3 Tips On How To Attract Gen Ys To Join Your Company

Generation Y (or the “Me Me Me Generation” as Time Magazine recently went with) has a reputation for being negative, lazy and selfish. Just about every generation has said this about their juniors – when times get tough, so do the critics. Let’s clarify exactly who we are talking about here and why you need a recruitment strategy for this specific group of candidates and fast.

Gen Y, sometimes referred to as millennial’s, are the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce. They were born from the mid-eighties onwards and are likely to be the employee group that will take your clients organisation forward this century. You need them in your company.

The internet has changed everyone’s lives; but especially this group, who has never known life without the ability to be ‘plugged’ into the World Wide Web 24/7.

During an interview with a Gen Y, here are 3 areas in which you can seriously get into the core of what they care about when it comes to their career prospects.

1. Money and Skills

The perception among the newest wave of candidates is that they can demand the highest salaries because they have the highest-quality skills. The only way to question this perception is to introduce doubt to this train of thought.

To turn it around, focus on skills versus dollars. Candidate-poor job markets can create prospects who demand unrealistic dollars for marketable skills. The only weapon you have for this scenario is “skills versus dollars.” It goes like this:

  • “I understand that $150,000 is your targeted salary for six years of experience, and that you arrived at $150,000 because a contractor is charging $75 an hour on your team. In your mind, you are better than a contractor. I get that.”
  • “If you could add a different skill set on your next project, how much more marketable would that make you?”
  • “Overall, you would consider a move for more skills and potentially less dollars if it was on a whole a better opportunity?”

2. Title and Promotion

The reason Gen-Y candidates feel they need promotions and raises is that they do not understand the downside to being promoted too quickly and given too much money. It is like a credit card; they will deal with the bill later. Your job is to explain to them explicitly what the repercussions will be of this form of career management.

  • “Do you think that you can be promoted to a level that would be hard to reproduce if you lost your job? For example, could you graduate from business school and start immediately managing 10 people with no management experience?”
  • “You know one of the things that I have noticed is that the last thing you want to be is overcompensated and under-qualified.”
  • “In other words, always be in the middle of the market and at the top of the competency in your peer group. It gives you a lot of options. The last thing you want is a big title and a big salary and nothing to back it up. (All hat and no cattle!).”

3. Quality of Life and Fun

To turn it around, focus on the fun. Generation Y candidates actually require a chance to have fun. They can’t imagine all work and no play because they don’t perceive that they need to work very hard. They have productivity tools, they are connected, and they are loaded with options that let them do whatever they please.

In order to convey your understanding of this, profile what they want to do with their free time. In other words, what do they consider fun and a good quality of life? Ask them:

  • “So you like to snowboard in Europe with your parents. That’s great.”
  • “Did you know about our company’s paid time-off policy? Oh well, we really do work hard and play hard here. This is our vacation policy.”
  • “Do you think you want to learn more about our work-life balance program? Great, let me send that to you.”

Content adapted from:

  • http://www.gsr2r.com/blog/how-to-convince-gen-y-candidates-to-choose-you/
  • http://www.eremedia.com/ere/whats-important-to-gen-y-candidates/

Cover Photo: Sheryl Teo for HackerTrail

Needle in a Tech Haystack: How you interview determines who you hire

In the tech industry, it may be difficult to differentiate between a mediocre coder and a great one just by a face-to-face interview.

Tech employers can agree on only wanting the best candidate to come on board, someone who actually has more than necessary skills to hack through the growth of a startup. But is this only something that time will tell, or can you actually test this ability from the first interview?

How should you separate that one needle from the haystack of coders?

Here are some (actually useful!) strategic questions for your interviewees, given the specific business model of your tech startup. We believe these sets of questions will be the key to separating sheep from goats, and finding that needle in the tech haystack.

Source Control
I’ve found that a candidates level of source control experience can be an early warning that someone might not be a good fit. If they aren’t familiar with good source control practices, I start to question a lot about their development skill in general. I want to know about what systems they’ve used, and how advanced their usage is.

