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Could this startups customized coding challenges upend the way companies find programming talent?
Active programmers dont move around with resumes. A developer will ask you, Whats your GitHub profile or Whats your StackOverflow profileand in a year from now, HackerRank will be like that, Ravinsakar says. The value of resumes is starting to go down. I feel like it will almost be dead in five to 10 years.
Is this the future of talent-finding, or just a gimmick?
Companies save anywhere from 70 to 80 recruiting hours with every hire they make, says HackerRank founder Vivek Ravinsakar. So if they make 10 hires, thats like giving back a thousand hours to the company.
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Ravinsakar thinks this isnt just how companies can reach out to skilled programmersits how companies should be talking to skilled programmers.
The weakness is when you focus too much on a particular piece or particular typelike if you made a challenge really math-intensive or had an obscure theory, like graph theory. Even a really smart programmer can get knocked out, Ravinsakar says. We have to figure out a way that is really representative of a good programmer in a company and keep iterating on challenges until we end up with a really good conversion.
HackerRank is an intersection of programming and recruitingsomething that programmers really love, which is solving challenges, and something companies love, because theyre able to objectively measure whos really good, Ravinsakar says.
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Ravinsakar admits that the challenges can rely on niche knowledge and skilled programmers without it can be eliminated.
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The idea for a LinkedIn-style network comes from the companys experience with the HackerRankX enterprise tool. With HackerRankX, companies can create custom programming challenges for their clients, replacing the inefficient first-round phone interview by screening for applicants with the right skills.Evernotes Coding Challenge, for example, is powered by HackerRanks tech.
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Thelist of companiesusing HackerRankX is an endorsement in itself, including Square, Evernote, Palantir, Quora, FireEye, Adobe, and even the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz.
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With a scarcity of programmers for hire, employers in need have turned to challenge-based hiring platforms likeHackerRankX, which weed out candidates with coding challenges. Now after receiving $9.2M in series B funding, HackerRank thinks it can gamify the hacker-hiring process on a grand scalebecoming a LinkedIn-style hub for programmers in the process.
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Where GitHub and StackOverflow represent particular projects and code snippets, HackerRank wants its programmer profiles to display raw coding and problem-solving skills. As HackerRank was already a social platform with programming challenges, theyve built up a large library of challenges already. And since challenge winners are allowed to propose their own challenges, which HackerRank internally fine-tunes, the library keeps growing. Ravinsakar figures that 70% of HackerRanks programming challenges are crowdsourced.
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This story contains an interview with HackerRank founder Vivek Ravinsakar.
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Like every startup, HackerRank itself is an iteration of an ideain this case, as an advisory service for programmers applying to big tech gigs. But since many of their customers were broke students, HackerRank stumbled for two years until it pivoted over a year ago to focus on HackerRankX. The recruiting tool still isnt profitable enough to sustain the company. But the programmer profile space is too ripe for Ravinsakar to pass up, and much of that $9.2M of investment will go to growth, aiming to double HackerRanks 50-person team by the end of the year.
Programmers might be suspicious of such a magic bullet method of mining for programming talent. After all, there are many expertise domainsbut HackerRank, a sort of digital coding jam studio with a high-score leaderboard, aims to have challenges for many corners of computer science, from machine learning to artificial intelligence.
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