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Improving the technical hiring process

By Harj Taggar on May 7, 2015

Improving the technical hiring process

Guillaume, Ammon and I are excited to announce the launch of our new company, Triplebyte. Our goal is to build a consistent and data-driven process for hiring programmers.

Most companies make up their hiring process as they go along. We certainly did that when hiring at our own startups. This has problems. Resumes are relied on heavily as the first screen, but many great programmers have really bad resumes. Technical interviews are typically run by an interviewer who is unsure which questions to ask or how to evaluate answers. Final hiring decisions are based on gut feeling, which is rarely (i.e. never) measured for accuracy.

This is a manifesto of how we believe technical hiring should work. We want to build a company that specializes in assessing the ability of engineers without relying on the prestige of their resume credentials. Once we've identified them, we're going to help them find great places to work. We'll use the latter to measure how well we're doing at the former.

We're going to do two things differently. First, track decisions as quantitatively as possible. Second, run experiments with our own process. We expect it to change completely over time. Frankly, we'd love to get rid of interviews entirely.

We're starting our first experiment today - blind phone screens. First, we ask a few questions to verify you're a programmer. It's our version of an online FizzBuzz. Once you pass those, we ask you to schedule a 15-minute technical phone call. We only want to talk about one thing: code you've written in the past. That's literally the only thing we'll ask you about. Our hypothesis is that's enough to help good programmers stand out. After that we'll go deeper into code you've written before over a couple of 45 minute technical interviews via screen share.

Humans are complicated and making decisions about their ability is difficult. We're excited about trying because the potential reward is so large. A better hiring process can significantly reduce bias. It'll open up the opportunity for anyone, from anywhere, to be assessed on their ability. It'll help startups find the programmers they need to build great products. We think this would be a great thing for the world and we're excited to build it!

If you have ideas for other ways we could experiment with our process, or if you think there's a better approach than the one we're taking, we'd love to hear from you. founders@triplebyte.com.

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