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Give us some suggestions. We're all ears.



My worry is that this service could be seen as yet another certification, and just adds to the list of things you "have to do."

I guess I can ask you directly: how much time do you spend interviewing people, not counting the work-samples you already require?

As for suggestions, it's really about the next year. Unless you've already been doing this, you have to find people, and place them. And that means working not only with the programmers, but also the companies involved. Part of that would mean coaching them on how to use your system. You want to destroy the current tech interview process? You have to replace it. You want to remove the tech portion? Then I think the best way right now is working directly with the companies you are placing people with. They need to play by your rules, and a year from now is when you'll have a better understanding of where you stand, as the person you've placed is hired, and still employed.

Obviously there is more than just one candidate and company, but unless that happens, I don't see a company just buying into your system without keeping it's own. So you need to teach them what it is you are providing, and what they should do to maximize interaction with the candidate. The interviews will still exist: I want to meet the person I'm working for before I show up. But instead of dealing with white boards and ping pong balls, we are having a conversation about my potential future with the company, and what I can bring to the table.

patio11 said it: "we’re here to destroy it, and create something new and better in its place."

A job interview has two sides, the applicant, and the company, and if you want to destroy the interview and rebuild it, you have to do it with both sides at the same table. Otherwise, you aren't destroying anything, just adding more red tape before anyone gets to the table.


Literally the first objective I had when I took over recruiting was to reduce the time demands on Matasano's hiring process, and the work-sample process we came up with slashed time demands by more than half. Candidates we passed on wrote us to say how much more they liked how we hired than other companies. That's because:

* We demanded the same or slightly less time in total than other conventional-interviewing companies did.

* The scheduling of our demands was totally flexible, unlike interviews, which are rigidly scheduled. If you're a morning person, and you have next Tuesday free, that's when you threw the 2-odd hours you needed at the challenge.

* Obviously, it's easier and less stressful to put effort in from your couch than in an alien office environment with people staring at you waiting for you to answer properly.

* The challenges themselves were fun. They were real work: we didn't have people literally slaying dragons (they were breaking a web app and a client/server app), but they were the distilled enjoyable essence of that work with most of the BS removed. In fact, if you didn't find the challenges fun, that was a huge signal that we were the wrong job for you.

* If you did decide we were wrong for you, you could stop at any time --- randomly, on a Tuesday night, with a slice of pizza in your mouth --- and have none of the weird social pressures that would make you sit through a string of pointless interviews. Which is an experience I have had, more than once.

Regarding certification: pure, chill-filtered hatred of certifications is what got me into the part of software security I wound up in. There is zero chance that we are going to build something with the market dynamics of a certification.


Great point. It's happened before. For example, at many companies, HackerRank-esque code tests were meant to replace the technical screen, but just ended up being an additional step you have to do.

More red tape happens because companies feel like they have the power to ask people to jump through whatever hoops they want. But you can reverse this. If you have the people companies want desperately, you can dictate what the companies can and cannot do (no 3-day interviews, for example). I think that's what Starfighter is trying to do.


I think you have an interesting concern. I don't worry that this will become an "extra certification", though.

I imagine that one might still get called for a 3 day interview, but I suspect that people using a work-test like Starfighter before asking for that will already have a MUCH better idea about your capabilities than they would have without it. Interviews then seem like they become more about assessing your fit with the company, and less about trying to weed out incompetence -- because they wouldn't invite you for an interview unless you'd already demonstrated your competence in this way.

That sounds a bit bad, if it were for only one company, but what excites me about Starfighter is that it sounds like something I'd want to do for fun __anyway__, and its signals about my competence (I hope! ;)) could then be given to multiple companies -- including ones I might never have thought to apply to.

I'd much rather hear, "Greetings Starfighter, .... we want to hire you to do more like that" than get spammed by random recruiters because my LinkedIn profile happens to have Python or Java on it.

At this point, my biggest fear is that I might not have the technical chops to complete the challenges.


>>At this point, my biggest fear is that I might not have the technical chops to complete the challenges.

I fully expect that I don't have the technical chops right now to complete the challenges, but I can barely contain my excitement to get started. Learning whatever it takes to overcome a defined challenge is so much more thrilling than learning a topic for the sake of knowing it.




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