Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Whole Foods’ Global Talent Recruiter Andres Traslavina

Whole Foods’ Global Talent Recruiter Andres Traslavina

About 30 recruiters gathered on the 17th floor of the Hyatt Tuesday evening for the HackerRank second annual Re-engineer event focusing on improving tech recruiting outcomes.

HackerRank representatives talked about their platform that replaces job fairs with hackathons and code sprints. And Whole Foods’ Global Talent Recruiter Andres Traslavina gave a keynote about connecting with work that reflects your life’s purpose. But the recruiters present still seemed convinced that the most effective way to bring in talent was to pay employees to refer their friends.

According to the Chamber of Commerce, Austin has roughly 7,000 unfilled IT jobs. One strategy to fill them is to sponsor a code sprint, where hiring companies have hackers compete to solve engineering problems online and then use the results to choose people to recruit. Founded in 2012, HackerRank provides these code sprints for various skill levels and in various languages. There’s a game element, including leaderboards, for the million plus hackers the company says have joined.

HackerRank lists among its customers Facebook, Yelp and Evernote and contends it reduces the time to hire by 50 percent to 80 percent.

Eric Anderson, Austin sales manager of Jobvite said company’s research shows nearly 70 percent of STEM job seekers use Facebook compared to 40 percent on LinkedIn and having a mobile optimized engagement experience helps elevate a company’s brand in the eyes of engineers. He also said 40 percent of STEM employees come into a company through referrals.

But Anderson, like most of those present suggested referral bonuses. “The company needs to really push out those referral bonuses,” he said. “There are things you can do to dangle a carrot….You should get employees engaged early on and use it so that your job postings go out to their networks automatically.”

Whole Foods Traslavina talked about how he moved from a job that was just about money to a calling when he signed on to Whole Foods. He admits that the Whole Foods hiring process is arduous, involving an interview process with a panel of 10-to-20 executives. For Whole Foods, the three questions are:

Can you do the job?

Why do you want to work at Whole Foods?

Will we enjoy working together?

Some people, he admitted, do drop off during the hiring process but Whole Foods considers that a positive kind of self-selection. Whole Foods also recruits by pushing out jobs on dedicated social networks frequented by the kinds of developers it is looking for, and through LinkedIn, he said. While many of the people he emails get bombarded with recruiters emails, Traslavina said Whole Foods’ brand is so positive people generally respond right away.

The event included a workshop in which teams were charged to identify their chief obstacles to sourcing and recruiting the talent they needed and coming up with a product or strategy to overcome those obstacles.

Strategies included:

• A platform with predictive analytics that monitored signs that a person was getting ready to change jobs, such as updating a LinkedIn profile and targeted that person with interesting and engaging content about the recruiting company on channels such as YouTube.

• Sharing resources—what one participant called “black market recruiting” such that if one candidate didn’t fit a particular position recruiters passed that candidate’s information on to other recruiters.

• Having parties and upping financial incentives to get employees reaching out to their friends, especially if they have contacts with people involved in events like the International Math Olympiad.

The event concluded with a panel in which various companies discussed how they used HackerRank.