  • What source control systems have you used? Which is your favourite?
  • Why do you think your favourite is the best?
  • What do you think the best practices are for branch management in a multi-developer project?

Continuous Integration
Although I’ve come to consider CI a best practice, implementation is still unevenly distributed in the development world. It’s not a deal-killer if they haven’t worked with CI, but I want to know that they’re aware of it.

  • Have you worked in a CI environment?
  • If yes, what was the workflow? Positives and negatives?
  • If no, what do you know about CI? How would you go about setting it up?

I love having the ability to refactor major assemblies in HiringThing, and the only reason we can do that painlessly is our great test coverage. Experience with disciplined test development is a must.

  • Have you worked on projects where writing tests was as integral part of the development process?
  • Describe your workflow when writing tests and features?
  • What kind of test coverage did your last project have?
  • How do you test Javascript/UI elements, vs. backend logic?

Javascript and UI Development
When someone calls themselves a Web Developer, it can cover a broad range of skills. Javascript and UI development is a specialty in its own right.

  • Are you familiar with any Javascript UI frameworks? Tell me how it works.
  • What’s the most complex UI feature you’ve ever built?
  • What do you think the most effective way to work with designers is?

Hiring a Rails developer, I’ve pre-validated with an initial conversation that the candidate has the required level of experience with Rails before even undertaking a technical interview. That said, I want to ensure that they’re not misrepresenting their level of experience.

  • Pretend I’m another programmer who has never used Rails – explain to me how a Rails app is structured, and why it’s a good framework for web apps.
  • How do you decide what logic should reside in the models vs. controllers?
  • Tell me about the most complex Rails app you’ve worked on.

API Design
I tend to regularly pick an architecture design question that’s relevant to where we’re going as a company, and something with no “right” answer to help understand how the candidate thinks.

  • We’re working on adding an API to our system. How would you go about designing a brand new API?
  • Discuss best practices and pros and cons of popular approaches.
  • How would you go about securing an API?

Infrastructure and Deployment
In a small team, we don’t have the kind of IT support that large companies have. Our developers need to keep deployment and hosting issues in mind as they’re developing and take responsibility for helping to maintain our stellar uptime record.

  • What operating systems are you familiar developing on?
  • Describe an ideal web application deployment process? What tools are used? What is the workflow?
  • Do you have experience using Amazon Web Services?

Questions curated from:

Cover Photo: hbguides.com

Understanding The Gen Y Candidate: Who Are They, What Do They Want?

Picture this: Young adult, full of ambition and creativity, with their nose constantly glued to a smartphone. Boom – you’ve got yourself a typical Generation Y person.

Gen Ys are the millennials of our society. They are born after 1980, and most of them are recent college graduates. Though they may be more individualistic than previous generations, this translates into Gen Y employees as being highly innovative and self-driven. They take pride in what they do, and they do it fast – which is why they are so attractive in the IT scene!

However, to understand how to talk to and work with these special group of people, we at HackerTrail think that it is important to first understand what is going on in their head. In this article, we dissect the Gen Y brain.

What MOTIVATES them?
Technical assignments, for they are extremely tech-savvy. Technology becomes a platform for them to show off their skills and competence in the digital sphere.

The feeling of importance drives them. If you let them feel like they are contributing significant works to your company, they are more likely to understand and love what they do and perform accordingly.

Day-to-day excitement. This refers to anything wacky your company might be able to pull up within the office, conveniently: For example, checkered shirt day, or bring-your-own-beer day!

(Adapted from – http://www.thinkenergygroup.com/think.nsf/InfoNFR/HowtoHireandManageGenXandGenYEmployees?Opendocument)

WHAT do they want?
Flexibility within the working environment. To the Gen Y, flexibility does not immediately translate into performance, and sometimes they do prefer to work from home or in a nearby Starbucks just for the sake of breathing new air.

