A new kind of hackathon

 Last weekend we had the pleasure of sponsoring University Hacker Olympics. Unlike your typical hackathons, this one emphasized connecting University students with industry professionals.

Personally, I thought the event was innovative in the field of recruiting. In the traditional interview process, sometimes great candidates were dismissed because their shyness or nervousness inhibited them from performing. 1-1 interviews can be intimidating, we’ve all been there. From the interviewer’s perspective, asking candidates to solve problems does not provide any valuable insight into how pleasant it would be to work with them in a working environment.

This hackathon tries to solve this problem by putting potential candidates and interviewers into teams where they could work together in a constructive and creative environment. I was part of a team that built MockTok, a site where students can practice interviews with live video. During the process, I was able to observe how each student solved problems, their coding style, and their sense of ownership in each of their roles. All in all, I had a great experience working with Alex from UCLA, Chris from RPI, Nikko from RIT, and Cameren from NCSU.

At the end of the hackathon, every team had a working demo. It’s one of the few hackathons where there were no mockups, no hard-coding, and definitely no powerpoints. It was 40 live working demos of applications that each team built in 24 hours.

This is the first recruiting hackathon that I’ve been to and it was a smashing success. I believe that there will be many more like this to engage students with respectable companies.

Video highlight of the event (I wore bunny ears)