Technical hiring should respect candidates and protect engineering bandwidth. That's what Wes Winham Winler set out to do.
Wes was the head of engineering for a technology company. His biggest challenge during those 10 years wasn't software. It was something unexpected: hiring.
Hiring for technical work takes time. A lot of it.
No matter how much time he spent, Wes sometimes got it wrong. College degrees and work histories were imprecise signals — none of it really separated mediocre from exceptional.
Wes became desperate as his company scaled. He needed a way to differentiate between the candidates who looked good on paper vs the ones who had the grit and aptitude to make a big impact.
“When we formed Woven in 2017, we set out to eliminate the gap between talent and opportunity, so everyone can find a team where they flourish.”
Whether it’s dodgeball or the Fortune 500, team quality determines winners and losers. That means it’s hard to overvalue hiring.
Despite its importance, not much has improved with hiring decisions lately. A 1970’s hiring manager unfrozen today would still recognize the current process for most companies: classified ads became online job boards, paper resumes went digital, written screeners became online multiple-choice assessments, and interviews happen on zoom now.
Really, nothing changed…existing processes just became more efficient.
What did change is technology, which created massive demand for experienced engineering talent. It’s a candidate-driven market now, and most candidates aren’t interested in getting whiteboarded or ghosted.
Our mission is simple. We unlock human ingenuity and purpose. We create effective software teams by allowing outsiders to join teams with the ease of insiders.
When Wes was stuck on vetting engineering candidates, he read all the industrial organizational literature he could find. Then he asked old grizzled engineering managers for practical advice. That’s when it clicked.
The data pointed to a first principle: define a success criteria rubric, and then design samples of work that will be part of the job to see if candidates meet the criteria.
Wes tried technical assessments, but they didn’t evaluate core engineering abilities like systems thinking and debugging. It felt like he was trying to pick professional golfers by asking them to play putt-putt. Also, most of the experienced engineers were turned off by a college level coding challenge.
Take-home assignments, on the other hand, proved useful. They were also time-intensive for candidates to complete and for Wes’s team to evaluate. Plus, scoring was inconsistent across the engineers who graded responses.
Woven was built to address these technical interview challenges. We designed a test to evaluate the “jagged” strengths and weaknesses of engineering talent with efficiency and predictive accuracy. Growth software teams use the Woven assessment as their secret superpower to run inclusive hiring that outperforms the old tech recruiting playbook.
At Woven, we’ve made it our mission to relieve engineering managers of the burden that Wes felt. Woven technical assessments cut through noise to give you a clear signal on the thing that every engineering manager is searching for: good problem-solvers.