One software engineer’s quest to boost diversity in tech companies led her to develop a job interview platform that helps recruiters remove bias.
Aline Lerner spent her formative years as a student at MIT studying computer science and neuroscience. After graduation, burnout set in, and instead of seeking software engineering jobs, she sought out restaurant work.
Her time spent as a chef taught her a lot, but it was the hiring process that stuck with her, even after she returned to the world of software engineering.
“There’s no real formal interview. There’s no real consideration of resumes. You show up and bring your knives and they throw you into the thick of it,” Lerner said.
That was 10 years ago. Now she is applying those same principles to the engineering sector. Her recruitment startup, interviewing.io, has one goal: to make sure the best person for the role gets the job.
Rather than relying on resumes, interviewing.io uses anonymised interviews powered by real-time voice masking software to connect qualified candidates with tech companies on the startup’s roster, such as Facebook, Uber, Amazon, Airbnb and more.
Wannabe software engineers conduct free trial interviews with practising engineers, who grade them on various performance factors such as problem-solving skills, language knowledge and more. The strongest performers unlock the ability to book real interviews for open positions.
Lerner said she hopes this method will increase diversity in tech companies and create more opportunities for women, people of colour and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
“We just think good people should get jobs, no matter who they are,” Lerner said.
“We’re hoping to close the diversity gap where it begins.”
Almost 40 per cent of engineers using the platform are people Lerner categorises as ‘nontraditional’ engineering candidates – namely women, people of colour and people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.
That figure is at least twice as good as current recruitment numbers at most tech companies, said Lerner.
“We just think good people should get jobs, no matter who they are.”
The company recently raised $3 million in seed funding. Part of this will go towards its newly launched university vertical, which offers free interview practice for young engineers and uses data – rather than the prestige associated with factors like where someone went to school – to rank students.
“We give out free practice to students and use their performance to identify top performers,” said a blog post on the company’s website.
It also stated this process can help companies and startups staff their entire internship class for little to no cost, as it removes the need for career fairs.