Losing—and gaining—trust in the interviewing process
“I did tons of hiring pre-Karat, and I always felt like I was great at it,” said Bill Beckler, VP of Engineering at Stella Connect. “You come up with these technical puzzles for candidates and think they are the perfect predictor of success.”
Beckler, who previously led software engineering and machine learning teams at Travelocity and Lastminute.com, joined Stella Connect in early 2018 and began scaling the engineering team.
During the hiring process, he wondered if his gut-feel approach had ever caused him to pass on talented, qualified candidates.
“How many false negatives could I have actually hired?,” he asked himself. “How many people could I have hired but didn’t, because I had so much faith in this pet test?”
Beckler’s process was also time consuming, and it wasn’t reaching Stella Connect’s hiring targets. He needed a more holistic, data-driven approach.
“The reason that we started working with Karat is not the reason we love it today,” said Beckler. “We started because we didn’t trust our technical interviewing process. We couldn’t get consensus on a single candidate as a team. We were also conscious that there were so many ways to get it wrong.”
The high opportunity cost of developer time
“If you’re hiring developers, that means you have too much work for your existing dev team. You don’t want to be spending all your precious developer time interviewing people. But that’s what we were doing—and we couldn’t afford it.”
Beckler said the inability to reach a consensus was also costly.
“Every single time we had an interview, we had this ambiguity that spurred lots of debates about what makes a good developer,” he said.
“This is a good question to ask yourself, but it’s not something you want to be spending half of your team’s time on.”
Before working with Karat, Beckler’s team spent three to four hours interviewing each candidate. Now with Karat’s help, they spend no more than an hour and a half with each candidate. They cut their interview time by 75 percent.1
“Developers are paid well. Whatever they are getting paid, the value to our company is significantly higher, because what they are building the company,” he said. “All the activities you do will end up going nowhere if you can’t stay ahead of the market.”