How Compose uses Interviewed and Slack to automate blind-hiring


Many a word has been written about hiring practices. At Compose, we implement blind-hiring and evaluate candidates based on anonymized work samples. To many applicants, this is a forward thinking and refreshing approach. To others, they lament exposing themselves to the risk of investing their time in a cause that could be for naught. While not everyone will see eye-to-eye on the methodology, in a technical world there is one thing we can all agree on: automation is excellent. In this article, we will show you why Compose dropped our home-built hiring tool to adopt Interviewed.

When our advertisements refresh on Stack Overflow or there is a new Who is Hiring post on HackerNews, we brace ourselves for a flood of eager candidates. Within this vast human tsunami is our next friend and colleague. We would love for this person to a have positive and welcoming experience from the moment they express interest in working alongside us.

We empathize with the job seeker. Looking for a new job can be a frustrating rollercoaster of emotions. It is important to Compose that each candidate feels they are given a fair attempt at joining our ranks. It should feel like there are spirited humans on the other side of the application process. Responding to each applicant in a timely, warm and respectful manner is a difficult task for even well organized teams. To quell the storm, we embraced the helping hand of automation. Thankfully, automation does not have to be cold.

Interviewed allows you to take your hiring process and break it down into 'pipeline stages'. With an organized dashboard, you can see real-time hiring statistics and view candidates as they move from stage-to-stage. At Compose, there are three stages within our process:

The most delightful benefit of adopting the Interviewed system comes from automating the "grunt work". The less time we spend mucking around with organizing candidates, the more time we can spend making thoughtful, passionate, and respectful pitches about Compose to those willing to commit to our group. After configuring Slack triggers and automating a few actions within Interviewed, this is what we see as candidates come knocking on our glass door.

A candidate appears! Radical_Welcome

Within our hiring channel in Slack, we see each time a candidate has applied for a specific role. This alert tells us that an individual has completed their application - database story included. Following this alert, we read their story and click a button to move them into the 'Work Sample' stage. An email is sent automatically to the candidate inviting them to progress with a link to their next task. Alongside, a warm welcome to a casual video chat (which we stress is not an interview), booked at the candidates leisure. We accentuate the 'open door' nature of our process and suggest they respond to the email with any questions or comments -- or just to have a casual chat.

Work sample complete!


We advocate blind-hiring. A fair shake, no matter where you are from, what your beliefs are, or what you look like. When candidates complete the sample they whoosh into their respective roles' working Slack channel. At this point, the submissions have been anonymized. Support Engineers see Groovy Candidates zoom by in #support. Writers see them coast by in the #writingroom. Everyone has things to do and each sample requires 3 folks to fill out the criteria.

As these notifications arise, graders can click one button to begin providing swift judgements. The easier we can make it on graders, the quicker the overall process will be for the candidate. Clicking this link brings up the 'Reviewer View', a simplified view where anonymous candidates appear at random for evaluation. Candidates will keep appearing until there are no pending candidates left. If the scores are high enough, proceed! If not, we respond with a personal email.

Great scores!


Upon receiving three excellent scores, the candidate will automatically proceed to the third and final stage: the 'Work Day'. The trigger notifies an individual from Compose that they should reach out for scheduling. Few candidates make it this far. At this stage, all contact is expedient and personal. Similar to the work sample, once the day is complete we evaluate based on pre-defined criteria. If they achieve a near perfect score and then on to an offer.

By partnering up with Interviewed, we have made our hiring process clearer and calmer. Gone are the days of hacking long hours into exasperated responses to a never-ending crush of applicants. We no longer need to nag individuals to grade candidates. Statistics once requiring a week-long analysis are now collected, organized and presented automatically.

Initial concerns that automation would dampen the warmth of our process were washed away once we realized we had more time to respond to and talk with candidates about the wondrousness that is Compose. Looking for a new set of fun problems to work on? How about applying? We have time to chat.

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Evan Kelverson “This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” - Alan Watts Love this article? Head over to Evan Kelverson’s author page to keep reading.

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