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A recruiter explained how she chose an engineering candidate from 3,367

It took Lusely Martinez and her team 50 days to land a software engineering position for a global technology company.

The position attracted 3,360 applicants and seven references, she wrote in a LinkedIn post. That meant Martinez had a lot of work to do to filter out the best candidate.

“This role was intended for a level three software engineer with comprehensive expertise and knowledge of specific programming languages,” Martinez told Business Insider. “While we encourage people from different backgrounds who do not meet all of 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 each stage of the application process.


The first cuts were relatively easy. Martinez used applicant tracking software to weed out applicants who did not meet basic job requirements.

For starters, 1,662 applicants were not located in any of the recruiting locations listed. Another 739 applicants required assistance in obtaining a visa.

Then, it removed 763 applicants because they did not have the basic skills and experience required for the position.

What she looks for in profiles

The next step took longer. Martinez manually reviewed a third of the applications — she spent one to two hours each week going through the resumes as they came in.

“First, I make sure they have been honest about their eligibility for the position through research: consistency, dates worked and type of work done,” she said. “I check social media.”

Martinez said it’s not just about the title. It examines the impact of contributions and the technical skills needed for the role.

It also looks at how long people have been in their previous positions.

“Ideally we are looking at longer-term concerts, but with the pandemic the last four years may be interrupted. That’s no big deal,” she said. But she hopes to see these gaps filled through development efforts, projects or volunteering.

The successful candidates had the following in common: they met the basic criteria, quantified their contributions, and had bonus points like experience creating software applications or a specific programming language.

She shortlisted 124 resumes for the hiring manager.

Recruiter selection call

The hiring manager selected 43 candidates for a recruitment exam 1.28% of the total candidates.

The next step, a recruiter screening phone call, explored many of the same elements she was looking for during the profile review.

“I check the facts, I make sure they are able to communicate effectively,” Martinez said.

Those who passed this selection shared certain traits: they were honest, they read the listing carefully to ensure they were a good fit, they understood the needs of the position, and their answers matched their written application.

The most successful candidates were “people who could provide examples rather than speaking generally about their experience.”

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

The recruiter selected 21 people who interviewed the hiring manager.

Final steps

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

After the interview with the hiring manager, 10 people were removed, leaving 11 to complete an at-home assessment to assess proficiency with the technologies required for the position. Nine of them passed and were invited for a technical interview.

Six people passed the technical test and were invited to a cultural interview.

“We take into account all available information when we make a final decision, marking our pros and cons in the dashboards,” Martinez said.

The offer was extended to a candidate 50 days after the position was first published.

Make sure you have most of the qualifications

Faced with the large number of candidates posted online for each position, Martinez shared his best advice for those looking to land a new job.

“Do your due diligence: Read the job posting carefully before applying to make sure you’re a good fit,” she said. “You must meet all eligibility requirements, 90% of qualifications, plus some assets.”

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

“Job searching is a marathon, not a race,” she said. “Take the time to learn how to succeed and improve at every step.”


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