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YC-Funded Interview Street Streamlines The Search For Great Programmers

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Talk to any tech company and they’ll tell you that hiring quality programmers is an incredibly difficult task — the smaller companies often have a hard time getting in front of the best candidates, and the large and ‘hot’ companies are inundated with applications, many of them sub par.

Interview Street is a new Y Combinator-funded startup that’s setting out to fix both of these problems — and to save everyone involved a whole lot of time. The service, which comes out of beta today, makes it easy for tech companies to test applicants’ skills using puzzles (and it makes it easy for potential applicants to figure out who’s hiring).

Head to the site and you’ll see that it’s broken into two sections: one for ‘Challenges’, and another for ‘Recruit’. The first is catering to engineers looking to land jobs at companies like Dropbox, Facebook, or Airbnb. Sign in and you’ll be able to take one of three coding challenges, which you’ll complete using a web-based IDE (you can copy and paste your code into the app if you’d like). The web-based code checker supports C, C++, C#, Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, Haskell, MySQL, and Bash, and generates results immediately.

Click the second tab and you’ll be in the half of the site that’s geared toward recruiters. Here, companies can create their own tests, and they can manage their dashboard of applicants.

Right now the coding puzzles on Interview Street are pretty standard, but cofounder Vivek Ravisankar says that in the future, the company wants to offer more ‘real-world’ tests — things like deploying an application to AWS, or integrating functions from Twitter’s API into an iPhone app. Ravisankar explains that the programming puzzles prospective engineers take as part of their application process often don’t apply directly to the roles they’d be filling, and Interview Street wants to change that.

At launch Interview Street is offering three puzzles to solve, and it will be adding more in the coming weeks . The site will also soon be allowing companies to upload their own puzzles (so, for example, Facebook could upload its own puzzle and test cases that all prospective applicants would have to complete).

Of course, many tech companies already offer puzzles to potential applicants. But Ravisankar says that the typical submission process for these is clunky, with applicants sending attachments that have to be manually tested by an engineer. Interview Street automates this process. So far the service is in use by major companies including Facebook and a bevy of Y Combinator alums like Dropbox, Airbnb, and Justin.tv.

The service offers a 30 day free trial. After that plans begin at $99 a month, with pricing scaling upward depending on how many tests applicants are taking (the higher-end plans also let you take advantage of a ‘live playback’ mode, so you can see an applicant’s thought/coding process, and a white labeling feature).

Competitors to Interview Street include CodeEval (covered here) and Gild (covered here).