January 22, 2019

Prepare For HackerX With These Simple Tips

Hacker X developers interviewing

HackerX is a very busy event that holds great opportunities for both tech companies and job-seeking developers. It’s essentially speed dating for interviewing. We were lucky enough to be able to host the HackerX here at ActivTrak. It was an excellent opportunity. We met many incredible people and were able to increase our brand exposure.

Through its fast-paced environment, candidates have a minimal window of time to get to know the company and vice-versa. This tight window creates a situation in which both parties must focus only on the most critical talking points during the interview. Roughly 50-100 potential employees looking for a new position come to HackerX to meet with different organizations. Developers jump from booth to booth for quick five-minute interview windows. This frantic pace helps both parties get to the core of what exactly they want to learn about each other and what they need.

With so many qualified candidates, it can be easy for a company to get overwhelmed. ActivTrak front-end developer, Andrew Shaw, had this to say about HackerX: “Experience levels range from college grads to people who have been in the business for 25 years. So it’s interesting to see such a huge experience level discrepancy, and yet the people doing the interviews are looking for that range of people.”

We learned a ton from seeing the way this event works from the inside. Below, I’ve noted some key pieces of advice for both developers and employers.

speech at HackerX

A participant gives a speech at our HackerX event.

Tips for Developers

I wanted to know how the event was viewed from the eyes of a developer specifically. Andrew told us it’s an excellent experience and a great way to feel out the different types of organizations there are in the development world: “For some, there may be certain industries they have very little interest in. It’s very beneficial to learn about which sectors interest you. This experience means the candidate gains value from the event whether they go further in an interview process or come away with zero callbacks.”

HackerX provides a unique opportunity for developers to get a feel for the interview process of companies in different industries. Andrew added that the questions interviewers ask help you understand what the most important subject matter is for each specific industry.

It never hurts getting in front of a real person and working on your interview skills. Participating in multiple interviews in a single day is the perfect opportunity to practice. Also, learning which interview questions you don’t have the answers to reveals your weaknesses. You’ll learn how to prepare and have answers ready for your next interview.

hackerx interviers at activtrak

A company interviews a developer at our HackerX.

Tips for Employers

For companies participating in an event like HackerX, I have some advice to offer based on my observations:

First off, I recommend having a good idea of who or what you’re looking for. It becomes easy to talk to someone and become intrigued thinking, “Hey, what would happen if we added this person or that person.” And with so many people coming through to interview, you can get bogged down in wondering how all of these intriguing people can fit into your company.

It’s very important to remember that it’s not just you talking. The candidates are just as much part of the conversation. They’re trying to learn about who your company is and what your company does. You’re trying to understand if they have the skills your company requires. If you split that time up evenly, it’s only two and a half minutes apiece. That’s why a well-refined preparation process is so essential. Know who and what you’re looking for and define the kind of questions you need to ask. Do this, and you’ll be better informed when deciding who you want to follow up with after that event.

Even if you come away without a single new hire, a company can still benefit from HackerX. In our case, we didn’t end up hiring anyone, but we exposed related professionals to our brand. Anyone can learn and grow from an event like HackerX if you come into it with a plan.

Want to join the ActivTrak team? We’re Hiring!

No matter the outcome, your company will have influenced a decent number of people by the end of the day. If you’re prepared and represent your company well, you’ll strengthen your brand and make your business a desirable place to work.

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