Hatchways (YC S19) – Internships Instead of Interviews

Hi HN,

My name is Jaclyn Ling and I'm the co-founder/CEO of Hatchways (https://hatchways.io). We make it easier to get your first job.

More specifically, we help talented engineers who may not shine in traditional recruitment processes (resume + multiple interview processes) get opportunities to prove themselves on the job. We do this by using a practical skill-based assessment as a proxy for the resume, and then matching them to startups for paid internships, as a way to reduce full-time interview processes.

As a new grad without relevant work experience, or as a career shifter without a relevant degree, getting a first job is very painful. You spend months preparing for interviews that don’t reflect the job, you send hundreds of resumes out that go unanswered, and when you actually get interviews, getting through five rounds successfully is like a lottery.

I’ve been interested in this problem for a long time because of my own early struggles trying to get a job. I graduated from a foreign university (Canada), had a subpar GPA, and I don’t perform well in high-pressured style interviews. Somehow, I networked my way into getting interviews at all my “dream” companies. But I got rejected at every one of them and to this day, I’ve never gotten a job I’ve interviewed for. It deeply affected my confidence.

However, since then I was fortunate enough to start and exit a startup. We built a fashion app that made personal outfit recommendations based on your likes, which eventually evolved into a chatbot that provided recommendations to hundreds of thousands of teens. We got acquired, and when I was working for the company that acquired us, I finally realized that the interviews I'd failed at hadn’t reflected my ability to do well on the job.

Mainstream hiring processes are biased towards those who went to great schools, had high GPAs, are native-English speaking, have worked at brand name companies, are extroverts and great networkers, etc. But there are so many talented people who don't fit that profile. We're excited to work on ways of hiring that give them a better chance.

Our practical skill-based assessments simulate tasks they’d actually be doing on the job (e.g. project-based work). Engineers on our end review the job seeker’s code to pick up signals that are important for on-the-job such as: ability to follow a spec, code quality and how quickly the task is completed. An employer pays 90% of the cost only when a full-time hire is made, so ensuring that candidates have job-ready skills is crucial for us. We've found that it works to give people the opportunity to prove themselves on the job: 80% of our internships have resulted in full-time employment immediately after.

So far, we have helped talented engineers get software jobs who would have otherwise been overlooked: baristas and Uber drivers turned engineers, candidates with no local experience (from Turkey, India, Russia, Ethiopia, Brazil etc.), and those with non-CS degrees (linguistics, philosophy, economics, MBA’s, dentistry, mechanical engineering etc.)

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about how we can improve this system and how we can best help talented people who shine once they get a chance to prove themselves. We would love to hear your personal experiences in this space too. Thank you!

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