Why we Turn Down over 89 Percent of Developers Who Apply

Charles Brian Quinn

3 min read

May 6, 2012

Why we Turn Down over 89 Percent of Developers Who Apply

It’s true. We’re hiring. Like a lot of technology companies. But, did you know that we are turning down many qualified applicants? Since we started tracking, only 11% of applicants who go through our hiring process become “Hired Full Time” employees of Highgroove. That means about 1 in 10 who apply receive an offer letter. Why is it we can–or rather why we have– to be so picky in who we hire?

Hiring is hard. Ask any growing company or entrepreneur (or a team of entrepreneuring developers) what’s their hardest challenge and they’ll tell you–it’s hiring the right people.

As President of Highgroove, my entire function is to put the right people on the bus, and that means both developers and clients. Many of our clients (and soon-to-be-clients) recognize that our secret sauce is what makes us awesome. It’s what makes us a tremendous value for smart CTOs looking to gain an edge in building ruby and rails backed web applications. So with all this demand for development, why are we turning folk down?

It really comes down to culture. Highgroove has a unique company culture that cannot be bent or compromised by bringing unqualified people on the team. It’s one of our competitive advantages, and to quote David Cummings:

Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur. Develop a strong corporate culture first and foremost.

The Top 3 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know.

This culture is impossible to summarize in a sentence or blurb, but is quantified in numerous ways from our “Bias Towards Action” mantra, to our values we reiterate consistently in our Highgroove Award, to even how we structure the company.

“Having a great company culture” isn’t even new in the management world. It’s not unique to technology companies, either. This is why we promote competitive events like a Latte Art Competition, hiring a personal trainer on-staff, and sponsoring a bicycle race/club team.

To make sure we’re a good fit, we use a variety of tools including a hiring process centered around Topgrading (Topgrading: The Secret to Hiring A Players), and hyper-focused on the culture fit equation. No, we don’t have any silly programming challenges that don’t mean anything to anyone except the interviewee trying to prove how smart they are.

So, it’s not enough for a potential candidate to be a programming “expert”–in fact, it’s not even mandatory that a candidate be a Ruby/Rails guru. We’re not hiring for that. We’re hiring professionals who fit our culture. If a candidate aligns with our company culture (and they’ll find out quickly in our extensive, in-depth hiring process), interviews with us, and makes it on-board, they’ll be doing Ruby and Rails their first day. And in our bootcamp, once on-board, they’ll learn more of the Right Way to do development, and be doing client work and internal work soon there after.

Are you curious if you would be a good fit at Highgroove? Check out our available positions and apply!

(Editor’s note: As commented below, CBQ fully explains the Highgroove hiring process in this How2Hire webinar with The Resumator.)

Image Credit: balloo from

Angie Terrell

Reviewer Big Nerd Ranch

Angie joined BNR in 2014 as a senior UX/UI designer. Just over a year later she became director of design and instruction leading a team of user experience and interface designers. All told, Angie has over 15 years of experience designing a wide array of user experiences

Speak with a Nerd

Schedule a call today! Our team of Nerds are ready to help

Let's Talk

Related Posts

We are ready to discuss your needs.

Not applicable? Click here to schedule a call.

Stay in Touch WITH Big Nerd Ranch News