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How to reverse-engineer finding elite tech talent

Sharon Florentine | Oct. 2, 2015
What if you could pinpoint the characteristics that make your top talent so good, and use that info to identify new recruits? Online social learning and collaboration platform Piazza is rolling out a new feature set that it claims allows you to do just that.

piazza diversity hiring

Have you ever wished you could clone your best employees? Or wished you could identify exactly what makes them tick so that your next recruiting push would be a guaranteed success?

Online learning and collaboration platform Piazza is rolling out a new feature set that it says lets recruiters, hiring managers and member companies do just that -- identify the characteristics that set your top talent apart and use those to select potential candidates.

More of the same

When Piazza's management team asked their clients what they could do to improve the online social learning and collaboration platform, the answer was a bit surprising.

"Many of our clients said, 'We want to find more students like the ones we have. We hired Jane Smith, and she's great. So we want you to help us figure out what made her so great so we can find more Jane Smiths'," says Jessica Gilmartin, COO of Piazza.

Piazza was founded in 2009 as an online social learning and collaboration platform for STEM students, and in 2013 was expanded to include Piazza Careers, which allows member companies to search for promising STEM and computer science talent, with a focus on female tech talent. The Piazza Careers platform is optional for students, but those who choose to use it in their job search can upload resumes, work samples and show off their coding skills to potential employers.

"Piazza Careers is specifically targeted at helping proactive, progressive and innovative companies target female tech talent. We believe much of the 'skills gap' and diversity issues companies are facing are pipeline issues, and we can help address that -- there are approximately 60,000 female computer science students using the platform," Gilmartin says. Because Piazza's platform includes extensive user data and information about courses, projects and achievements, it provides an in-depth look at a candidate's skills, knowledge and experience companies can use to vet talent.

'I know it when I see it'

"When you're a company hiring, it can be tough to quantify what makes a great hire. But if you can select characteristics and skills based on a successful hire you've already made, then 'I know it when I see it' suddenly becomes 'I know exactly what I'm looking for'," says Gilmartin.

Data-based decision making

And what are companies looking for? That's unique to each company, and depends on factors like industry, competitive environment and technology stack, among others. Because Piazza provides at least 25 data points for each student subscribed, recruiters and hiring managers can filter those to focus on exactly what they want and need to fit available roles within their organization.


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