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My new company helps companies fill contract software positions. We're a lot like a recruiting or staffing agency, but trying to do it in a new, less spammy way. It's been REALLY frustrating working with hiring managers. I used to be one of these frustrating hiring managers so I guess I had it coming.

I had a hiring manager tell me that he can tell in the first 15 min of an interview if someone is a great engineer or not. I remember thinking the same thing. I felt like I had this special intuition that I had developed over the years. That's just total BS. There is NO WAY you can know that and you don't have a "special gift".

I don't have a great solution yet, but for senior engineers I've come to trust previous work experience the candidate has much more than my gut, my culture fit questions and my stupid coding questions. We had a hiring manager that was looking for a strong back end engineer turn down the engineer that built the search backend for yelp because he didn't like his answer to "how would you program the code in an elevator."

So my new company Facet (www.facetdev.com) is basically built around helping senior engineers, with strong experience building products at scale, find contract work.




I agree, a 60 minute judgment may just be a random gut feeling, but...

Your new service offers to connect ex-Google, ex-Facebook, ex-YadaYada with work. It’s all pedigree. Pedigree in my face, on page and in the website title tag.

And... I’m none of those.

So... I personally prefer a world in which I have a chance to be misjudged to a world where I have no chance at all. Maybe it’s just me though...

I think you got the observation right. The solution, no so much so.


Yeah, we're not trying to solve the hiring/interviewing problem yet. We've completely punted on that by only working with people that have a very specific type of experience. We know that leaves out a HUGE number of excellent engineers.

Right now we are focusing on a small niche to try and build a sustainable business. Then we'll have the resources and impact to solve the broader problem.


What problem did you attempt to solve? You are essentially offloading the vetting problem to all the companies who's former employees you work with. The only value I can see that you create is in liquidity in the market.

Sure, there's some benefit to solving market inefficiencies and making some money along the way, but don't pretend for a second that this isn't just another recruiting firm using pedigree as a proxy for actual skills.


I had written basically this same response fearing I was being overly judgemental before seeing your response but my gut was the same.

The posts read like sales pitches for someone solving a problem of making money for themselves by limiting their portfolio to candidates for whom $company had done the hard work of vetting by having previously hired.

Click-bait is a generous summation, I feel.


Some people find our service valuable. There are devs that would prefer to be freelance but don't want to spend the time doing sales to make sure they have consistent work.


> What problem did you attempt to solve?

Two problems.

1. Finding a senior freelancer is hard. I've been unhappy with sites like Toptal and Upwork. 2. Being a senior freelancer is hard. Finding work, getting paid. We offer services for freelancers to take care of that.

Some people find it valuable.


But someone hiring doesn't need you to use "has worked at a FAANG or similar" as a filtering mechanism, so that's not the value you can provide. Perhaps they'd have trouble finding someone who "has worked at a FAANG or similar" for a contract job without you, and that's it.


Senior software engineers are reluctant to leave their safe FTE jobs to go contract because they don't want to do sales, chase payments, manage a business, etc. We help contractors with that. Once a contractor goes full-time contract through Facet, we try to keep them always busy with as much work as they want. So yeah, it's hard to hire those types of devs on a single contract. It's also hard to find them on sites like Toptal or Upwork because they get priced out of the market.


That makes sense, it just means the brief post you linked here isn't really relevant to your firm's actual competencies and value provided, which are not really about filtering programmer abilities.


I read this in your HN profile: "Facet is a marketplace for hiring ex-Google, Netflix, Facebook, etc devs." Doesn't that mean you're excluding everyone who wasn't chosen by the very hiring managers you're criticizing, at an elite list of companies?


Also, for the curious, the post has had nearly 1.5M views so far. This is the first time I've ever experienced anything I've posted go viral. It's been interesting to watch the acceleration over the past few days.


Are you selling the technology here? I honestly thought that since you are dealing with humans dealing themselves with other humans, you ought to have some of those humans specialist (sociologist, psychologist and other humans specialist) to help you help them.

I have written in what I hope will come across a humorous, but this is extremely reminiscent of the early days of the 5 Eyes where the US was trying to sell this to its close western allies as a way to replace investment in human resources going forward by buying into technology. And surely the technology side is tremendous these days, but it hasn't eliminated the need for human resources. We are dealing with human through those systems (technological or organisational).


Thank you for this. You have the right problem statement. I hope you can solve it! I suspect it will be a tough battle, but it sounds like you have no illusions about that. Best of luck to you!




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