Hack to Hire: The Ultimate Job Interview

Dell Technologies has embraced “Industry 4.0” by leading the way in digital transformation through modernization, user centric design and pivotal methodologies. However a process alone cannot drive a transformation, the change needs to be embedded culturally where technology is in the heart of every process, program, action, including hiring. Enter, “Hack-to-Hire” a 2 day mass hackathon based hiring event where students are holistically assessed for their technical prowess, business judgment, disposition and design thinking.

The preparation for “Hack-to-Hire” begins a month before the event when the leaders from the Dell Digital team prepare real business problems at Dell, these are shared with the students one week prior to the event with elicitation from the problem owner. They are also inducted into pair programming, the methodology they will follow during the hackathon. The faculty receives special mentoring on the problem statements so they may provide guidance to the students during the week. The students are allowed to research, collect data, design the architecture, however they have just one rule – NO CODING!

On day 1 of the event students are gathered in groups of four, receive a short briefing on the problem, pair programing and divulge to code! Eight hours of intense coding through test driven development TDD is closely assessed and mentored by the leader. As these talented young people showcase their teamwork and technical expertise, leaders from the Dell Digital team take time to monitor, guide and take note of standout behaviors. The students are asked to storyboard, perform user interviews, build scrum boards, pair program and code. It’s usually an intense, real time, think on your feet kind of day! The combination of teamwork, continuous development, problem-solving and innovation captures the spirit of the Dell way. The leaders follow pair programming too by reviewing groups working on other problems. Day 2 is a calmer day where students make their final presentation of their solutions to all panelists, here they are assessed on their communication, presentation, consultation and executive presence.

The students are high-spirited as they see all their lives academic learning unfolding to solving real business problems. The mentors are energized by the student’s passion and the event’s ability to assess the candidate holistically. Everyone has a great experience and leaves with a stronger understanding of Dell, and its value of learning and development programs. The event concludes with winners of the hackathon and those who win the opportunity for a job at Dell, mind you both are not the same. In all cases only select students from each groups are offered a position at Dell.

“Hack-to-Hire gives the leaders the advantage of time spent with the students to assess both their skills and competency, it brings out their suitability to the Dell culture code and how they thrive in pair programming” says Pradeep Mishra, Director Dell Digital – “The bonus is the learning, for the students and the leaders.”

This post is co-authored by Sachin Sabyasachi.

Sachin Sabyasachi has been with Dell since 1.5 years. He has 13+ years diverse experience in HR, Talent Acquisition & University Relations being his passion. Stakeholder management, Team management, Employer branding, Social media Recruiting & Process improvements has kept him engaged at his work.

About the Author: Anushka Bose

Anushka Bose leads the APJ talent team for Dell Digital focusing on career development, diversity, leadership programs and university relationship. She is highly passionate about people development and throughout her 12 year career at Dell has successfully curated and delivered several people programs. Her goal is to build a work environment where everyone can find their passion and thrive in their careers at Dell Digital.