When it comes to the IT industry, developers, programmers, designers and other tech specialists are in big demand. Numerous companies, across countless industries, are looking to engage deeper with their IT options, while those businesses that are already established seek the best talents to continue to thrive. If you work in such a role, you likely know just how in demand various skill sets are. In other words, there are plenty of possibilities out there, yet many developers often don’t push for these positions. Why?
In part, it’s because searching endless results of near-identical job descriptions is hardly appealing, and neither is repeating the same process over and over again. The traditional recruitment method is long, slow and, other than the chance of a job offer, probably has very little to offer you. While online recruitment as a whole has sped up this process, ChallengeRocket takes it a step further with Hackathons and coding challenges! Our approach to connecting top tech specialists with ideal companies involves a faster process that’s fun, engaging, encourages creativity and personal growth - all without leaving the house.
What are hackathons?
Hackathons are events that take place over a limited time, typically a day or two, and present a challenge, asking specialists to come up with a solution within a limited time. A complete product isn’t expected, but developers, designers and other specialists can all come together during such sprints to find viable, new solutions. The exact nature of hackathons can vary from event to event. Some may be individually driven, while others may encourage teamwork. Others may involve people from a range of skill sets, while others might hone down to particular specialities, coding languages or tools. It’s this versatility that makes hackathons very appealing - and why we’ve chosen to base our IT recruitment process around them!
We also run online code challenges, which squeeze the hackathon concept into a singular, online coding competition. Alongside traditional test questions, entrants are presented with a problem to solve via writing code directly on the ChallengeRocket platform.
How do they help with online IT recruitment?
As a developer, how much can you demonstrate your expertise through interviews? The best way to prove one’s ability to do something is to simply show it. Of course, recruiters often save such demos and tasks until the final recruitment stages - after hours of interviews - which can be frustrating, to say the least. Hackathons flip this idea on its head. With these events, you simply attend, take part and submit your final work. This way, your recruiter gets instant insight into your various strengths, while you also get the benefits of taking part (which we’ll discuss later). As for yourself, our events are designed to offer much more than job prospects. These challenges let you test your own skills, get results, meet others and engage in sectors of the industry your current area of work might not enable. Nobody leaves empty handed - the ability to grow, interactive and show your creative processes offer plenty of benefits in terms of personal growth.
As our CEO, Pawel Kwiatkowski believes: “The old methods don’t always work. At ChallengeRocket, we’ve all been through this old approach, so we make sure our events work for everyone. Employers get quick results and insights, while employees enjoy themselves and don’t feel like they’re wasting their time. Everyone lives happier.”
A modern approach
As we already mentioned, a generic job offer does little to attract attention amongst experienced, skilled developers and specialists. Hackathons represent a more modern approach. Skill based events put a greater focus on how you think, how you react and, ultimately, what you’re able to accomplish in a given period of time. These are the aspects that matter much more than how you’re able to convey yourself in the stress-induced conditions of an interview. Similarly, we find these events work significantly better within the world of online recruitment for IT based positions. Since you don’t need to leave your own home for most events, you can apply for the companies that you want to work for, rather than the ones that are easiest to get to for an interview day.
Test and develop your own skills
GA hackathon isn’t just a chance to impress a potential employer. It’s a chance for you, as a developer or tech specialist, to grow your own skills. The best challenges create unique and interesting tasks to stimulate your creativity and encourage you to push yourself, whether its further developing existing skills or improving in areas you are less familiar with. It's important to constantly develop your skills and learn new things to stay up to date with current recruitment trends. There are plenty of websites where you can take online programming tutorials, as an example learn to code on Gitconnected.
All of this means that, whatever happens in the wider recruitment process, you walk away with more experience. Combined with results and feedback, you get a near-instant tool for further growth. This is one of the biggest draws of our events - in fact, many take part just because it enables them to flex technical muscles that they don’t otherwise use in their existing roles.
