Startup sources talent from coding comp

Bigcommerce hopes to recruit 20 people from this year's Codehire Cup

Finding people who are the right fit for a startup environment can be tricky. Australian e-commerce startup Bigcommerce is seeking "who really love to code", according to Soren Harner.

And as an alternative to the staid recruitment processes of more established companies, Bigcommerce is hoping to use the Codehire Cup contest for programmers as a way of finding people with the right skills and outlook to join the company's dev team.

"This is the first time we've done it, but we think that this can really get some good results," said Harner, the company's vice-president of engineering.

"In the past we've done similar things, recruiting off the back of hackathon and weekend coding things," Harner said.

Traditional recruitment practices are challenging and time consuming, he added. It's also hard "to find the people who are the right fit for an innovative, productive culture of people who really love to code."

A coding competition also acts as a method of pre-screening before any formal interview process.

"The types of people that sign up for a competition, they're backing themselves in terms of 'Yeah, I really think I can code' and so that's means that there's a good chance they'll be pretty good," Harner said.

"They're putting some skin in the game, so to speak."

It's also a way of finding up-and-coming developers, he added.

"When you read a resume, you judge a candidate based on their experience doing different things. But for up-and-coming talent, like people who are looking for internships or graduates or people with just a couple of years' experience, there's not really enough on the resume to really discriminate between who's got the potential and who doesn't."

Harner said in his experience there aren't enough graduates coming out of "strong" computer science programs.

"There are people who get kind of lighter-weight business IT degrees, but they're not the people who really are going to be building software products that scale to billions of dollars in gross merchandise value," he said. "Really good people" are in high demand.

"There's a belief that if you're an up-and-coming talent in terms of doing a startup or wanting to work in a startup environment, that you have to go to the US to do it. We like to debunk that and say 'Nah there's growing startup movement here'...

"[There are] a lot of people whose career goal is to go and work in Silicon Valley. My response to that would be: You don't have to. There are opportunities without leaving Australia to do that."

Bigcommerce is hoping to find at least 20 potential hires out of Codehire Cup 2013. The cup finishes on 13 July, with $10,000 worth of prizes up for grabs.

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