What companies are actually "fixing hiring" and what are the largest problems you still see in recruiting today?
If you're just coming out of college then I think Triplebyte is a decent value to get your foot in the door someplace popular that looks good on a resume, but once you have some experience you run into the same problem that you get with all recruiters which is that they don't truly understand either the candidate or the role, resulting in miscommunication on both sides.
Personally I think unless you are a name brand with dozens to hundreds of applications coming in for every role every day, there is no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and doing the recruiting yourself. When candidates talk to hiring managers directly, the signal to noise ratio is an order of magnitude higher for both sides. As an engineering leader, doing hands-on sourcing is a super power with huge opportunity for arbitrage in a massively competitive market.
I was introduced to it by this good piece on Medium:
(I'd appreciate if anyone posted links they like better).
I'm not sure I understand it applying in this case. Bad candidates are always looking for a job, but good candidates rarely need to look for a job. (So, job applicants are largely lemons). Good companies have lower turnover, so rarely need the positions filled?
There are _many_ problems in recruiting, but three things really bothered me during my search:
1. Information asymmetry. Job seekers should know more about the people at and day-to-day practices of a company before committing to their long and exhausting interview process. Often times this information is buried under cover letters, applications, phone screens, take-home tests, and hours of onsite interviews. The amount of time/energy it takes for a job seeker to get to the most important information means that they can only really "get to know" a handful of companies.
2. Incentive misalignment. Another big problem in recruiting is having placement fees. If a recruiter's goal is to get me to join a company just long enough to hit the 90-day mark (when they get paid) but it's actually a bad fit, I lose and so does my employer. The incentives are misaligned between (third-party) recruiters, candidates, and employers when there are contingency fees.
3. Lack of exposure to options. When you don't know what your options are, it's easy to settle. It often takes people 3, 4, 5 jobs to figure out what it is they really care about and want from their employer / team / work. Unfortunately, this can take years to figure out for yourself. Not knowing what you want means that you'll do a worser job of choosing the right company to join. We would all do better if we had more exposure to the different ways different teams operate.
I ended up too frustrated w/ my job search to actually get a job. I instead founded Key Values (https://www.keyvalues.com) which solves for the three issues above and provides a way for software engineers to find teams that share their values.
The most talented and competent people will still perform poorly if they're unhappy / uninspired. That junior dev that you took a chance on will blossom if they have the right support and environment.
Value alignment is everything.
If you're a recruiter, by the time you actually get to talk to a candidate, you're tired of screening and most of the time you do a half-assed call.
Plus it boggles my mind how very very few companies train the recruiters in understanding the technologies they have in their stack.
There are a lot of factors that add an incredible amount of friction and make it a very asymmetric process (as other have said above):
• plain human error
• job specifications with boilerplate text not being clear on what the role actually does
• often times the people doing the first screening don’t have a technical background
• resumes come in all shapes and formats, so it’s difficult to efficiently read them
And because of that asymmetry and supply-demand ratio, it’s actually quite hard to hire software developers that are suited to a company, tech environment & business needs.
(disclaimer, I work at WorksHub)
The way we're trying to solve the issue at WorksHub is by trying to get companies to open-source same part of their code-base so that a developer could submit a few PRs during the interviewing process.
This solves the issue of irrelevant technical interviews, gives an idea of how your coding environment will be right off the bat.
Basically the thing is to do as much of the process as possible using only tech and then leave the last part for the actual human interaction.
But I like the idea of the opposite approach — forcing companies to qualify themselves to shed some light on what it'd be like to work there without having to go through the whole interview process first.
I'd like to ad that As a new grad, the website helped me a lot: it gave names to ideas I had floating in my head about what I was looking for, and it made me more confident in telling companies what I wanted.
Just give me some bugs to fix for the first month or two. I need to learn your code and technologies involved, all while setting up my HR/benefits, learning the team and the facilities... You can ask me hard questions, but keep in mind my knowledge of your code is weak. I'm not ready to make proposals when I don't even know what your problems are or what is important to the stakeholders.
Also, I think I messed up and failed to fully vet the job I signed up for. I was so focused on getting a job in the valley that I let my standards drop. Now I'm at a job where I feel I am a poor fit. I'm not sure I'll last a year(my choice, I think), and after having just worked another job for a year, I think it's not going to look great when I try to find a new job. I'm thinking of just going back to contracting. I'm not cut out for big company politics. I just want to make cool shit.
Disclaimer: I work at works-hub.com. I don't want to make a sales pitch, but I'll just say I think we're an exception to that norm.
Not taking a go at you. These are seriously things I think about and was wondering if you had thought about them too :-)
I mostly evaluate similarity in terms of responsibility (both tech-wise and human-wise), which yes, is very difficult to compare across jobs. Especially considering that jobs often morph pretty quickly after day one.
In the end, I go for the jobs that sound interesting and do my best to negotiate.
Speaking as a manager, I've seen 2x differences in comp for the same position and relative experience, at the same company.
