Vishal Biyani

23 Aug 2012

StackOverflow Careers in India: Why this Kolaveri?

StackOverflow and StackOverflow Careers

I am huge fan of StackOverflow. I am nowhere to a good programmer envisioned by Joel, but from the day I have found StackOverflow I have fallen in love with it. I have used in past other Q&A websites which were similar but paid and charged insane money, but the quality of answers was rather poor! The day I noticed that they have a “Careers 2.0” or “StackOverflow careers” website, I admired the concept even more. The basic premise is like this: The StackOverflow Careers is an invitation only careers website. If you don’t have invitations you have to work your way through by either getting enough score or having enough repositories created by you on Github etc. The basic idea is that you should be good in some area and there should be a way to prove it using one of these measures! A very genuine and nice idea IMO. You show that you have done some work and you will be granted access to an exclusive club: “StackOverflow Careers” (For each system there are people who abuse it, but frankly, I don’t care about them anyway). I was under impression that I would have to do something astronomical in order to get there: considering the fact that I was new on StackOverflow and didn’t have any repo on Github etc so far! My best bet was StackOverflow score so targeting a number like 5-8K sounded a good enough way to get into it.

Somehow though I got access to StackOverflow CareersĀ  much earlier than I had expected. I don’t know exact algorithms, but being in top 20% on one of topics in terms of answers or something like that might have helped. Anyway that’s just half the story

StackOverflow Careers and Indian employers

The first thing I did when I got access to StackOverflow careers account was to check for companies in India using StackOverflow Careers and guess how many companies in India are using ? Come on guess! I found just ONE and JUST ONE: ThoughtWorks!

I am not saying that everyone has to use StackOverflow for their talent hunt, but in today’s world I think it’s a quite reliable way to find good candidates (I don’t personal experience with doing this, but I believe in the paradigm!) When I twitted about this, one of my friends asked me which big companies use it in US? Well not all of them but I found quite a few like Google, Amazon, VMWare etc! So one of possible reasons might be marketing of StackOverflow in India and Indian employers!

Anyway here is my take on this:

  • Traditional methods of interview are outdated in today’s world IMHO
  • A old school style “question answer” interview is not good enough or might give wrong judgement.
  • Instead the new school methods some of which are already employed by some companies are:
    • Coding interviews and actual problem solving interviews
    • A person’s presence on web in terms of StackOverflow answers, Github code repositories, blogs etc
  • While new methods or for that sake any method can not be completely perfect: but we are definitely at a point in time when traditional question-answer method needs some change.