Deloitte adopts hackathon approach for talent recruitment in China

26 October 2018 3 min. read

Deloitte in China has adopted a new ‘hackathon’ approach for the firm’s latest round of recruiting, with plans to fill 300 new positions this year.

While Deloitte was recently named among the globe’s top five most attractive employers in a survey of business and IT/Engineering graduates including those from China, and boasts a workforce of some 286,000 employees around the world, the biggest of the Big Four hasn’t rested on its laurels – remaining at the forefront of recruitment strategy in an effort to lure the brightest young talent in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Among the firm’s innovations; ‘extreme recruiting’ – a term which covers a proactive and streamlined approach across the recruitment process, particularly for tech hires, and begins with Deloitte recruiters going directly to talent hot-spots such as hackathons: ‘hacking the hackathons’, as one employee put it. The aim is attract a wider pool of talent from non-traditional backgrounds – a growing focus for many of the world’s biggest consulting firms.

Now the China branch of Deloitte, which recently merged with the firm’s other Asia Pacific entities into a single operational unit – announcing a planned $321 million across the combined geographies for the training and recruitment of talent – has scrapped its own traditional interview process for its latest employment round, opting for a hackathon in place of the previous preference for group discussions.Deloitte adopts hackathon approach for talent recruitment in China

According to Chinese-language report published on (the Hong Kong Economic Times’ online portal), Deloitte’s Asia Pacific human capital consulting leader Jungle Wong said the aim was to uncover graduates who have a cognition of science and technology and dare to propose innovative ideas, with the interviews, which were divided into aptitude tests and group programming marathons designed to stimulate multi-angle and flexible thinking.

With reported plans to recruit nearly 300 new staff members locally this year, the recruitment process began through online applications in August with successful candidates to interview this month. For the interview round, applicants are divided into groups of a half a dozen or so for a less formal challenge, with several impediments thrown in their way to test creativity, openness and creative lateral thinking along with their depth of knowledge on emerging technology trends.

As part of the challenge, the groups have to uncover clues and find solutions from incomplete information, in mimicry of what Deloitte says is a common scenario at the firm, where clients will often fail to give full details or issue clear instructions. Whereas the former group discussions might have inordinately favoured those more eloquent, the new approach as explained by Wong better measures communication strategies a candidate’s flexibility and ability to adapt to the unknown – ever more crucial in a rapidly evolving digital business landscape.