We are college students, and thus constantly in the throes of the job search process. We wanted to create a service that would improve the experience for both potential employers and employees, hopefully leading to a better match. Static resumes are the de facto standard, yet they feel outdated in today’s modern age. And for good reason - the first resume was created by Leonardo da Vinci in 1482, and the format hasn’t changed much since. We thought this would be a fitting challenge for Hack Harvard 2016’s theme of “hack the past.”
What is it
As involved as it is, the hiring process today is still incredibly impersonal. Up until the personal interview stage, a potential employer may have only seen your static resume and run-of-the-mill cover letter. Building one’s brand through a personal website has been touted by many recruiters as vitally important, yet it remains an arduous process. With Hire Hydrant, we aim to make the process a matter of minutes instead of days. It will open the floodgates to many new employers by serving them a tailored experience when they visit your personal webpage. Hire Hydrant automatically recognizes when a potential employer visits your page and discreetly serves them a custom campaign that you’ve created to market yourself.
Hire Hydrant allows users to create an account or login with LinkedIn and enter all of their relevant data like work experience, skills, etc (This data would ideally be pulled from LinkedIn in a matter of minutes but due to LinkedIn’s limited API access for non-partner’s, this data has to be manually hardcoded in for now.) This data is then automatically formatted into a clean, attractive layout which could easily supplant a personal website. The user can then create custom campaigns for each potential employer, which will be served automatically. Hire Hydrant detects the IP address of anyone who visits your page and searches through companies’ public registrations to find matches and silently route them to a customized version of your website that is tailored to their specific organization. In this customized page, you can speak directly to the employer in page in the form of a hybrid resume / cover letter page.
We built our webapp using Meteor, with a React frontend and MongoDB database. We used Flow Router for dynamic routing. We used the IP API to query for information about the location of the visitor. We split up tasks between eachother.
Challenges we ran into
We encountered a number of challenges throughout the development process. Many of these speed bumps came from lack of familiarity with the frameworks and libraries used. Coding in React.js is done declaratively, which simplifies many tasks but requires a large paradigm shift for those used to imperative languages. React.js also limits the libraries that can be used, which, when combined with the added layer of complexity and abstraction from Meteor.js, meant that simple tasks either took longer than they should have or couldn’t be implemented at all. We were also unable to get the DNS on our Domain.com domain to switch over in time.
What we learned
We learned a lot about developing with Meteor and React, and the pros and cons of both. This experience also taught us a lot about working through obscure issues - we found ourselves digging through the source code of libraries looking for solutions.
We were excited about the overall design of the website, especially the branding. The logo and name are both eye-catching and memorable. We were also proud of the site’s ability to recognize and categorize visitors by IP address. We are proud of the software architecture on the backend, and the functional user interfaces on the frontend. All in all, this was our first hackathon doing purely hardware, and we definitely had a great time learning.
What's next for Hire Hydrant
There were a few features we were planning on implementing during the hackathon that didn’t make it in, as well as others we thought about for the future. Chief among the planned features was organizing skills, achievements, and the like based on employer. This would make campaigns more robust and differentiate them even more from traditional cover letters.