Amplify uses HackerRank to vet candidates for its dev team - Technical.ly Brooklyn

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Oct. 27, 2014 10:44 am

Amplify uses HackerRank to vet candidates for its dev team

Some insight into how Amplify, Brooklyn's edtech giant, hires software engineers.

Engineers doing paper prototyping.

(Photo by Flickr user Samuel Mann, used under a Creative Commons license)

HackerRank is a platform for vetting devs, which has been used by Brooklyn’s largest tech employer, Amplify, since HackerRank’s earlier incarnation as InterviewStreet.

According to Matt Yardeni, Amplify’s Recruiting Director, who we previously communicated with for our piece on hiring talent, the company primarily useswhat’s now known as HackerRank for Companies as a sort of pre-screening of candidates.

“It’s a balancing act,” Yardeni said. “We want candidates to have a personal connection to Amplify at every step, but at the same time, our software engineers don’t have the bandwidth to interview every candidate whose resume crosses our desk, so there needs to be some level of technical pre-screening.”

Amplify is a major edtech company, making both hardware and software used by schools to teach a wide array of topics.

Amplify did coding exercises with candidates before HackerRank, but Yardeni said the platform allows them to see every part of a candidate’s work, not just the final result.

He gave this example:

We put together a coding exercise to gauge a basic level of competency — some were concerned it was too easy — but it was surprising to see how some recent college grads were able to successfully complete it in 20 minutes, while some programmers with over five years of experience couldn’t finish it in an hour. HackerRank allows us to see that level of detail.

Yardeni said the face-to-face process is still important. The company needs to know if a candidate is curious and collaborative. Do they appear to be excited about what Amplify is doing? Those are things that can only be discerned in person, Yardeni said.

We first encountered HackerRank at Techweek New York. The company was promoting another aspect of its work that, at this time, Amplify isn’t using.

Devs not from heavily recruited schools can get noticed by completing tasks on HackerRank, earning points and demonstrating talent. It’s seen as a way for companies to find and recruit undiscovered engineering talent.

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