Andrei Calazans

Hiring, Vetting, TripleByte, Interviewing.io, and Comments.

☕️ 4 min read

This post was motived by TripleByte’s recent article justifying their pivot.

In summary, TripleByte is changing its direction towards becoming a job search platform that tries to empowers the candidates.

To accomplish their new focus, they made the previously required vetting step optional, and now allow anyone to apply for jobs using its platform. To empower the candidate, they will penalize companies that conduct “engineer-unfriendly” practices like lying to them.

TripleByte’s Hacker News thread got quite a lot of comments about this decision. Specially around the incentives in play. Many questioned that companies would not be incentivized to use their platform if there are penalties. And highlighted how by making vetting optional it makes TripleByte the same as any other job search platform, it loses value.

I like to highlight that despite making vetting optional, it still exists, and it is still a way you can credentialize yourself via TripleByte. This is a point that many of the comments in the HN thread seem to have missed.

The Vetting Issue

TripleByte highlighted the following problems:

  • Their vetting filters out good candidates.
  • Companies don’t always trust it and end up doing further tests making the hiring longer and more difficult.
  • Not every candidate, specially seniors and well credentialized ones, are willing to go through vetting.

So to solve the above they are making the vetting optional. But, is this the right solution?

In the HN thread many TripleByte users stepped out to highlight some of the real problems it ignored like lack of status updates, bugs in the platform, and being simply ghosted.

Further, users who didn’t benefit from having strong credentials and past experiences came out to highlight how the standardized vetting process helped them land jobs.

The Hiring Problem

It is not the lack of jobs or the lack of candidates that is the problem. These are things that will always be balancing each other due to market forces. The problem is the ineffectiveness of hiring.

Aline Lerner’s Blog post on why hiring is broken makes good arguments about the ineffectiveness of hiring.

  • Too many middlemen (Engineers must speak with non-technical recruiters and go through their subjective filtering).
  • Unrealistic testing (Challenges unrelated to their actual job).
  • Engineering manager needs are translated into incorrect resume signals (keywords) by recruiters (this makes the entire industry look for the same senior engineers).
  • Engineers looking for a job they must prove themselves multiple times via technical interviews.
  • Companies/recruiters don’t know which candidates are strong, which leads to subjective top-funnel filtering.
  • Incorrect recruiting best practice that disqualifies candidates actually looking for jobs because if they were good they wouldn’t be looking for a job.
  • Hiring platforms make the entire process less efficient by adding more layers.

Note - Aline’s post talks about how these hiring platforms inevitably shift towards becoming Linkedin Recruiter which is exactly what TripleByte is shifting towards now in 2021

I would further add:

  • One time vetting tests are too narrow/constrained to be a indicative of skills.
  • Non-technical skills play a fundamental factor in the success of an engineer and it is very hard to classify.
  • Final decision to hire is subjective and unpredictable - different managers will hire different people based on their biases.
  • Peer-recommendation has much more value than actual skills, and people less qualified will get the job because they someone in the team.

It is ineffective because we struggle to credentialize engineers in a continuous method in order to highlight their strengths and we fail to match the candidates actually seeking jobs with the right jobs.

Interviewing.io

Opposite to what TripleByte is proposing to do, intervewing.io founded by Aline Lerner tries to solve the credentialization issue by allowing the candidates to build up their reputation through mock technical interviews with their peers. Further power is given to the engineer by allowing them to schedule calls directly with engineers in the company hiring, this however is only possible if you have built up enough reputation in interviewing.io.

Nonetheless, I still have the following questions:

  • How are engineers scored in these mock interviews?
  • How much does who conducts the interview influences the result?
  • Won’t interviewing.io incentivize engineers who are just good at these technical interviews?
  • How does interviewing.io highlight the right match? How do I avoid having interviews with candidates that do not match what I’m looking for?

While I highlight that allowing the engineers to schedule interviews with other engineers is very empowering, I believe that the mindset of vetting someone in a constrained environment such as a technical interview is still very limited and unreliable.

I want to further explore solutions for this space of vetting and technical hiring, specially because I am part of G2i and we want to contribute to this space. I ran out of time, but you can expect a follow up post on ideas of how we can do this better.