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But He Looked Good on Paper

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Web start-ups are having a hard time hiring good programmers.

When Michael Glukhovsky and Slava Akhmechet, the founders of RethinkDB, a database technology startup that changes how people store and access data, received $1.2 million in funding earlier this year, they began looking for their first employee. They turned to job boards. They recruited from their site. They tried to poach talent. They even wrote a blog post on their hiring woes and entered the how-to fray.

Their efforts didn't end there. They briefed a recruiter on their complex technology, but ultimately that was a waste of time—and dollars. And in four months, the hundreds of resumes, dozens of phone screens, and numerous four-hour meetings with viable candidates yielded no one who fit their criteria. So they started their company with students and post-grads eager to tackle a computer-science problem rather than become founding members at a startup.

Unemployment is chronic in much of the country, but in Silicon Valley, employees have their pick of jobs. In an economic climate that is the near converse of a recession, talent is scarce and star programmers have the upper hand. Pressured to solve the dull hiring puzzle, founders have started reconfiguring the way people get jobs. The result? Americans, more and more, will find work not via recruiters, job boards, and resumes, but by showcasing themselves online and undergoing less subjective automated assessments.

From Slate
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