Replacing hiring hackathons for experienced professionals

Hiring hackathons. They used to work so well. Geeks used to be excited about building something cool and getting recognized for it. The sponsoring companies were happy at the prospect of hiring some of these smart geeks.

But then something went wrong. We started overdoing it (5 or more hackathons happen in Bangalore every weekend) More and more companies felt obliged to join the Hackathon bandwagon. Sure, geeks still signed up for them but fewer and fewer actually took them to completion.

The problem with using hackathons for lateral hiring

The problem is most hackathons ask for too much time. They often are physical events over a weekend (such as Venturesity), making them difficult to attend for the professionals already slogging it out at work. Yes, there are online hackathons (by HackerEarth and others) but they are essentially long drawn coding challenges with a “potential” chance to get hired by the sponsoring company.

Result — hiring hackathons often see participation from the students or junior professionals. For professionals with 2 to 10 year experience, hiring hackathons simply don’t provide the returns for all the time and energy commitment they require.

The cost of all the logistics and organizing easily runs anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000. The cost and the Return on Investment (ROI) makes them nonviable for all the startups except the bigger companies such as Myntra.

What is the alternative to hiring hackathons?

Good talent doesn’t need to spend 24–48 hours working on an abstract problem to show case themselves. People already working on solving complex problems at their workplace simply don’t have the time or inclination to do that.

Their work history, their projects on GitHub, activity on StackOverflow tells a lot about the work they have already done. In cases when a candidate doesn’t have these OR the information available is “misleading” — there just needs to be a good enough way to evaluate them quickly.

Welcome to TechHunt. By CutShort.

Starting from 23rd Feb, we will be hosting TechHunt every few weeks — an event to surface promising experienced professionals who want to jump ahead in their career. To compliment their profile (or lack of it), they will take a 30 min technical evaluation test to attract the attention of not 1 or 2 but 75+ companies such as Myntra and Amazon in just 1 day.

Those who come from less reputed institutions or startups but who really shine at the evaluation test will be given certificates of recognition to help them build a stronger profile for future.

What will be the technical evaluation like?

The technical evaluation is NOT a coding competition. It just aims to filter out the false signals and yet give an opportunity for actually hands-on developers to set themselves apart. This technical evaluation will comprise:

  • A language/technology specific quiz that focuses on the practical knowledge versus the theoretical one). An example (medium difficulty)

What will this code output?

(function() {
 console.log(1); 
 setTimeout(function(){console.log(2)}, 1000); 
 setTimeout(function(){console.log(3)}, 0); 
 console.log(4);
})();

  • A programming test that focuses on practical tasks that come up in a typical work day. It will have two problems — one medium and one hard. Here is an example of an easy difficulty question:

Given a list of URLs, make a post request on each of them and return the response received in the original order of URLs in the list.

function printResponse(urls, done) {
//return null;
}

Let’s simplify lateral tech hiring. Join TechHunt on 23rd Feb.

Our objective with TechHunt is simple. Give a practical chance to smart working techies to stand out. They may or may not have the degrees or brand but their projects, social profiles and scores should help them attract the attention of the most promising companies that often have no way to spot them.

Please support us in this initiative by recommending this post with your network.

If you are a techie looking to jump start your career AND/OR get recognized, sign up here. If you’re looking to hire these promising tech folks, register here. The event is included in all our recruiter plans.

See you on the 23rd!