Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Developer Auction out of beta; accepting developers from all backgrounds in US (developerauction.com)
116 points by allangrant on Jan 16, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 73 comments

I would recommend steering clear of these guys. They spammed me several times, at work, trying to get me to join their site. Although the founder professes they "are not your typical recruiter sending unsolicited emails".

On the surface it sounds like a good idea, but it is nothing more than lipstick on a pig, plain old recruiters. You're better off using multiple recruiters, who will expose you to many companies and get you the best possible price.

On the other side of the coin, I used them and got to interview with several awesome (and some not so awesome) companies, and all I had to do was post my resume and a picture.

That seemed like a pretty good deal to me, but then again, all the recruiters I know work for single companies. What's the best way to meet some that are more like "freelance" recruiters?

Not sure where you are based, but we are building something specifically for freelancers (London first) - check us out at www.yunojuno.com and see if it fits. (Oh, and we're not recruiters either.)

Your site is almost unreadable. Screenshot: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/2858326/windows8%2C%20chrome%20-%20...

Replying to you just to keep this bundled together, but this is more for hugorodgerbrown:

Looks equally bad w/ Chrome/Safari and Win7. Looks fine in Firefox on Win7.

Renders properly on Chrome and OSX.

Yup - we are aware. That's one of the perils of a having a graphic designer rather than a web designer on board. We are nearing the end of a major overhaul (visually), so that should address these issues.

Yeah, they went to the top of my shit list for not only spamming me but not even taking the time to realise that I wasn't in Silicon Valley. From memory, the email was also pretty obnoxious

I heard about the founder on a podcast (= mildly positive feelings for the company) and then a few months later got the spam email (= HATE them forever).

I completely disagree. I had an incredible experience with DeveloperAuction, and am currently working at a company that made a six-figure offer through their platform. Not only did I get a sizable bonus, but they also supervised negotiations every step of the way, with Matt Mickiewicz getting personally involved.

They also sent me a gift basket, which didn't hurt.

I had an extremely bad experience with Developer Auction. Ultimately using the site got me fired from my job and the team at Developer Auction was extremely non-responsive/uncaring about it all. Matt Miszewski in particular was extremely callous.

would you mind elaborating? How did using a site like this get you fired?

And what did you really expect them to do?

It's pretty common for someone to be fired when discovered interviewing elsewhere. Usually, though, they draw up one of those horrible "performance improvement plans" and you'll be able to move on before it closes.

Worst is when you're trying for internal transfer and get PIP'd because of it. Then you have to get a job elsewhere, because the PIP fucks up your internal mobility.

I'm also interested to hear how this happened.

Holy shit. Fired for interviewing elsewhere?

You can usually negotiate a severance when that happens, since they haven't had time to draw up documentation. Speak to a lawyer.

Most of these new services trying to disrupt the recruiting market, such as Developer Auction and Pitchbox, are narrowly focused on Silicon Valley. Obviously, the issue is more acute in the Bay Area.

They are still curated with a manual selection process, in other words they are still recruiters. A true disruption would need to occur for every locale. Not everyone is looking to move to Silicon Valley and not only Silicon Valley companies are looking to hire.

Hey founder of Pitchbox here. We're definitely focused on more then just Silicon Valley. We are working with startups and interesting companies all across the US. We're even connecting developers with companies that support full-time telecommuting.

whats the pitchbox website? pitchbox.com seems unrelated. I've refused several developer auction offers because they weren't open to full-time telecommuting

The better model would be those "dev bootcamps" type that popping up locally almost throughout the major USA cities and Toronto.

Their business model is excellent:

1) Pay us $4k-$6k (let's say average $5k)

2) We'll train you for 4weeks or more

3) We'll find you jobs guaranteed with min salary $60k-$80k (whatever) or money back.

[Hidden] 4) Companies pay these guys "recruiting fee" between 10-20%

Some of the bootcamps were public about their recruiting fee but most of them are not (I'm not judging whether it's good or bad but merely pointing out the behind-the-public-business deals).

Let's say there are 20 potential candidates with 5 that will get the job (success rate 25%).

Income from Bootcamp = 5 x $5k = $25k

Income from Recruiting = 5 x $6k = $30k (10% of $60k)

Total Revenue = $55k for getting 5 people a job.

These are minimum numbers.

Loss occurs when either 0 gets hired or for certain threshold (I'm guessing pretty low).

These people are increasing the chance of replacement.

Can you link me to any of these? Would like to read more about them.


I'm starting at Catalyst in two days. It's like Dev Bootcamp, but more hours, more weeks and focused more on JavaScript. Actually, I found them right here on HN! https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4859844

The prep work for the course has been intense-- lots of jQuery, and some online classes on Coffeescript, Node.js and Backbone.js. And it's a fantastic feeling to be in! Getting accepted is honestly one of the happiest moments I've had since moving to SF last summer. It's also exactly the environment for reaching top goal from our HN 2013 goals thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4966522

If anyone wants to do blog interviews with me throughout the process, drop me a line.

The Disruption Institute (http://www.disruptioninstitute.com ) just launched in Kansas City, focused on mobile development.

