This post is mainly to give students some updates about the current campus season.
While our page dedicated to campus hiring answers a few questions, we would like to share a few more details that hopefully will resolve some concerns students have.
Number of Openings
Last week alone, we hired 15 students. Since students are connected across colleges and universities, there are speculations that job openings at rtCamp are about to end.
While we got off to an excellent start, thanks to a new member of our team that we introduce later in this blog, our hiring target is 3x for this year.
We are looking for 80 engineers for WordPress training, 10 more for DevOps (position open), React, and Python. There are 10 more across non-coding such as technical writer, project coordinator, and business analyst. A total of 100 freshers.
This is in addition to 20 senior/lead WordPress, React, and Python engineers we are looking forward to hiring this year.
For 80 engineers for WordPress training, we have doubled the batches. Last year we had 2 batches (one each every 6 months). This year, we have one each quarter. The training program is still 6 months but as this time it’s 100% remote, we can run batches in parallel easily.
So there are enough openings. And these are minimum goals. We will be happy to go above and beyond these numbers if we come across Good People.
It is critical to understand how our campus hiring process has completely changed this year. Please refer to our campus portal for the latest information.
We have always believed that the application process should be as frictionless as possible. Earlier, we used to have a combination of application, assignment, quiz and interviews to be able to finally hire.
This year we neither have assignments nor quizzes, as we explained recently. Round-1 screening is mainly to filter and rank candidates for technical screening. It’s in Round-2 where we do actual technical interviews, irrespective of Round-1 results, a hiring decision is taken.
Since we get thousands of applications, Round-1 becomes critical. Because poor filtering can result in unqualified candidates making it to Round-2 eating into our limited human interview capacity.
Unfortunately, no matter how much we tweak our quizzes or assignments, cheating impacted our filtering quality negatively, to the point that our technical interview conversion ratio remained 1%.
So this year, we decided to ask students to just apply and allow an automated system to do the shortlisting.
Meet Chitragupta — Our new team member
Chitragupta (CG) is the new ranking algorithm we have developed to help us shortlist the applications.
A simplified version of what it does can be explained by this XKCD.
It helps keep track of your contributions to the open web, considers your work from GitHub and Stack Exchange network sites to assign a score. This score is used to select students for interview rounds directly.
In the coming months, it will also be able to understand patches you submit to open-source projects such as WordPress, Gutenberg, React, PHP, and a few more.
CG calculates rankings for all students into the processing stage every night. It ignores recent data, so no use of spamming those sites. 😛
At some point, we would like to make CG open source. For that, we need to ensure that we weigh past contributions heavily and even if somebody decides to game the system, they cannot manipulate ranking in a day or a week.
By the way, that open-source goal is one of the reasons we are talking about Chitragupta in this post. Let’s see how students try to game their GitHub and Stack Exchange accounts in the coming days! 🍿
So far, this has resulted in a good conversion rate of roughly 7%. Roughly 4x improvement from the previous year.
We want to tweak CG to the point that the technical interview conversion rate is at least 20%. This will be critical to our next year’s hiring goal, which is even more ambitious. The faster we can get to the candidates we would like to hire, the earlier we will be able to give clarity and closure to every candidate in the pipeline.
Meanwhile, please send suggestions for publicly available data points for our algorithm.
Reasons for delay in getting interview call
There are some actual delays and there are some perceived delays.
Just when we were planning to start our hiring round for the next batch, we heard from some colleges we work closely with that some bright students from last year’s batches found their offers revoked just before joining.
We received requests from 5 colleges and there were approx 500 students. So we dedicated the first two weeks of July interviewing these folks, and we managed to find some good talent for the current training batch that started on July 10, 2023.
This pool also gave us an opportunity to optimize Chitragupta.
It could be the recession or the perception of it, the removal of coding assignments and quizzes, or making the entire training program 100% remote, we can’t put a finger on the exact reason. But frankly, we were not anticipating such a massive turnout.
We had prepared our infrastructure to process 100,000 students to register in a year. Last week alone, some 20,000 students registered. We even hit the GitHub rate limits for API calls when trying to fetch data of so many students.
While the software side is capable of handling all the traffic, we have a small recruitment team that got overwhelmed by the volume of questions.
As we changed the way we hire again this year, students who look up secondary sources for information are reading the wrong information.
Last year we conducted our campus process college-wise. This year it’s open campus. So just because your classmate got an interview call, and you did not, it doesn’t mean rejection.
Between you and the student who sits next to you in the same classroom, there can be a thousand students sneaking in, as we have a common ranking system.
Until you receive an email from the recruitment team indicating the conclusion of your application, you are very much a part of the process. However, as we re-calculate ranking daily (using CG), the students who get into the system in the last 24 hours can outrank you. Apart from that, your ranking may get affected as we improve Chitragupta itself.
There was a UX glitch, where students think they have applied, but they tend to abandon the process after registering.
Compared to previous years, this time we are hiring for multiple roles through campus hiring. So after registration, you also need to click on one or more jobs you are interested in applying for.
Each job has a separate interview pipeline, so even if CG assigns you a score, unless you are part of a pipeline, your application won’t move forward.
To address this, we created a script that emailed 12000 such students. Some 3000 within 12 hours selected a job role.
We learned our UX lesson and hope to do better next time.
Reasons for long waiting time
While conversion is only 7%, the average interview time is going up. Earlier, disqualification used to take less than 10 minutes of interviewers’ time. This season, it’s doubled. Good for us eventually, as getting higher conversion with the bar moving up is time well spent.
But we understand that longer than expected waiting time can be frustrating. We also understand that you may have something else lined up that can make waiting impractical.
So for any reason, if you do not show up for a technical interview or decide to leave the waiting room, we will be happy to reschedule your interview in future batches.
While we add a rescheduling feature to our hiring platform, you can drop an email to email@example.com or reply to the previous email with your original interview slot. Please do not DM recruitment team members on social media. It might not be practical for them to check those accounts.
Also, please give the recruiting team at least 3 working days to reply.
Onboarding for hired candidates
First, congratulations on making it through the process! 🎉
We typically wait until all positions for a single training batch are filled before initiating onboarding formalities.
Rest assured that rtCamp has never revoked any single offer letter in our 14 years of existence.
What about recession?
Our hiring plan numbers have been worked out with our clients closely. We typically hire with at least a 2–3 years visibility of demand, and most importantly, cash in the bank. The latter ensures that we will be able to hold on to our team even if there is no work for at least a year.
When we say no work usually means no client work. At rtCamp, there is no typical bench time. If you are away from client work, you end up contributing more to open source projects, upskilling yourself, working on internal projects (e.g. Chitragupta).
In fact, if you have anyone in your network who has been affected by recent layoffs, please refer them to our regular career section.
If you have a fresher friend whose offer letter is revoked, you can invite them to participate in our open campus program. It’s open to everyone, including students who already graduated last year or even dropped out.