Fast career progression. Gen Ys are unabashedly selfish and self-absorbed — they were told from a young age that they were the cream of the crop and were born for greatness. In this fast-paced world, slowness and stagnancy in the workplace is a sure sign for them that they are set for failure.

Opportunities for growth, development and travel. Given their ambitious personality, Gen Ys are constantly looking out for the next big thing, and this includes classic training programmes which they consider self-evident as a form of reward in return for good performance.

(Adapted from — https://www.smartrecruiters.com/blog/decoding-gen-y-job-interview-questions/)

WHERE are they?
Gen Ys live and breathe social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, YouTube… You get the drift. A great way to recruit good candidates most suitable for your job is to scout on social media as a pre-interview round to access their personality and professionalism.

In the office, they’re probably beside the ping-pong table or by the pantry. They would be willing to take their laptops to these fun-loving areas, just for the sake of feeling closer to a state of leisure. The line between work and play does not exist for Gen Ys! Make sure that your workspace is attractive to them, one that they can thrive in.

(Adapted from – http://relentless.taketheinterview.com/secrets-to-recruiting-generation-y-job-seekers/)

HackerTrail: SITF Bronze Award (2015)

We are proud and humbled to announce that HackerTrail has been awarded the Bronze Award in the Best Innovative Infocomm Product (Consumer) Category, at the SITF Awards 2015!

Our new product, the HackerTrail Arena, was assessed across the broad fields of market impact, innovation, and presentation. (http://arena.hackertrail.com/)

The Arena is an online multi-player, multi-level technical quiz game with real time results. The Arena empowers players to participate in technical tournaments using virtual currency. Each tournament can be configured to test one or multiple technical skills and consists of multiple rounds of challenges. The heart of this product is our proprietary judge which can process source code as well as multiple-choice inputs in real time. Each player’s mission is simple – eliminate opponents by cracking challenges as fast as possible, and progress to higher levels in the game. Winners are rewarded with badges and virtual currency, linked to a Rewards store. Players who get eliminated are provided with relevant tutorials to help them improve their skills.

Our platform was evaluated on several criteria: degree of innovation, technological elegance, functionality, trendsetting factor and user impact.

The awards were presented at the Infocomm Industry Gala Dinner held on the 1st of October in Singapore.

A big shout-out to all who have supported us in one way or another in the development of HackerTrail Arena! We’re just getting started and over the next few months we will continue to refine and improve the experience for everyone.


About the SITF Awards 

SITF Awards was inaugurated in 2009. The awards are accolades from the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SITF) to recognize technological innovation in local businesses in Singapore.

HackerTrail in conversation with RI

Last year around the same time I was interviewed by Recruitment International (RI), this was the time when we had just launched HackerTrail.

For those who don’t know RI is a digital magazine with its presence in Asia, Australia and UK.

We discussed many things like, recruitment industry its future & challenges, how technology will positively disrupt the way the recruitment industry operates, for recruiters, employers and candidates.

Read the full article here

I would love to know,

1. What are the recruitment challenges you are facing these days?

2. How are you attempting to solve them?

3. Do you use social media for recruitment?

4. Have you explored the social recruitment tools so far?

I will be happy to help you solve your challenges and share my experience and resources.

Looking forward to hear from you.

All Work and Some Play

All Work and Some Play: A Guide To Gamification In Workplace Training, was published by Skilledup in March 2015. The article talks about the use of gamification in the workplace. In context of gamification for recruitment they featured HackerTrail, below is the extract. If you wish to read full article click here:

Gamification & recruitment

Gamification has also been used in hiring, although results appear to be mixed. L’Oreal’s game Reveal and Marriott’s 2012 Farmville-style game My Marriott Hotel are attempts at this. While My Marriott Hotel was reported by Forbes to have not produced results and is no longer available on Marriott’s Facebook page, there are other gamified apps that are alive and well.

Case in point: HackerTrail, a business that pits developers against one another in a variety of online challenges. The winners of the challenges receive prizes — points, gift cards and the opportunity to interview with other companies for a job.

