persisted throughout Lou’s, along with several of the main keynotes, is this idea of “take a chance.”  There are countless such examples of stellar talent unnoticed. As recruiters we need to take chances on folks that have no background in the field- they may end up being our best hire!

“A lot of good hires are people not evaluated on their CVs or professional experience alone. Look in other industries for better talent that you don’t have to fight as hard for,” Lou Adler

The event wrapped up with a keynote by Roman Mars, host of podcast “99% invisible.” His story of his unusual career path to radio was thought provoking. With  no background in radio, and a winding career path, he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for one person who took a chance on him. Now, he has one of the highest rated podcasts as well as one of the most watched Ted Talks.

All it takes is one person.

Watch how HackerRank and Lever work together.


Mina Feuerhaken leads recruiting at HackerRank, a skills-based technical assessment platform empowering over 1,000 companies across industries. She’s fascinated by career choices people make, as well as the companies they join. Her passion lies in finding the best fit on both ends and building a smooth process in between.

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