The JyMob Blog

Musings of the founder of a failed startup

Go Ahead, Hire Strangers

I often tend to learn from the so-called conventional wisdom, but I don’t get this one:

Usually, hiring happens by referrals.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the motivation. It is obvious that you would start with your own contacts, but in a way, you are unnecessarily limiting your scope. When you have a job or two, you should have a large (enough) sample space to choose candidates from. If you always hired only from the pool of people you already knew, the world would be small (and boring), wouldn’t it?

In general, hiring the right candidate is a problem, some say it is a big problem. And it is true. It is a matter of luck. If you are starting off, this is even more important. But if you are a middle-aged company, the nature of hiring is slightly different. You are mostly looking for a reasonably smart candidate who is a good fit. Of course, you’d want to hire someone who gives his or her heart and soul to the job, but in a startup, you are almost creating a cult, which is not the case in a larger company.

With technical jobs however, you don’t know if a certain candidate is capable of doing the job(s) you have however strong s/he looks on paper (i.e. resume) and/or how strongly s/he is recommended on say LinkedIn. You want to know beforehand if you should spend more time applying human intelligence (which is very reliable) judging this candidate. And yes, when you judge, you are also being judged.

But to reach this stage, you need to define your core requirements rather objectively. Job descriptions have consistently failed to do that. That is where JyMob looks promising. It makes you think hard to define your jobs objectively. Rather than getting the candidate to solve the problems whose solutions are available off-the-search-engine, you are free to be creative and design the problems that are themselves search-engine-defying! You can create quick challenges and you get a nicely formatted report of how well the candidates did. Being able to pose interesting problems uniformly may also lure candidates or create their interest in your company/department. Many engineers for example, are interested in solving interesting problems and seek a reasonably good growth and salary.

Many candidates are perhaps turned off by screening services like JyMob. But at JyMob, we try hard not to get in their way. Our test interface is quite intuitive, forgiving and pleasant to work with. You can attach any number of files along with your solutions, add clarifying notes when you are asked (i.e. create a full-fledged discussion thread within your solution!) and you even get reminded of the time left if the test is a timed one.

With such a tool at your disposal, you can make more informed decision about your prospective hires without having to spend increasingly more time. If you are working on “Internet Time”, this becomes all the more important because you spend time only on the candidates that are screened by the system that you designed.

Job seekers are also not at a disadvantage because they know that it is only fair to initially employ interesting screening techniques on job providers' part. This opens up a wide array of candidates for job providers to choose from. They get a platform to show-case the nature of problems they are trying to solve and get to be innovative about creating such problems. And what’s more, they get to choose from a versatile JyMob problem database where we use strength of human network that helps create those problems!

So, yes, go ahead, when you want to hire, start with the widest landscape possible and tune services like JyMob to your satisfaction.