According to our CTO, Tomasz Florczak: “A career in this industry is all about growth, whether it’s new technologies or simply improving your existing skills. You need to grab this opportunity anyway you can, but polite feedback from an interview just isn’t enough. Our recruitment solutions put you right at the centre of a challenge. Your experience, combined with our feedback, will give you a much clearer understanding of how you’re progressing.”
Online recruitment that’s fun & engaging
Waiting rooms, stereotypical questions and office procedures aren’t engaging. When you’re trying to demonstrate your capabilities and skills to a potential employer, this can be a challenge in itself when the respective company isn’t offering any potential for active, passionate engagement. However, if you relish a challenge and the joy of finding new solutions, taking things from a new approach or working with others to solve a common hurdle, hackathons are definitely for you! In our experience, this is one of the biggest advantages of online challenges and hackathons. Even senior developers will attend, just for the unique challenges that they offer. Whatever happens, you know you will enjoy yourself, which ultimately improves your overall performance! When you’re in the moment, you’re working hard but also having fun. You’re not trying to think about what the employer wants, you’re simply working to solve a problem, express your own ideas and explore new solutions. This is the engagement employers want to see. It doesn’t hurt if you enjoy yourself along the way. We often find developers jumping in and getting straight to work simply out of joy and passion. It’s much better, we think, than answering “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”.
Get to know companies better
Recruitment drives are not a one-way process. Just as employers are looking to gain an understanding of you as a candidate, you need to know as much about prospective companies as well. In formal interviews and processes, this is difficult to do. You only encounter HR staff and are bombarded with more questions than you’re able to give back. It’s a very one-way process. Hackathons, however, give you a greater taste of the company behind the event. The challenges and technologies such businesses focus on tells you a lot regarding their future direction, while an engaging and fun event showcases the passion behind the branding. In other words, if the event proves interesting for you, then there’s a greater chance that the company behind it also holds similar interest.
These events are often used to tackle challenges relating to the companies sector or niche. As an example, earlier this year we hosted a large scale event for NVIDIA, focusing on the topic of Artificial Intelligence in robotics, with applications for a range of fields!
Source: ChallengeRocket YouTube channel
IT recruitment processes that encourage creativity
Have you ever been asked to solve a puzzle in an interview? Perhaps it was an old, tired question that everybody knows, or perhaps it was simply so left of field you felt you were unable to truly demonstrate a logical thought process? Well, there’s a reason these techniques don’t work. A hackathon, on the other hand, is an event designed to focus in on your own key skills and present you with a relevant problem or task. Put simply, it’s the perfect opportunity to be creative! Hackathons are not about creating a fully realised, finished concept. They’re about finding a solution and testing to see if it works, advancing it as much as possible in the time given. It’s about approaching things from new angles and trying to find a working solution when other methods have failed. While this clearly lets IT recruiters learn a lot about you, it also lets you learn a lot about yourself. In addition to your own performance, you can see how others performed and learn new tricks, which only helps encourage further creativity!
A shorter online recruiting process
Another problem with the typical approach is time. Between applying for a role, hearing back from someone and attending various stages of interviews, the entire process can take weeks or even months. This is a problem for both sides: employers are wasting tens, if not hundreds, of hours to fill open tech positions, while employees have to wait weeks just to receive small updates. Fortunately, we’re aware of these issues and have streamlined our hackathons for effective online recruiting. Online code challenges take place over a short period of time and both employers and employees get results at the end, so they can at least get an initial view of what happened during the event.
Part of a community
Finally, if there’s one bonus that often gets overlooked, it’s that hackathons are group events. You can take part on your own, but you are also free to meet others, take part as teams and integrate more with the wider IT sector. This makes hackathons a great place to meet new friends that share your passion, network with people you might not otherwise meet and otherwise make your own connections. This is something few other events truly offer. Hackathons are engaging enough to draw in passionate people, but organised enough to avoid the overcrowded hustle and bustle of tech conferences. So, whether you’re looking to make new contacts, develop your own skills, or just want an IT recruitment approach that’s quicker, faster and actively engaging from start to finish, we offer intense hackathons that will put your abilities to the test.
Want to get started? Try one of our upcoming hackathons and coding challenges - you might just get your next big job in the process!