DeveloperAuction, a startup that’s trying to change technical recruiting by letting venture-backed companies bid on top engineers in auctions, is seeing some momentum after coming out of beta last week. The company put a call out for engineering candidates on Hacker News last week for an auction today, and saw about 7,500 applications.
They also just picked up a new COO in Sujay Tyle (pictured left), who was a Thiel fellow and previously a vice president of business development at mobile gaming company Scopely.
DeveloperAuction is trying to reverse the way that in-house recruiters attract top-flight engineers. Developers that are actively interested in leaving their current companies and have good credentials can apply to be part of a batch of 150 or so candidates. Venture-backed companies like Dropbox and Quora will then bid to offer them interviews. (They usually have to be Series B-funded or later, with some evidence of traction.)
These companies try to lure engineers for interviews by sharing compensation details like salary and equity. Developers can pick and choose which interviews they want to take. If the engineer follows through and ends up taking a job with the company, the employer pays DeveloperAuction 15 percent of their base salary.
That fee ends up being a little bit less than what a standard recruiting agency might charge at 20 to 25 percent. DeveloperAuction also splits their bounty with the candidate, sending them 20 percent of the 15 percent commission on their first day of the job (plus some balloons and Dom Perignon).
A big question though is how far this model can scale. DeveloperAuction is already profitable, but how many high-caliber engineers are around? Tyle says that if the company ran three simultaneous auctions per day for entry-level, mid-level and then VP of engineering or CTO-like roles in 10 cities, DeveloperAuction could be a business that generates millions of dollars per month in revenue. During a recent October auction, engineering candidates attracted $78 million worth of offers, (but this isn’t actual cashflow since the candidates have to choose which interviews they want to accept and DeveloperAuction only gets their fee if the person ends up working at a new company in the system).
The screening process is still also very hands-on. In the first couple of auctions, the company limited candidates to those who had come from an elite school like MIT or had passed technical interviews at Google or Facebook. For the one this week, they’ve opened up applications to developers all over the U.S.
They’ve hired developers to go look through the GitHub repositories of candidates to check the quality of their work, and they look through resumes to see whether a prospective hire has spent time at a well-regarded tech company like Facebook. On top of that, they have to make sure the person is actually looking to leave, not just use a competitive offer to raise their own salary.
The model also seems relatively easy to copy and there have already been a few clones that have popped up. But Tyle says they have first-mover advantage and enough connections to make sure that they attract the very best instead of second- or third-tier quality candidates.
“The system that wins is the system that can curate the best engineers,” he said.
The company was founded when Matt Mickiewicz, who co-founded 99Designs and Flippa, and LiveOps founder Douglas Feirstein, ran into each other at a conference and started complaining about how difficult it was to hire decent engineers. They started thinking about how to apply auction and game theory to recruiting and from that, DeveloperAuction emerged.
They’re fundraising now, not necessarily because they need the capital (since the company is already profitable), but because they’d like more connections to the portfolio companies of VC firms.
“Many of the biggest firms have internal talent teams, and we can take their portfolios and help solve their recruiting needs,” Tyle said.
Here is the original post: DeveloperAuction Grabs Nearly 8K Applicants For Its First Auction Out Of Beta; Adds Thiel Fellow As COO
getTalent, a service that helps companies build a relationship with potential hires before they apply for a job, is about to get more useful at real-world recruiting events, thanks to the latest update to its mobile app, which includes the ability to scan and upload paper résumés directly into the getTalent system.
Like business cards, résumés are supposed to be dead or dying, yet they refuse to disappear — LinkedIn profiles are great, but if you’re meeting a recruiter in-person, say at a job fair, you still want to hand over something physical. Still, for large companies, dealing with résumés can be a pain. getTalent founder and CEO Abraham Shafi said that many of his customers just refuse to accept physical résumés, while others hire third-party services to transcribe them.
The getTalent app combines existing OCR and parsing technology. It uses OCR to translate the physical document into digital text, then parses the unstructured document to actually translate it into something that the getTalent system can understand. Shafi demonstrated the app for me last week — it took only a few seconds to go from scanning to a structured, digital document.
The résumé-scanning feature will be available as part of the larger getTalent service at no additional charge, Shafi said, and it has already been tested by some of the company’s customers, specifically JetBlue, Viacom, and Kaiser. The app feeds directly into getTalent’s recruiting “CRM” system, so for example, a recruiter could send an automatic email confirming that the résumé has been received, then continue to track the company’s relationship with that person.