I'm working on matchist (http://matchist.com/talent) and while we're focused on helping freelance developers find work they want (rather than full time work like Developer Auction and Pitchbox), we serve talent AND clients all over the US.

We're based in Chicago, so that might help. ;)

Yeah, seems like they'd need to do something more reddit-like, and with regional curators to keep quality up. Perhaps some sort of affiliate model for freelance recruiters to enter the system in order to source and vet talent would work.

I believe that any type of curation is still not the answer. The issue has always been passive candidates. How can you expose an opportunity to someone that is not looking? DA does not solve this problem. The only problem that it solves is negotiating salary. You are still dealing with active candidates, candidates that would have found about the companies without going through a recruiter.

I have thought about the recruiting business a lot in the past couple of years. I have a few ideas, but I do not have the time to implement them. They are not trivial and I am content with my day job.

Regarding passive candidates...I think curation really helps but the product also needs to be focused on quality over quantity and easy to turn on/off. Pitchbox was built more to be a low-commitment & simple private way for developers to tell us their goals around compensation/tech/team/product and then passively monitor what interesting opportunities might be out there...basically "Here is what I'm looking for, let me know only once you find it."

Actually, DeveloperAuction is moving into other cities soon enough. After speaking with the team a bit, I got the impression that they see Silicon Valley as the testbed so they can perfect the process before taking it more universal.

I'm not really sure why this is so hard to see, the auction model is so weird, of course it'll take some time to figure out the kinks before "going global".

Paraphrased: "There's more than just Silicon Valley! What about the Bay Area!?"

Seriously though, I don't see anything wrong with concentrating on a specific location and expanding, Facebook style. I'm not sure how well this would succeed in places like London, but I guess competition is good.

It will definitely work in London... but probably not in Arkansas or Wyoming.

Agreed, I'd go as far as to say that not everyone is located in the USA :)

A few random site comments:

- Posting a picture is a legal minefield for US employers. Companies literally don't want to know anything about your age/race/sex at the screening stage for fear of a discrimination lawsuit. The only safe policy is to ignore/reject all candidate applications with a picture. (It's not illegal for the employer to know or even ask, but it's illegal to make decisions based on such information, and the best way to convince a belligerent labor attorney that a decision wasn't discriminatory is to never possess the information in the first place.)

- The salary box has a hilarious pair of up/down arrows for increments of 1. Yeah I'm going to click 110,000 times to enter my desired salary. :)

- Am I blind or is there nowhere to list skills/responsibilities/experience under the work experience section? Or is that the point, to avoid that stale format?

"Posting a picture is a legal minefield for US employers."

What about all the recruitment done via Linkedin? Many people have a photo of themselves there.

LinkedIn recruitment is different. If someone contacts you via LinkedIn, then they've already seen your photo and are interested regardless. There's little or no way to prove that someone even saw your profile on LinkedIn and then passed up contacting you for a job.

In the case of DeveloperAuction, I'm assuming that if you have a photo, then the potential employers are going to see it. If a 45 year old with similar qualifications as a 25 year old doesn't get offers from the same companies as the 25 year old, it opens up the potential for lawsuits -- this might be over-simplifying. I'm not qualified to comment on how much standing a lawsuit like this would have, but it's certainly happened in similar situations before. That's why photos are a no-no in recruiting in the U.S.

- The salary box has a hilarious pair of up/down arrows for increments of 1. Yeah I'm going to click 110,000 times to enter my desired salary. :)

You have to work for it!

The name sucks. Makes me feel like cattle on the block.

Ordinarily I'd brush off comments about a site's name. Rarely does it matter enough to actually care. But in this case, yeah, it gives me a radically negative connotation.

Sure it does. "auction" reminds me the last time human beings were sold like stuff.

Funny, I feel the opposite. The cow is voluntarily auctioning itself and directly receives the proceeds.

If you're lucky enough to arrange all your offers to fall within the same time frame maybe you can play a couple against each other and even then you can only go back and forth a few times.

Here, you automatically get a group of companies simultaneously competing for you. Is that not desirable?

Developer Auction now accepting developers from all backgrounds in the USA

I'm guessing that offering the service to other countries -- with different employment law, taxes, contracts, immigration, etc. -- means a ton of red tape this service has to navigate. Not dealing with it until they get a revenue stream from US business and can afford to pay experts to examine these rules closely sounds like a great strategy.

Yes, it's not fun if you're non-US and you want to take advantage of this service. I'm sure that, if it's a viable way to match employers with employees, someone will eventually get around to providing the service in your country.

That struck me too. Are they saying no company will offer remote or visa assistance?

One step at a time. :) We're working on international, H1B, and other geographies soon.

Now THAT (international and H1B {though I will soon qualify for the much easier to get E-3 ;) }) would be useful :)

Is there a newsletter list anywhere to be notified of such a wonderful advancement?

There's no newsletter, but you can sign up now and will be notified when we start approving developers from your region. We already have a lot of people signed up different geographies, which will help us figure out what regions to launch next.

Forgetting visa's, there is also the ex-pat community. No visa problems and the employer gets closer to having people working 24 hours a day.

But, hey, it's hard enough to get people to understand that thriving development communities exist outside of London.

