Image courtesy of “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, distributed by Netflix

A Tisket, a Task(et)

At AID:Tech, technical hires are required to perform a technical task as part of the interview process. Each of these tasks has a core component that is required, and some extras to be attempted if the candidate is able to.

This can seem counterintuitive for two key reasons:

  • By adding an extra step to the interview process, we lose (and have lost) potential candidates, who find this cumbersome or, some simply walk away because this isn’t necessarily the convention.
  • To top this off, because we tailor each task to each candidate (more on that later), we spend significant time in designing, assigning and evaluating the task, making our interview process that much more taxing for ourselves.

Why do we go through this pain for ourselves and our potential hires?

Let me explain to you through an analogy. Recently I watched “The Ballad of Buster Scraggs”. The 4th story, All Gold Canyon, features the story of a gold prospector, who digs hole after hole near a river while trying to find gold. He takes his time with this until he finds the location of the gold vein, sieving and sieving again and again, and throwing away small bits of gold.

For us, it’s the same, because the hiring process is a sieve, and we are looking to strike gold. How so? Let me count the ways:

  1. To ensure the hire is coachable and has the motivation and ability to learn some extra skills that are missing in their CV. We like people who can be productive in a new language/framework within a couple of weeks and dedicate their own time to developing themselves.
  2. To provide a threshold to ensure the potential hire is motivated enough to overcome challenges to join AID:Tech, and is a missionary rather than a mercenary. Going this extra mile for free outside of the regular 9–5, precisely because you want to learn and join a specific company, means you will likely fare well in a chaotic environment where nothing is guaranteed, on other words, startups :-)
  3. The threshold works two-ways, because it this thorough process means that we will not hire below a specific bar, so all of our (and potentially your) colleagues will be people you will be able to learn from and will respect.
  4. While we have hired individuals who performed only the core task, we ask our candidates to demonstrate that they have attempted the extra tasks assigned, as this further demonstrates motivation, grit and ability.
  5. The task gives us a period of ~10 days where we can communicate with the candidate. We like people who are articulate and clear, but also able to have a good balance between working independently while being able to collaborate with the rest of the team.

If we have not dissuaded you from applying, join us here: