HackerRank Co-Founder Vivek Makes It His Job To Interview Everyone

TC_DisruptVivek Ravisankar is the co-founder of HackerRank, a coding test platform used by programmers to hone their skills and by companies to screen programmers as part of their recruiting process. HackerRank’s tool, CodePair, allows developers and interviewers to code collaboratively in real time.

Vivek built CodePair after declaring that technical interviews remain broken. Earlier this year, he told TechCrunch that the tool will allow for more accurate assessments of technical candidates than the typical whiteboard or phone interview.

Vivek is currently hiring for dozens of open positions at HackerRank. As part of our “Founder’s Role in Recruiting” series, he shares his insight and personal experience taking ownership of filling the high-priority positions.

How involved have you been in recruiting, and how is that changing as the company grows? 

I take the top 2 high priority roles and it’s my job to work most of the weekend to ensure I’m able to at least line up 3 solid interviews for each of the roles during the following week. We are 45 people right now and will be ~100 6-8 months from now. Things are growing super fast but I interview everyone for every role before making an offer – Larry & Sergey did this for 10 years at Google, so it should be possible.

What’s been your biggest recruiting challenge? (besides “there aren’t enough engineers!”) and what cool things have you done to overcome that?

There are tons of engineers. The whole concept of “not enough engineers” is overblown and hyped in Silicon Valley. If you’re only going to contact engineers who graduated from Stanford and have worked/ are working at Google, Facebook, or Twitter, that pool of candidates is obviously going to be limited and small.


Our recruiting has mostly been inbound – that’s the most sustainable way of doing it. You need to be in places (online & offline) where your potential hires are going to be and sell your vision of the company. Hiring can’t happen overnight. The thought has to be constantly seeded inside them for a long time and then when they decide to switch, you’ll be the first choice. There’s no formula to hire great talent but I do know that the sustainable way to do it is making your recruiting inbound.

What is the relationship between your recruiting team and their hiring managers?

Recruiting is a combined decision. At HackerRank, we only move forward with candidates that have received a “strong yes” from the entire team. So, this naturally results in a unanimous decision among the whole company.

How do you report on recruiting?

Two things for every role:
1. Number of people potentially interested in a role
2. Median time to make a decision (yes/no)

Increase the first one and decrease the second one and you’ve got a great recruiting organization going.

How do you build a recruiting culture? What’s one thing you do regularly that promotes that culture?

We have a really, really strong customer-focused culture in the company.

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