Industry Trends & Research


Global talent: finding developers in a remote world

The Karat Team image

The Karat Team

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Last year the world shrunk. Not just in terms of being confined to our apartments, but also with regard to accessing a global talent pipeline of remote software engineers. One silver-lining of 2020 was that it became easier for engineering leaders in tight talent markets to say goodbye to geographic hiring constraints and hello to remote and distributed teams.

By opening up recruiting pipelines to global talent, opportunistic organizations were able to hone in on strong candidates that met their hiring bar and build stronger, more diverse organizations. However, recruiting in new markets has its own unique challenges. First and foremost, how to set a global hiring bar.

Leveling global talent

Many technical skills translate across industries and geographical borders, but some evolve around specialized markets. What’s critical is to know what key competencies will lead to success in your organization.

Engineering leaders need to work with talent acquisition partners to set clear expectations around what competencies they are looking for and how they are assessing them. This is best done by looking at how your job descriptions align (or don’t align) with your performance reviews. Are you painting a realistic picture of what is needed for on the job success?

Begin by reviewing job descriptions, interview format and questions, and the interview rubric used to make hiring decisions. Document all findings during this process and work on aligning each of these areas to shared competencies. Similarly, commit to additional interview training at a global scale. This ensures interviewers are assessing for the right competencies and eliminating false negatives with bias mitigation and unconscious bias techniques.

Developer hotspots

The past year taught many engineering leaders that distributed engineering teams can be successful. With many more organizations hiring remote developers, we saw an uptick in interview volume and performance in domestic markets like Pittsburgh, Houston, Los Angeles, and Chicago, which all topped our list of the top markets to hire outside of the three traditional tech hubs (San Francisco, Seattle, and New York).

Globally, Beijing and Shanghai produced the highest percentage of candidates that scored in the top two tiers on Karat interviews. Tokyo and Singapore were also hotspots for developer success, and in India, Hyderabad had the highest concentration of top candidates.

Warsaw was the top-performing European city in 2020. We saw a steady increase in continental interview volume over the course of the year, which was driven in-part by UK-based-organizations opening or expanding developer offices ahead of Brexit.

Global tech talent exists, commit to finding it.

Shannon Hogue broke down down these trends in greater detail at a digital CTO Connection event earlier this month, full video available here.

As she notes, preparing for global hiring starts with identifying the right competencies for each role, but it doesn’t end there.

Investing in interviewer training is critical, especially if you have different geographical hubs trying to align to a global hiring bar. Don’t make the mistake of assumption and hope your talent acquisition partners know what to assess and how.

It’s also important to clean and review your data from various countries and sources. This will enable you to compare results and structure your hiring process in a way that is measurable (and meaningful) at every step.

And lastly, don’t ignore lower-performing markets. We see specialization happening in different areas that can skew results. For instance, the top-3 Indian cities may have under-performed other Asian hubs over the past year, but looking solely at candidates with big-tech experience, Hyderabad produced a significantly higher percentage of top-performers compared to candidates from the e-commerce or financial services sectors. You just have to know what you’re looking for and develop a technical interview that delivers!

Overview infographic of where Karat interviews global talent

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