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HackerRank: Solve a Coding Challenge, Get a Job Interview

Want to bypass the whole "send résumé, wait for a call" developer job application process? There's an app for that.

HackerRank, known for providing competitive coding challenges and ranking the results to help companies discover dev talent, has released HackerRank Jobs, a new app available on the Apple App Store and Google Play store (and the company's Web site).

The app lets job-seeking engineers request a coding challenge from a participating company with one click. They can solve the problem at their leisure and share their availability for an interview, after which they are guaranteed a response from the company within five days. If they don't pass muster, they're notified, so they know if they're advancing to the next round of the process or not.

The HackerRank Jobs app/Web site lets candidates browse job openings at nearly 40 participating companies, such as VMware, Box, Visa, Uber and Quora. Candidates can specify job roles in their browsing, such as back-end, front-end, mobile or DevOps developer positions, along with location. HackerRank Jobs also displays approximate salaries offered by the companies and lists the average number of days it takes companies to respond (today, every company listing said "responds in 3 days").

Right now, the company said, developers can search for jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York and Bangalore, India, with more regions to become available by the end of March 2016.

The HackerRank Jobs Web Site
[Click on image for larger view.] The HackerRank Jobs Web Site (source: HackerRank)

Previously, HackerRank offered competitive code challenges in a variety of programming languages and tracked results on a leaderboard. It also operated coding contests, called CodeSprints, in an effort to expose coding talent to recruiters. The new process wherein candidates solve puzzles with a guaranteed five-day response time limit reportedly came into play after the company conducted a survey and found that submitting a résumé and simply waiting for a response that may never come was a significant problem for job-seeking developers.

"It's discouraging," said HackerRank's Vivek Ravisankar in a blog post Tuesday. "It makes for a terrible experience. Everyone knows it's about who you know, what degree you have and what prestigious schools or companies are listed in your résumé."

Ravisankar said the new method opens up a new, untapped source of talent for companies, who now can find and evaluate developers who can't boast a standout résumé with top-ranked schooling, training or experience, but who might have impressive skills that are self-taught, for example.

"If a tech executive tells you that it's really hard to find great engineers, it's because they're still using traditional means of hiring, like résumés, degrees and referrals," Ravisankar said. "They're overlooking highly skilled candidates who may not have attended a great school, may have dropped out or simply took an alternate path to programming. To unlock these engineers, you have to be able to is test their skills at scale. With traditional recruiting methods, it can take more than 30 days to find the right candidate."

Not only can it take months or more to make a good hire, several studies have indicated that the odds of never hearing back from a company after applying online are about 90 percent, he said, "but you don't need a study to prove that submitting job applications online feels like tossing darts into a black hole."

HackerRank noted that, based on the number of workers holding computer science degrees, some 1 million computing jobs will be left unfilled by 2020, according to information from Microsoft. The new way to help meet that need is already being enthusiastically embraced by participating companies, HackerRank said.

"It's exciting to see that I can now source qualified candidates so easily, especially those who are hard to discover with today's sourcing tools," the company quoted Mat Connot, staffing director at VMware, as saying.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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