I know many companies that offer visa assistance. Some of which offered jobs to friends. Not every company/startup is willing/prepared to do the work necessary though.

Why are recruiter fees so ridiculously high?

I've been on both sides of the equation. I've used recruiters to try and find people and have used recruiters to try and find work.

On the receiving end it is always shocking to see someone ask you for a $25K fee to hire a $100K employee. I'd rather give the employee more money.

At best a recruiter should be perfectly happy with a 5% finder's fee. Why are they asking to get paid the equivalent of what a person will take a quarter of the year to earn?

This is particularly true in this age of database-driven recruiting. It costs them just about zero to have you in a database.

Hires and recruitment fees are typically made with the assumption that the employee will be employed for more than 12 months, and that higher fees to the recruiter will result in a more valuable employee.

Not saying its true or untrue, but you can't just say something like "Thats 3 months worth of earnings!" when value is the thing that matters, not price.

"when the value is the thing that matters, not price"

Are you are recruiter? Because, you know, as an entrepreneur, yes, value is always important, but price is always, always, always important. Fairness too.

25% is ridiculous. The recruiter is NOT generating the employee's value, the employee is. And don't go for the "you would not have found them if it were not for the recruiter". In my experience there are very few recruiters that actually add value to the process. Most are horrible resume farms that algorithmically (or not) match resumes with job requirements and barrage the employer with a bunch of candidates to see if something sticks. In other words, the quest for easy money rather than anything else. The more people and companies you shovel through the system the greater your probabilities of making money.

How many of us have received the formulaic email from some data-entry worker in India saying something like: "I came across your resume and it looks like a perfect fit for one of our clients. Please submit resume, availability, desired salary and ability to relocate." Right.

There are a few (definitely count them with one hand) companies that might truly do a good job of getting to know both candidate and employer, but these days, that is far, very far, from the norm.

I offered that 5% might be a good number. What I actually think is that the whole model is completely broken. I have some ideas on how to fix it, but that's not for this thread.

Because they don't get paid if you don't make a hire. If you can find a good recruiter to work with, then they could end up working for you for months or even years, with a chance of never getting paid.

If the only hiring companies are early-stage VC-backed startups in the Bay Area, that's not very interesting to me. That's the impression I got.

I've been in their system since they first broke in September. I've received 4 offers. 2 were very early stage compaines with <$100k offers. I've also received a $110k offer from a well-known company and $165k from another early stage.

The $110k was at a company I'd consider working for if I didn't have to work from their NYC office. (I'm in SF now.)

>I've also received a $110k offer from a well-known company and $165k from another early stage.

It seems the 165k one wasn't. Which is understandable. If they were a great opportunity for you, they wouldn't have to reach that deep into their pockets.

Haven't talked to the company yet. I'm skeptical, but always willing to hear out a new opportunity.

Forgot about this, sent through my details on 9/24/12, still seem to have an account "waiting for approval" (i'm non US though)

email I got at the time said "We're reviewing developer applications over the coming week" and there seems to be no way to delete my account now... so my information is sitting in triage

Developer Auction was a great opportunity. I was able to get introduced to companies previously not on my radar, and startups I may have never heard of. I received offers from companies across the country in LA, SF, NYC, Chicago, and more.


Did you find a job via DA? If so, what is your level of experience as a developer? I have 5 years of QA experience but am looking to move into a developer role. Not sure if DA is geared toward someone like me, or only for more experienced developers?

Yes I did find a job with DA! I just moved to SF on Sunday. I have a few years of experience as a developer (cofounder/employee) and a few more as a contractor. I also have a number of personal projects and contest entries. In my opinion you should just do it® - you can't be any worse off.

Why do you only allow 'funded' startups to bid? What about highly profitable bootstrapped companies? Drop the angel list requirement.

I recently got hired through Developer Auction, and I just want to say that it was a really great experience. +1 from me :)

Looks like the signup form (which asks you for a password) does _not_ use HTTPS -- beware of exposing a shared password.

I applied when the site first launched, but my profile is still being approved... It would be nice if they had a section to highlight side projects. Most of my software work out side of my day job is in side projects, and not open source.

The summary field is the best way to talk about your side projects. And it takes markdown. :)

Is it just me or the top navbar is really hard to read with the color combinations?

"Start working and receive 20% cash back on our fee, typically $3,000 to $5,000+"

What does that mean? Somewhere else it says that it is free to developers. Is the hired developer receiving a portion of the fee you charge the employer?

Yes, according to their "For Developers" page the fee is to the employer and you get a percentage of that.

Correct, engineers get a portion of the fee that we charge employers.

I tried creating a profile, and accidently linked the wrong Github account (work vs personal) and there doesn't seem to be a way to unlink it.

There also seems to be no way to delete an account.

Sorry about that. We'll add a link soon. In the meantime use this url while signed in: developerauction.com/users/unauth/github

Can't seem to edit my profile. Hitting submit returns me to /profiles with a 404 page (Obi wan kenobi)

alright took the plunge! So far using the site, feel like the whole thing is 'in development' -not a finished product yet. Hopefully it will reach the critical mass soon.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2023

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact