Today HackerPen is launched! What is HackerPen? It is a tool for live coding interviews that empowers companies and candidates to have a better technical interview experience.
I started HackerPen after my journey at a startup. As the head of engineering at the startup, I interviewed a lot of engineers. Recruiting engineers is difficult on many different fronts: it takes time to find talented people, and once we find those talented people, we often lose them due to a suboptimal interview experience.
One step of most technical interviews is to vet candidates’ coding skills. At the startup, we use CoderPad for this. Although I really enjoyed CoderPad’s core features, such as live coding and compiler, it wasn’t the ideal solution: the cost is prohibitively expensive for a resource-constraint business like us, and there wasn’t a clear feedback loop for the way candidates are evaluated.
A thought circled in my head: can there be a cheaper and better coding interview tool? During my time at the startup, I joked that if the startup doesn’t work out, I will start my own adventure building a coding interview software. Well, after I left the startup while taking my time off, I spent a month building out the first version of HackerPen.
I started out by building out the core features that I love about other coding interview tools — the live coding and compiling feature. This enables HackerPen to an MVP (minimal viable product), and it allowed me to get feedback from users.
As I iterate on the product, I center my approach by answering three fundamental questions:
- Can HackerPen be more inclusive to candidates? Let it be clearly written rubrics, hints, or a better UI interface. How can HackerPen empower candidates to be their best selves during a coding interview?
- Can HackerPen make interviewers’ life easier? How can the tool make the interview session successful for interviewers (e.g. pre-filtering questions, provide a wide range of relevant questions), so that they can hire faster and more efficiently?
- Can HackerPen be more economical for companies? Small businesses are resource-constraint, can the service be priced at a point where it’s financially feasible to HackerPen staff, but also more economical to companies?
It’s definitely exciting to launch a product, but that’s only the first baby step! Right now I’m actively interviewing users and try out different go-to-market strategies (publishing a blog post is one of them). If you have any feedback, please reach out!