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HackerRank’s developer-recruiting tool relies on puzzles rather than resumes

Image Credit: HackerRank

HackerRank has built a recruiting tool that does away with old-school resumes and applications and replaces them with fun challenges and puzzles that show off an applicant’s skills.

The new tool caters specifically to developer recruitment.

Whether or not it will catch on as the new rage in technical recruiting, HackerRank has managed to win over investors. The company is announcing $9.2 million in a second round of institutional funding today.

HackerRank’s product is two-pronged: On one side, developers and engineers use the site to solve puzzles and challenges, hone their skills, and get a buzz out of solving a sponsoring company’s challenge, if they can. The challenges on the open forum are generally created by HackerRank, though companies sometimes sponsor and post their own. On the other side, companies, big and small, use the tool as part of — or instead of — their technical recruiting process, asking candidates to solve customized problems that fit the position’s technical skills.

The result? Developers can show off their skills instead of worrying about whether their resumes are getting them in the door, and companies can immediately start vetting candidates based on technical skills and test for whatever particular skills they’d like.

“How do we build our platform so that the only thing that matters is your skills? That’s something that programmers really love,” said HackerRank cofounder Vivek Ravisankar in an interview with VentureBeat.

Since launching in 2012, the company has amassed a long list of customer companies, from small startups to medium-sized companies, and even large enterprises, and clients have been adapting HackerRank’s tools to their needs. Snapchat, for example, offers a challenge as an optional item candidates can elect to tackle.

HackerRank is also a particularly good deal for companies that don’t have enough resources to dedicate to building an in-house recruiting platform. HackerRank focuses 100 percent of its time on this and has been quickly expanding to include more and more types of programming languages and areas in computer science, according to Ravisankar.

Since recruiting is still a huge pain point for companies, HackerRank is not the only company tackling the process. Gild, which closed a new round of funding last week, also takes the skill-based approach: It analyzes various technical criteria such as open source contributions, comment log activities, and programming styles to show companies which candidates’ skills are most suited for the position.

With its new funding, HackerRank plans on growing its sales team and building out its product to be able to support even more areas of computer science, though it has no current plans to expand beyond technical recruiting.

And while Ravisankar shared that more than 60 percent of developers who interact with the product come back within two weeks, the company has not been carefully tracking how many job candidates then become “recreational” users of HackerRank, a statistic that would say a lot about how sticky solving engineering puzzles really is.

Khosla Ventures led the round, with additional participation from Battery Ventures, Peeyush Ranjan, Greg Badros, and Dan Rubinstein, among others. Its customers include Facebook, Quora, VMWare, Yahoo, Microsoft, Evernote, Square, Bloomberg, EA Sports, and Pocket Gems.

HackerRank was founded in 2012 by Harishankaran Karunanidhi and Vivek Ravisankar and is based in Palo Alto, Calif. The company had previously raised a total of $3.2 million in funding and was part of Y Combinator’s summer 2011 class.

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2 comments
Usama Ahmed
Usama Ahmed

I doubt any serious developers would consider doing this, there's already a way to demonstrate your programming capabilities in the real world, either by contributing to an existing open source project or maintaining your own projects on github.