I first wrote about getTalent when it came out of stealth mode in October. Since then, Shafi said the company has grown to more than 20 customers, including Walmart.
Yahoo! Sports and NBC Sports Group just announced a content alliance that will cover news, fantasy and video coverage of sports events. In a press release, the two said that the deal will combine “Yahoo! Sports’ original reporting expertise, coverage of big events, Rivals’ college content and popular fantasy sports products with NBC Sports Group’s growing digital assets, and significant television promotion and integration.”
This is the latest of several high-profile partnerships that Yahoo has announced since just before CEO Marissa Mayer took the helm. In a July interview with Ad Age before he quit the company, Jim Heckman, former chief of strategy and emerging businesses, said content deals are part of Yahoo’s bid to be seen as less “uncool” by younger users. Though Heckman left in August after Mayer came on board, Yahoo is still aggressively pursuing partnerships. In October, it signed a deals with CBS Television for video content from CBS’s celebrity gossip and entertainment news The Insider and investment tracking startup SigFig.
It’s also interesting to note that NBC parted ways in July with Microsoft after 16 years of working on their joint news venture MSNBC.com (which NBC kept).
Both Yahoo and NBC say they will continue to maintain separate sites and editorial control of their newsrooms and digital properties. They will collaborate on premium sports news and events coverage online and on the air.
According to the press release, the alliance covers:
As I’ve been digging deeper into companies, specifically their internal culture, one company that has stuck out to me is payments powerhouse Square. As I wrote last week, the company does some pretty interesting things to keep its team connected and on the same page. At the same time, Square is on an absolute hiring spree and is moving into a larger office in San Francisco in hopes of filling it up with talented people.
Today, the company has launched a redesigned “Careers” page, one that Square feels matches its culture, diversity and interactive environment. I’m told that the design was done internally, along with the video production. Square currently has 50 open positions, so it’s pulling out all of the stops to attract the best talent in the world. It would like to have 1,000 employees by next year, and that’s a huge goal.
When you visit the page, you’ll see videos about the design and engineering teams, both of which are the cornerstone of Square and its eye for aesthetic:
By leading off an engineering-centric recruiting page with “We’re building beautiful, reliable instruments of commerce,” it’s clear that Square knows exactly who they are and want to project that to the public. Specifically potential hires.
Jude Komuves, Vice President of People at Square (awesome title), shed some light on this new design and the company approach to hiring: “At Square, we put a tremendous amount of thought into everything we do, from our products and customer experience, to our people and culture. Our beautiful new careers page reflects who we are — innovative, collaborative, with an eye for details — and hopefully gives future team members real insight into what it’s like to work at Square.”
A few scrolls down each page uncover some fun interactive designs centered around what the company is looking for in an employee:
The page above has some cool animations and transitions that show off Square’s reader. It’s like finding a series of easter eggs.
While a web page certainly won’t be the defining factor for a talented designer or engineer during a job search, companies take recruiting very seriously. With Facebook, Google, Twitter and others in the Valley, any “extras” certainly don’t hurt. If you’re interested in mobile payments and changing the way that businesses operate for the better, the fact that Square has raised $341 million to date and just signed a huge deal to replace Starbucks cash registers won’t hurt your decision-making process either.
Part of the reason that services like Coursera, EdX, Udacity, Codecademy and Treehouse are so exciting is that they hint at a future when quality education will be accessible to the masses and be affordable. Collectively, they represent a change in the model as a whole, even if we have no idea what that change will mean two years from now — 10 years from now. Uncertainty aside, what we do know is that digital learning platforms today are making it easier to access information, to gain skills, to train for jobs and tests and to acquire knowledge in context and in personalized, engaging ways.
Much to the delight of Peter Thiel, as it becomes easier to learn the things we need to learn, measure progress, and acquire the skills we need to enter the workforce through digital channels — independent of the traditional educational system — the system itself is devalued. The college diploma, long believed to be the only way to get a job, will slowly be replaced by more accurate forms of credentialing — and the same for the resume.
Today, reputation platforms, like GitHub for developers, provide recruiters, companies, HR departments and everyone else, an equally (if not more) relevant way of identifying and assessing talent. Having co-founded four companies and sold three (the majority of which were education-focused), Jon Bischke knows this well.