The company grew out of founder Tushar Tejuja’s experiences in corporate America.

“Having interviewed and hired over a hundred people in different countries, I experienced an absence of adequate and appropriate tools to tap the millennial mindset,” he says.

HackerTrail is still quite new. Tejuja launched the site in July of this year, and since then about 15 companies of all sizes and a department of the Singapore government have used the site to find workers.

The site allows employers to host their own challenges. They can invite specific candidates or open the challenge to the public. The intent is to sort through job applicants to find the best coders.

Why gamify recruitment? “This goes back to the need of tapping and engaging the Gen Y workforce,” Tejuja explains. “Even personally, thinking back on experiences of recruiting or being recruited, almost always there seemed to be a lack of consistency in the hiring process and a subjective method to filtering candidates. Gamification is a great way to spark interest and engage wider pool of candidates.”


Related Reading: From Zero to Hire in 10 days


From Zero to Hire in 10 days with HackerTrail

This Article was originally published on TECHINASIA, in Sept 2014.

Hiring is often a sign that good things are happening in a startup, whether it be that they just received funding, or have just gotten the go-ahead to expand their operations. On the other hand, it is also a very tiresome and excruciating process to undergo. An index created by University of Chicago economist Steven Davis revealed that US employers spend 25 working days on average to fill a position. That is essentially a month of under-productivity, and can cause a startup’s progress to sag in the meantime.

That’s not all. According to Tushar Tejuja, who has hired over a hundred people across several multinational corporations in different countries throughout his career, the recruitment landscape is chock full of problems:

“Firstly, candidate resumés look so similar, which makes it tough to distinguish actual skills, leading to false positives and false negatives. Secondly, it can be a very expensive process for employers who end up hiring a recruitment agency and paying them a fee of 15 to 25 percent of the hired employee’s annual salary. Thirdly, the entire recruitment process lacks transparency and engagement for the candidate and the employer, making it a ‘hit or miss’ for both.”

Having faced this problem for years, Tejuja eventually decided that enough was enough. Like many before him, he turned to technology to solve the problem of effectively sourcing and assessing talent – and so HackerTrail was born.

“We believe that one of the most critical challenges in the recruitment process today is the ability to match the right candidates to the right job,” he emphasizes. “At present, there is a fair bit of ‘noise’ in this area that ultimately impacts business productivity. In order to alleviate this noise, our focus has been on sourcing and selection of the right candidates.”

Putting the fun in hiring

HackerTrail is by no means the only recruitment-based startup out there. Locally, startups such as Glints and Ideatory are working hard to solve this issue as well. However, Tejuja says that they have set themselves apart from the rest with an emphasis on gamification in their recruitment process.

Here’s how it works. The HackerTrail team works with clients to translate the typical dry job descriptions into custom, gamified challenges, and candidates are then invited via social media to complete them. By reviewing the challenge outcomes, Tejuja claims that employers will be able to narrow down the right candidates and eventually find that perfect one.

Tejuja calls it a “win-win situation for both employers and candidates”, largely because gamification attracts more candidates to take up the challenges, as opposed to legacy job descriptions. “We focus a lot on the ‘Gen Y’ mindset. If you want more millennials to join your company, you need to get into their heads and see what excites them,” he emphasizes. “You need to find a way to get them interested.”

Here’s a peek at a recent campaign that HackerTrail created for the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), in which they gave away a MacBook Air to the winner:

“The 15 to 20 percent fee that our clients save on recruitment usually goes into prizes that further entice candidates to give the challenges a shot,” Tejuja reveals with a smile.

At the moment, candidates can be assessed via objective coding challenges and/or subjective scenarios. “We work with our clients to translate a job description into challenges that make sense for that role,” Tejuja says.

From zero to hire in 10 days

Since launching in June, their client list has been growing steadily, including both early-stage startups and established MNCs alike. Their most recent client was the IDA – their biggest catch so far.

