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Hiring Hackathons v/s Traditional Recruiting Methods. What are the Key Differences?

A few years ago, hackathons started off as a means by which a company could be seen and heard. They were showcased as marketing platforms through which professionals and competitors could sit up and take notice of a product and the company that stood behind it. Don’t get us wrong, hackathons are still great marketing tools but in the recent years they have involved into so much more. Many companies are now looking to hackathons to recruit talent and solve their hiring problems.

The startup boom has meant that companies function very differently from how things unfolded even a decade ago. So, traditional methods of hiring are not proving to be adequate enough when it comes to bringing on board the right talent. This gap is now being filled up by hiring hackathons. Here’s a look at the differences between hiring hackathons and traditional recruiting methods, and why hiring hackathons have an edge. Live Demo

When you go the traditional route, hiring is all about making educated guesses when you go through a candidate’s resume or sit him or her down for an interview. However, at a hack, you can closely follow and study candidates and test what their capabilities are right in front of you. You can get a clear idea on what the person’s skill set is and what their potential weaknesses are. Hiring hackathons are truly live demos that reveal so much more when compared to an interview process.

Time Out

Work environments come with a good measure of pressure these days. There is no escaping it whether you work at a startup or a giant corporation. During a live hack, candidates are given clear problem statements and deadlines which prove to be a great way of deciphering how the candidate will work in a high-pressure situation. Of course, traditional interviews can shine a light on how a person copes when faced with a tough question but you are likely to get a better and more vivid picture at a hack.

Team Rules

Many hiring managers find that after a few months many new recruits are able to cope up with the work handed out but there’s a mismatch in attitudes. They either don’t get along with their team mates or shy away from contributing to team efforts. And this becomes a real problem since teamwork is fundamental to any organisation. While traditional hiring methods offer little or no scope to gauge a person’s ability to be a team player, this can be easily done at a hiring hack. Many hiring hacks encourage teams to participate making it easy for your to monitor how candidates interact with one and another.

Networking Drive

When you undertake a traditional hiring drive at your company, you focus only on the position you have to fill and interview candidates with a particular skill set. But at hiring hackathons, you get a varied bunch. One hack can attract all kinds of talent and expertise. And while you may not want to hire them all, it’s a great opportunity to network and connect with candidates who you can potentially hire in the near future.




1. Traditional way: You reach people currently looking for a job.
Recruitment with Hackathons: You also reach talents who are currently employed.

2. Traditional way: Evaluate candidates with short assignments.
Recruitment with Hackathons: Test candidates skills in the actual project.

3. Traditional way: Candidates take personality assessments.
Recruitment with Hackathons: You observe candidates in working environment.

4. Traditional way: You ask candidates how they handle pressure & stress.
Recruitment with Hackathons: You observe how candidates deal with stressful situation.

5. 4. Traditional way: You meet one person at a time.
Recruitment with Hackathons: Group meeting.

Rohit Gupta

Thanks Alex! Some useful points here.


You’re welcome, Rohit 🙂
What platforms do you use to organize your hackathons?

Rohit Gupta

Our very own website –


Right 🙂 🙂
In Poland hackathons are constantly evolving and more and more people are taking part in them.
If you are interested try to know your competition in this part of globe:

Rohit Gupta

Great will look into it. Thanks for sharing.

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Navya D'Souza

Navya is a Bangalore-based freelance writer. She’s a food loving, celebrity-obsessed, wise owl whose feathers you’ll find very hard to ruffle. In her short life, she has also managed to convince a few people and herself that she’s a hoot!