Demanding transparency during your job search
Joanna Dionis Oct 3 '16
A few years ago, I was working as an in-house recruiter for a large global hedge fund. For a financial firm, we had a pretty edgy recruiting strategy. We hired based on raw ability rather than a set of experience checkboxes; we encouraged artists to pursue their creative careers while working for us; we applied rigorous, multi-stage evaluation to every candidate, involving a huge team of in-house recruiters and executive-level hiring managers. We even had our own proprietary ATS, built by a dedicated team in Hyderabad. When an important candidate—even a junior one—got an offer, a managing director would call them to offer congratulations.
One thing we didn’t have, though, was a way to give applicants great insight into the jobs and teams they were applying for. At the time, demand for tech talent was strong, but not nearly at the fever pitch it is today. Recent grads applied to us in droves, attracted by the high salaries, the anti-Wall Street vibe (no dress code, flat hierarchy), and our reputation for having a strong quant backbone. We didn’t create resources for candidates about the teams they were applying to join, because we didn’t have to.
Things have changed. I now work for a tech startup that’s focused on helping developers nurture their careers and their skills. And developers have become the holy grail of hiring. The fact that the talent pool doesn’t meet current demand dictates a system ripe for change.
That’s not to say developers can walk into a boardroom, get pitched a dozen dream jobs, and cherry-pick the best. Irrelevant/frustrating whiteboard interviews, insidious discrimination, and poorly designed hiring criteria still plague the job search process. Still, if you're a dev, it’s a seller’s market. So when sifting through the onslaught of recruiting come-hithers, research should be your BFF.
What should you be trying to find out? That depends on your priorities, of course. In a recent interview in The Macro, an engineer says: “When considering an early startup, there are three main questions on my mind: Do I think the team has the ability to execute as they scale? Can I peacefully coexist with everyone on the team and can they peacefully coexist with each other? Is this idea good or is it bullshit?”
This isn’t surprising: candidates want transparency about a startup’s viability, its colleagues and culture, and its core product. But job listings and career pages don’t have that information—and it’s not anywhere else in the digital realm.
This information vacuum was the seed for Devpost Jobs, a recruiting platform we built to help developers evaluate startup job opportunities based on the criteria that matters to them—namely, who they're going to be working with, what's in the company’s tech stack and how it's used, what to expect during the interview process, and what the dev process and day-to-day are like.
This is what our users told us they wanted to know, and we built the product with them in mind. But we’re still building and growing. We’d love to hear what you think, and what kind of information you look for when you’re researching jobs.
Recruiting’s an imperfect process, and always will be. At its core, like a lot of things in business, it’s about human relationships and interactions—things that can’t be wholly digested by an algorithm or data query. But we can start with providing valuable information—and you can start by making sure we, and any company you consider working for, gives it to you.