Hackathons becoming a tool to hire top talent

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on December 10, 2018

Organisations use hackathons for product innovation and new ideas: Mettl survey

Close on the heels of global tech companies such as Facebook and Microsoft, Indian companies are increasingly looking at hackathons to hire top talent. Smaller organisations appear to be increasingly using hackathons as opposed to larger organisations, a new study has found.

Hackathons are events where people from different backgrounds such as designers, project managers and coders meet and aim to solve various problems.

Talent assessment company Mettl conducted a survey across 200+ organisations from major industries and found that 23 per cent smaller companies appear to be increasingly using hackathons for product innovation, using the platform to generate and evaluate new ideas.

Hackathons have traditionally been used by multinationals and bigger companies for marketing efforts in order to ensure that they stand out among their competitors. Though hackathons occupy an indispensable position for many tech companies, their role appears to have evolved in different ways for smaller firms.

A common trend that Mettl observed throughout the survey is a growing use of hackathons by SMEs as a tool to acquire talent. In the past, these events were organised solely for the coder community, however, this is no longer the case.

Themes and Topics

The report observes that with each passing year, organisations are experimenting with themes and topics for these events to target a more diverse group of participants, which is ensuring that hackathons are increasingly undergoing a shift from being dominated by ‘coding challenges’ to adopting new themes such as multi-discipline, business situation, Machine Learning and app development.

Hackathons are generally popular amongst graduates as they give rise to the perfect opportunity for creative and technical minds to come together to build something new. These events tend to attract the new-age millennial who is looking for a chance to work with a dynamic organisation.

The report found that on an average, organisations spend up to ₹8.55 lakh on a hackathon in a year, with some 42 per cent organisations using ‘Quality of Ideas and Innovations’ as an ROI metric for their hackathon events.

Siddhartha Gupta, Chief Revenue Officer, Mercer — Mettl, says hackathons are emerging new-age tools for branding, hiring, employee engagement or innovation, and are seeing increasing acceptance from organisations beyond the IT industry.

The report noted that the use of hackathons across industries such as technology and IT, manufacturing, retail and consumer durables, and healthcare and pharma is growing steadily, with 42 per cent organisations conducting such events at least once a year.

Powerful branding tool

Pointing to an increase of 30 per cent in the number of hackathons conducted in 2017, as compared to 2016, the report showed how hackathons are being recognised as a powerful branding tool with 30 per cent of the organisations surveyed revealing they have used such events to amplify brand awareness.

Published on December 10, 2018

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