• A software engineering role in the US drew 3,367 applicants.
  • Recruiter Lusely Martinez used an application tracking system and manual checks to cut candidates.
  • Those who made the cut were honest and understood the position's needs, Martinez said.

It took Lusely Martinez and her team 50 days to fill a software engineering role for a global tech company.

The role attracted 3,360 applicants and seven referrals, she wrote in a LinkedIn post. It meant that Martinez had a big job on her hands to filter the best candidate.

"This role was for a level three software engineer, with full-stack expertise and knowledge of specific programming languages," Martinez told Business Insider. "While we encourage those of different backgrounds that do not fit all the criteria to apply, there are specific non-negotiable factors."

Martinez spoke to BI about the behind-the-scenes of tech recruiting and how she narrowed down her list at every stage of the application process.


The first few cuts were relatively easy. Martinez used an applicant tracking software to screen out candidates who didn't meet the job's basic requirements.

To start, 1,662 applicants weren't located in any of the listed hiring locations. A further 739 applicants required visa support.

Next, she cut 763 candidates because they did not meet the basic skills and experience needed for the role.

What she looks for in profiles

The next step took longer. Martinez manually reviewed one-third of the applications — she spent one to two hours every week looking through résumés as they came in.

"First, I look to ensure they have been truthful regarding their eligibility for the role through research: consistency, the dates they've worked, and type of work done," she said. "I check social media."

Martinez said it's not just about the title. She looks at the impact of contributions and the hard skills necessary for the role.

She also looks at how long people have been at their past roles.

"Ideally we see some longer term gigs, but with the pandemic, the last four years are likely to have gaps. That's okay," she said. But she hopes to see those gaps be filled with upskilling efforts, projects or volunteer work.

Candidates that made the cut had these things in common: They met the basic criteria, quantified their contributions, and had some bonus points like experience building software applications or a specific programming language.

She shortlisted 124 résumés for the hiring manager.

Recruiter screening call

The hiring manager selected 43 candidates for a recruiter screen 1.28% of the total applicants.

The next step, a recruiter screening phone call, dug into many of the same things she looked for in the profile review.

"I verify the facts, ensure they are able to communicate effectively," Martinez said.

Those who made this cut shared some traits: They were honest, they had carefully read the listing to ensure they were a good fit, they understood the position's needs, and their responses aligned with their written application.

The more successful candidates were "folks that can provide examples rather than speak in generalities about their experience."

Martinez said they were also concise about their career goals and projects they are excited to work on.

The recruiter picked 21 people who interviewed with the hiring manager.

Last few steps

The hiring team, which includes hiring managers and recruiters, meets before starting interviews to agree on what they're looking for. Each person selects a few skills and designs questions to evaluate these, Martinez explained.

After the hiring manager interview, 10 people were cut — leaving 11 to do a take-home evaluation to gauge proficiency with technologies required for the job. Nine of them passed and were asked to do a technical interview.

Six people successfully completed the technical round and were invited for a culture interview.

"We consider all available information when making a final decision, marking our pros and cons within scorecards," Martinez said.

The offer was extended to one applicant 50 days after the job was first posted.

Be sure you meet most of the qualifications

With the large volume of applicants for each role posted online, Martinez shared her top tips for those looking to land a new job.

"Do your due diligence: read the job posting thoroughly before applying to ensure you are a good match," she said. "You should meet all eligibility requirements, 90% of the qualifications, plus some nice-to-haves."

She also said that the job search process can be long and exhausting.

"The job search is a marathon, not a race," she said. "Take the time to learn how to succeed and improve at each stage."

Read the original article on Business Insider