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Hidden Gems: How Zeal Uncovered Hidden Talent and Grew Their Engineering Team by 40%

Hidden Gems: How Zeal Uncovered Hidden Talent and Grew Their Engineering Team by 40%
Key Results

Improved candidate engagement

Ability to surface great, non-traditional candidates

Faster, more efficient hires

After wrapping up their Series A, Zeal needed to hire engineers—fast. See how Zeal grew their engineering team by 40% in just a couple months.


"Truly a crop of the best engineers we've ever had, pushing high-quality code faster than we expected, creating mad velocity for our early-stage startup. Without engineers like this, the dream couldn't be realized."
Grace Turner

Hot on the heels of a recent fundraising round, Zeal was on a mission to expand their product in late 2021. The fintech company specializes in easier payroll solutions for growing platforms. For companies that want to expand their financial offerings to users, Zeal ensures that they can build a scalable payroll product. 

Zeal’s goals for supporting their customer base grew in 2021, leading to expansions all over their business. 


As Zeal wrapped up their Series A, they realized they needed to expand their team—fast. Zeal’s Lead Recruiter, Grace Turner, explains, “After the raise, we were going live with several new clients. So it was paramount that we hire engineers to scale our current product and provide better service to our new clients that we just onboarded.” In addition, Zeal was on the cusp of releasing their second product, Abacus. 


Turner and the team at Zeal tried everything they could think of to hire the engineers they needed. “We used Y-Combinator, AngelList, AngelList Curated, Get Covey, Linkedin Sponsored, Built in SF, referrals, and I even hired international sourcers,” but nothing seemed to work very well. “I even did an email drip campaign where we emailed 2000 engineers, but it only had a .1% reply rate.” Turner was out of ideas and under pressure to find the best engineers for the job. “If we don’t have engineers, we can’t scale the team and we can’t make the product. I was managing 20 open roles and the software engineer roles were top priority. I was thinking, ‘Where are these engineers? Where can we hire them?'”

That’s when Turner and the Zeal team turned to Triplebyte.  


Turner explored various sourcing tools, giving each of them a 1-2 week trial run. On other platforms, Turner sent out hundreds of messages, varying in personalization, with no response. But Triplebyte was different. On average, Triplebyte customers receive a 20-25% positive response rate from candidates, which gave Turner a higher ROI compared to the other tools she’d previously considered. 

Not only that, but Triplebyte made it easy for her to reach out to candidates who had already shared that they were aligned with what the company was looking for. “The platform helped us to see when a person was looking for finance roles on smaller teams and if they had experience with our tech stack. It was a much easier way to engage with candidates who were open to having a discussion.” Candidate and company alignment were particularly important to Turner because it indicated the potential for longer-term employees. 

Most candidates Turner reached out to also completed various Triplebyte assessments using Triplebyte Screen, the only adaptive assessments platform on the market that tests engineers for true skill and provides companies like Zeal with actual signal on downstream interview performance. Turner saw the benefits of that quickly. “It makes my job easier in the intro call. Instead of asking the technical questions that no candidate wants to hear, I could spend time selling the company and having better candidate conversations. And I felt more confident passing them to the hiring manager.”

It was a big improvement from her previous process. “When you just have a LinkedIn profile that says 'software engineer,' you don’t know what they actually do. So it was hard to feel confident that someone was a good fit.” Once they started using Triplebyte, over 80% of Zeal’s engineering candidates passed their on-site engineering assessment.


With Triplebyte, Zeal was able to hire 3 engineers within two months of signing up. Harris Weeks, Zeal’s staff engineer, says, “We've seen these engineers hit the ground running, get spun up in no time, and begin pushing meaningful and needed updates. Truly a crop of the best engineers we've ever had, pushing high-quality code faster than we expected, creating mad velocity for our early-stage startup. Without engineers like this, the dream couldn't be realized."

Turner’s favorite part? None of the engineers Zeal hired from Triplebyte came from traditional backgrounds. “We were able to confidently hire people who don’t have a CS degree. By being able to see their skill set and interests, we hired fast and they got a great opportunity in the startup world. The greatest ROI was finding these hidden gems.”

Ultimately, the Triplebyte platform helped the Zeal team to find the best engineers at a fraction of the time it would have taken otherwise, “We tried so many avenues and the ROI on them was so low. It’s difficult to spend my time and my team’s time on other experiments. Hiring at this pace wouldn’t be possible without Triplebyte.”

Looking Forward:

With several new engineers, a new product, and exciting new clients, Zeal’s future is looking bright. “We probably want to double our team in 3-6 months and add another 4-6 engineers,” says Turner. Abacus launched in the Fall of 2021 as the world’s first modern Gross-To-Net Payroll Tax Calculator API, and as it grows, Turner knows she’ll be looking for more engineers with Triplebyte.

“I'm looking for people who are passionate about the fintech space and want to join a culture that holds the theory of building with empathy. Finding those people who want to help build that culture and a product at the same time, that’s the value. Triplebyte helps us to screen candidates by asking the right questions to find that right fit, not just for the company but also for the candidate. The in-depth details we share on our Triplebyte company profile help candidates feel comfortable knowing they’re joining the right eng team.”

And while working with untraditional engineers is exciting, Turner has a few other ideas in the works as well. She smiles, “This won’t happen until next year, but I want to start a women’s internship program to help more women get into engineering and tech, and I definitely want to use Triplebyte and Triplebyte Screen to do it."

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