We made many mistakes, but the biggest one was to assume that the recruitment decision makers in medium-size businesses are interested in the hiring process. That's not the case. We had to realise, for these internal recruiters hiring is a pain, an extra mile above their day-to-day responsibilities. Hence they hire recruiters. You can't apply ML on the behaviour and preference of the recruiter and expect an optimal output for someone else.
When I'm in a lead role or participate in hiring I'm definitely interested in the hiring process. I'm not sure how setting up a job profile (i.e. answering qualitative questions about what I value, what the team values, etc) would be much more work than writing the job description in the first place. I suspect I'm not fully understanding your statement though.
Dating websites are actually really good at matching people, and recruiters can learn a lot from them.
In my view the only companies that are innovating are smaller firms and solo recruiters/consultants who have built up a high level of domain knowledge. This isn't so much innovation as just working well and consistently providing good results.
This isn't to say all small recruiting firms are wonderkins. But the good ones will not only find you good candidates but help consult and guide you where appropriate (this is especially important for startups).
Source: SWE at a small SF based recruiting co. which focuses exclusively on Start-up sales positions. Have been working on modernizing our software stack and have done a lot of competitive analysis over the past year. The people I work with will routinely school me on startups (i'll attempt to show them a new product after reading about its launch on HN and they'll tell me they knew about it two weeks ago).
From what other people comment here and my own opinion, the filtering that most job boards use are complete garbage. Sometimes I want to search for a keyword, but I have never seen a single search where I can exclude a keyword. Or some implied tags just aren't used to help expand or narrow search results. And also PDF resumes just aren't able to be parsed correctly, even in very simple formats. But I would never be able to tell if it was parsed correctly as an applicant for some ATS systems because there's no feedback. As far as I'm aware, digital resumes should be in more use, but every ATS requires a new account and inputting the same information. Even when the company board listing is provided by the same company as another board listing! Workday is one example of that and it's infuriating!
And then there's the whole problem of HR people putting out the job listings. The horrible inaccuracy of some of them makes it really confusing as to what a company is actually looking for and if I would be a good fit.
Basically, I can't find what I want, I don't know what's happening, and I don't know what you want. And the best way to solve all of those is to 1) make better search tools, 2) give me more feedback and tell me when things go wrong instead of rejecting me outright for a software error, and 3) have the person in charge of a position write the job listing or talk to the candidate.
As the hiring manager, I wish I didn't have to deal with recruiters and their 20% fee. But sourcing candidates and reaching out to them is painful too. OTOH there is too much noise in applications that come through your job board/career page links. Using any of these platforms is a full-time job in itself. Sifting through dozens of profiles and reaching out individually is extremely time consuming.
As someone who had to look for a job, that sucked too. You either go to a recruiter who forces you into a bunch of interviews, or you apply cold.
Referrals definitely make it easier on both sides but you can't always rely on just that one channel.
What can materially improve the discovery process, on both the hired and hiring sides? I think about this often. How can talent find roles suited to it and vice versa? Wasn't technology going to make this a breeze?
At the end of the day, our goal is to create successful job placements. We've learned that there is surprisingly a lot of science in I/O psychology behind predicting job performance based on personality traits . We've been developing an assessment system with a behavioral psychologist to measure personality traits that could predict a successful job outcome. To be honest, I'm surprised this hasn't caught on with the recruiting industry already. It's been working out well for us and I would expect to see more of this across different industries in the future.
Hired, A-List, Vettery, Indeed Prime all fit in the same category. A market place for pre-filtered candidates with known expectations(salary range), Why more than one of these exist, I have no idea. There is nothing innovative in all these companies, just a fancy recruiting firm.
Triplebyte on the other hand definitely trying to change the Status Quo by letting candidates avoid multiple phone interviews. But while it works for limited set of candidates, scaling interviews while still maintaining quality is super tough. Beyond these, there are standard job boards and of course, LinkedIn for networking.
I see the traditional recruiting domain as the following parts:
1. Job discovery(job boards, search engine, distributions(aka zip recruiter).
2. ATS(Applicant tracking systems) which help companies manage interview process.
3. Screening and Preparation(Hackerrank, Leetcode etc)
A lot could be done in each of the following areas, but there's not much innovation so far.
But I've had to do a lot of hiring over the years for low skill labor work (think warehouse type jobs) using indeed.com, which constitutes a large majority of out-of-house hiring (about ~50% global average). I've been doing UX/UI case/workflow studies for years as the employer. At my current job, I've funneled and optimized the entire process using copy-paste templates and calendly links. What took me several hours takes a few minutes now.
On the other end I started to slowly transition into full time development. I've been running an experiment with linkedin on lead generation. My hypothesis is that linkedin's algorithm for showing which candidates show up on recruiter's pages is exactly the same as SEO. If anyone is interested I can provide more information.
Developers create their profile, solve problems and earn badges. GeekTrust ensures companies have to engage with only people who are good at coding and solving problems. Companies pitch to candidates and if both matches, the next level of interviews are done by the company. It's great for companies as it improves the top-of-the-funnel with high-quality candidates.
For candidates, it's using their core skills to market themselves, at their pace. There're people who slowly build their profile. They submit code, get helpful reviews to go further.
