CodeFights

Coding Games

Recruiting is very very very broken. The way recruiting is done in 98% of cases, people look at your pedigree…. to even give you a chance for an interview, he said. But in reality those are just proxies for skill.

Sloyan said its difficult to facilitate cross-border hiring because of restrictive visa systems. But sometimes things fall into place.

The key to this career upgrade and cross-country move? CodeFights, an online game that offers programmers the chance to improve their skills and get noticed by Silicon Valley titans likeUberandDropbox.

It took less than three months for an online coding game to transform James Johnstons life.

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San Francisco-based CodeFights has amassed 500,000 registered users since launching in 2014. Players use the free platform to compete in different coding challenges. The best of the best are cherry-picked for job opportunities and can be introduced to as many as 20 prospective employers. Dozens of players scored jobs in the last month alone, according to the company.

It was very quick progression, he said. I didnt really know anyone in the Bay Area to network with. And theres a lot more opportunity out here … [CodeFights was] able to help me with that because I didnt need to network to get a job.

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Sloyan told CNNMoney that about 20% of people who are connected with companies secure a new job.

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Grossart also noted that the platform allows her to reach candidates from cities outside theSilicon Valley bubble.

First published November 17, 2016: 9:02 AM ET

[CodeFights is] really getting a widespread group of talent from across the country that we just would not be getting otherwise, she said.

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Johnston told CNNMoney he discovered the game through aFacebook adin June.

After two nights of playing coding challenges, Johnston got a pop-up message on his screen asking if he was interested in new job opportunities. This was followed by a call with CodeFights founder and CEO, Tigran Sloyan, to discuss potential jobs.

Sloyan says his platform helps bring in morediverse candidates.

Thats crazy, Grossart told CNNMoney. Only interviewing 15 people and getting two hires out of it… is a really high number.

CodeFights charges companies a fee thats equivalent to 15% of the annual salary of a new employee hired through the platform. So if an employee negotiates a salary worth $100,000 per year, CodeFights collects a $15,000 fee from the firm.

Johnston, 31, was designing software for orthodontists and living in Chattanooga, Tennessee, when he landed a better-paid software engineering job in Silicon Valley at amajor tech startup.

Youve already proven that youre awesome. Afterward, its just about getting introduced to companies, the CEO said, noting that 200 firms now use his platform to find new recruits.

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A flurry of interviews with about half a dozen companies followed, leading him to a new role at a firm called Thumbtack, astartup thats valued at more than $1 billion. He started in September, and got a stake in the business too.

I was kind of intrigued and thought it was a fun little activity, he said.

Investors are also hoping for a good return on investment. The company announced Thursday its raised a further $10 million to finance its expansion.

Kelly Grossart, the leading recruitment manager atEvernote, has been using the CodeFights platform since August and has already hired two new recruits.

Case in point: the company recently helped a transgender woman from Des Moines, Iowa, secure a job in Boston. And it set up a multilingual worker in Egypt with a new job at a tech startup in Mexico.

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Their return on investment is a lot better with CodeFights since these people are already vetted for their technical skills, he said.

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