Things had initially started off slowly for them, though. Without proof of their prowess, their first clients had to take them on by faith. One of them was Singapore-based travel startup Flocations, which was looking to hire a web developer in Indonesia with a very specific set of skills – Python, Django, and AngularJS. “They had previously tried conventional methods of hiring, such as posting on job boards, to no avail – they had zero leads,” Tejuja explains.

Flocations managed to land a hire in just 10 days using HackerTrail. “Within a week, we had reached out to about 2,200 potential candidates, of whom 181 engaged with the social media campaign we had launched,” he recalls. “Of those, six took up the challenge, and we picked the best one.”

Tejuja adds that the team was able to set up the recruitment challenge in HackerTrail’s Job Campaign platform within just 10 minutes, and he claims that this is the norm for all the clients that they service. “We estimate that it takes about 15 to 20 minutes for recruiters to fill out a typical job description. We want to take even less time than that,” he says.

Creating a self-serve platform

In the near future, Tejuja wants to make this model scalable by creating a self-serve platform for HackerTrail’s clients where they will be able to create and control their own campaigns. For more complicated hires who would need to possess a variety of skills, the team will still have to work closely with the client to create a custom campaign.

Customization necessarily requires a certain amount of labor, and that’s typically hard to scale. However, Tejuja says that the team is structuring their current campaigns very carefully with the aim of creating templates for future clients.

As it is, the solution is tailored to sift out the best technical talent for the respective roles. How about other soft skills, such as communication and leadership, that are becoming increasingly more important in startups where most employees have to ‘double-up’? Tejuja assures Tech in Asia that challenges factoring in a soft skill component are currently in the works, and will indeed be included in campaigns very soon.

HackerTrail currently earns revenue by charging a flat-fee per campaign, or a ‘spec’ fee, which comprises of a lower initial fee with the rest coming in when the campaign is successful.

While the team has picked up some seed funding earlier this year, the startup is looking to raise another round to expand to the rest of Southeast Asia. Tejuja reveals that he wants to expand to Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines first as he sees a lot of opportunity there.

Read the original article here.

Welcome to HackerTrail’s blog!

Hola folks!

I’m Tushar, hacker turned hustler and part of the founding team @ HackerTrail, a cloud-based recruitment solution. We built this product to solve a very practical problem – to connect the right people with the right opportunity. And we’re working hard towards making IT recruitment as frictionless as possible. It’s a big ask and a big task, and we’re glad to have you with us on this journey.

This blog will serve as our way to share what we’ve learnt about owning and growing a career, and some tips and tricks to help each of us get ahead. We’ve barely scratched the surface with this, so a few questions to help us make this better:

  • Do you like the posts we’ve got on here?
  • What would you like us to cover? Salary reviews? Company highlights? AMA sessions with CTOs?
  • What is the ONE thing that you think will help you with your career?

The best suggestion every month will win a surprise gift, as a token of my appreciation for your effort. Reach out in any way you’d like – post a comment below / email me at tt@hackertrail.com  / or tweet me @tushartejuja

Do you think an Assessment = a Dream Job?

If your answer is No, read on and think again. If it is Yes, this post will tell you how to ace the assessments.

In today’s competitive job space where it might not be so difficult to get ‘A Job’ but is definitely very difficult to get a ‘Good Job’, assessments are playing an important role. More and more companies are investing time, effort and energy to use right kind of assessments to hire right candidates. There are companies that specialize in assessments to help employers hire better talent and for candidates to shine out in the crowd. [ HackerTrail is one of them 🙂 .]

Interestingly, the more senior the role, more likely an employer is to use an assessment. The tools vary from aptitude and personality tests to coding challenges to business scenario cases. Some assessments are in the form of challenges / games to make them fun.

Here is a very interesting article from ‘Harvard Business Review’ on how to Ace the Assessments and use them as an opportunity to shine.

Do let us know if you liked reading it and leave all your questions in the comments.