The difference between GeekTrust and other coding platforms is that they handle things well beyond just plain problem-solving. Things like great design, documenting etc.
As mentioned by others, we use HackerRank also to evaluate different aspects.
I have been on both sides using it for both recruiting and finding a job and I like it. The main problem as a candidate is that some companies still seem like they don't really care and just spam everyone with copy/paste templates but it was really nice to have some interesting companies apply to me.
As a recruiter I love it because it is easy to contact candidates but the main issue is lack of candidates. We have a shortage of developers to fill positions which is why Honeypot was started in the first place I believe.
How does using candidates time for coding exercises make them stand out"?
A lot of different products that you’ll see, that focus attention on sourcing candidates (or, solving “top of funnel” problems), are likely going to run into some of the same walls we always have. As appealing as these platforms might be, that offer a slightly more modern way of matching skills to jobs, at the end of the day they will still struggle to get things much better, for a couple of reasons:
1) We’re dealing with a finite pool of candidates, and a fairly limited pool of really qualified candidates (of course, this is subjective based on your company). So, all the awesome skills matching AI/Machine Learning, etc. in the world, isn’t going to create more people - you’ll likely still end up short.
2) Often, the very best candidates are well employed, or move from one job to another without ever hitting the open market, because they are well known and get recruited among their network. So, these platforms will often have a larger representation of less experience job seekers.
With all that said, we have had success with Hired! I think they have a high quality reputation with candidates and recruiters, and that goes a long way. Another product we’ve liked is Drafted - this looks at your employee’s networks, and then suggests people to your employees that they can refer. It’s just a nudge to encourage a referral - it’s been good.
I think that really, the most gains can come further into the process. Applying to a job (as candidate) and reviewing an application (as company) is fairly relatively easy and cheap (i.e. neither party has invested much time or attention). As you get further in the recruiting process, you’re investing more of yourself (as is the company), so it’s more important to get it right. Once you do find candidates that seem to be a strong potential fit, it’s even more crucial that the rest of the process is transparent, grounded in logic, and actually assures the the right match is being made.
We’ve chose to focus on designing a better technical interview at Karat, because of this. We do first round technical screens on behalf of companies, and we’ve built the infrastructure to support a more fair and data-driven process. The companies we work with realize that getting interviewing right takes a lot of time - and then having your engineers do all first rounds (on top of final rounds), also takes a lot of time. So, we build all the interview content in house, and then as candidates go from Karat, to the final round interviews at these companies, we track what happens closely - this allows us to more accurately assess who is likely to be a good fit in final rounds, and then we just continue calibrating that fit over time.
Why we think we’re “fixing” recruiting, is because we see the incredible amount of time lost, and poor matches made, when interviewing is done more arbitrarily, or in an ad hoc manner. By just applying consistent infrastructure, it cleans up a lot of things, and makes the process less painful for all involved. Finally, because our full focus is interviewing - we’re able to do things like offer interviews 24/7, give you the chance to redo your interview if the first one sucked, and invest in a ton of training for interviewers to provide a really great experience.
So - that's my thought - it's tough to fix a lot of these things through sourcing - the parts of the process where you’re developing a deeper relationship and investing more time are crucial to get right.
I think we can all honestly agree that recruiting/hiring will never be "solved", it will always be a laborious task if it's done right and that's simply because we're dealing with people, not data. No algorithm should ever direct your decisions about a human being, we're all too wildly unpredictable for that. No algorithm would have ever given Steve Jobs or Elon Musk a shot.
Sure, we can use tech to help us improve filtering, sourcing, automating, interviewing...to an extent.
At X-Team (my company), we've chosen to not only focus on using tech to improve all of those to help us be more efficient, but I think most importantly we've focused on the one thing no one really talks about: what happens after the hire.
Anyone can start one of these companies, make some decent tech to filter applicants, and then hand off a person to a company for a fee. Easy.
But providing people that will actually stick around after the handoff? Another beast entirely. We're providing X-Teamers, not people spit out of an algorithm on top of a database.
We're providing people who all share the same "keep moving forward" attitude, beliefs, values, people who are all motivated and rallied behind the same energy thanks to our engaging and energizing community experience (x-team.com/join for more on that). When your talent pool is unified and energized, you've changed the game because now it's not just about providing people quickly and accurately, it's about providing consistency among every hire, and you can only achieve that by continuing to invest in those people after the hire.
One example is how we give them all $2,500/year to spend on their passions and growth. TripleByte chucks them out the door and wishes them luck. We hang on to them, we send them around the world to our hackerhouse (x-outpost.com), we challenge them and motivate them (https://youtu.be/Th80vOGFvUE), we become their support arm that unifies them around meaning and energy.
As one client said: "I feel like X-Team shows a lot of love and in turn that gets brought back to our company. I think that they create this ecosystem of growth for the developers that as a company we can't really do."
So we think shaking up hiring isn't just about creating tech that increases efficiency. It's also about providing consistency, ensuring you can get the same level of quality every time you turn on the hiring machine and need a new hire; and since humans aren't machines, that's the biggest challenge of them all and the one we want to keep tackling. :)