After selling eduFire (an early MOOC, i.e. an early Coursera/Khan) in 2010, Jon became an Entrepreneur in Residence at Battery Ventures, where he was able to interview hundreds of entrepreneurs and founders, asking them, “How can I help you? What do you need? What’s slowing you down?” Unsurprisingly, nearly every respondent said that the thing they were having the most difficulty with while building their company: Hiring top-notch technical talent.
So, Bischke set out to develop a solution. Recruiting Squirl co-founder and product guy John McGrath, the two co-founded Entelo in July of last year to help companies large and small identify and recruit technical talent. Since then, the startup has remained in limited beta, providing occasional glimpses into the development process, but that officially ended this morning with Entelo’s official public launch.
If any of this sounds unfamiliar, Entelo’s mission is simple: To revolutionize recruiting with a software solution that gives HR departments, recruiters and really anyone looking to hire an easier way to search for and identify the right candidates.
Both high-growth, mature companies and startups are starved for great engineering and design talent. Finding the right people to fill those openings is a pain in the ass, especially when it involves going after passive candidates — those who aren’t publicly telegraphing that they’re looking for a new position. Entelo’s software, then, combines the signal of an active job seeker with the depth of the passive candidate pool in two core products.
The first, Entelo Sonar, enables recruiters to identify passive candidates who have jobs but might be looking for new opportunities. Essentially, the software uses algorithms to analyze 70+ variables to predict when candidates might be thinking about making a career change. Recruiters receive customizable email alerts that list relevant candidates who are, by Entelo’s measures, showing signs that they’re up for grabs.
Entelo Search, the company’s second product, is a searchable database of 300 million profiles that presents a three-dimensional look into each candidate based on data aggregated from GitHub, Stack Overflow, Twitter, Quora, Dribbble and GrabCad — to name a few. Each of these data funnels is easily accessible via icons, so recruiters can see how many questions a candidate is answering on Quora (and how well), what they happen to be tweeting about and what projects they’re showing on GitHub.
Recruiters actually get to learn about the people they’re trying to recruit in a way that allows them to personalize their outreach and actually treat them more like humans, rather than just a series of bullet points pulled from a resume. Bischke tells us that Entelo is combing tons of variables looking for signs that people might be open to a conversation about a new direction, taking into account contextual signals like, say, a big drop in stock, high-profile departures or layoffs, acquisitions, etc.
Oh, this person has been at Groupon for three years, the stock just tanked and these three companies just stole a handful of top execs? Well, then this engineer might just be brushing up the resume. This is just one lame example, and at this point Entelo is still a long way from guaranteeing that every candidate surfaces will be the perfect fit — or is primed and ready to jump ship. But given standard deviation and the uninformed, firehose, mass-email approach most companies take to recruiting, even an uptick in by a few percentage points in accuracy can make a huge difference. Or at least that’s what Entelo is hoping.
There are still a lot of stray profiles in that batch of 300 million, as the vast majority of those have not yet been filled out. But Bischke says that 6 million of those profiles (and counting) have been beefed up significantly. At present, Entelo is geared exclusively towards recruiters and companies, as individuals can not yet claim and curate their profiles. But it wouldn’t be surprising to see that functionality show up in future builds.
It may feel a bit creepy as an engineer to know that recruiters are mining your data to find out more about you and, in a way, spy on your progress, waiting for the right moment to pounce. But the value proposition can be just as high for potential job candidates as it is for recruiters, with the potential to turn a bad fit, stagnating, dead-end position into something that’s a better match. Hard to argue with that. And Bischke says that, so far, only two people have asked to be removed from Entelo’s database, a request the company will gladly accommodate when asked. (Entelo is looking to standardize the opt-out process soon.)
Entelo is not a prime mover in this space by any means, with more direct competition coming from sites like Gild and the Talent Bin, and scores of others trying to add more context (and really just optimize) the recruitment process, resumes, assessment and each part of the chain. The space is changing rapidly, as are the tools and platforms we use to build our brand and share our projects and work.
Entelo may not have it all figured out as of today, but positioning itself between those actively looking for new hires and the places where the most talented and skilled geeks hang out, is a smart move and allows Entelo to be a mediator. The more data is soaks up, the more signals it identifies that lead to hires, the more value it creates.
It’s a long road, but the endgame holds a lot of value.
More on Entelo here.