Who Can You Recruit With Hackathons?


Nov 07, 2018


Hackathon recruitment strategies are the new emerging trend in HR world. To successfully hire a programmer today is not an easy feat. In a candidate driven market, employers need to rethink their approach to sourcing new talents. But are software developers the only group you can hire with hackathons?

What's a hackathon?

A hackathon is a type of competition that, historically, was aimed at the software developers crowd. With time, however, the formula became more flexible and started to be adopted to various use cases diversifying it immensely. The general idea behind it is to hold a competition in a predefined time frame, with the goal being creating solutions, products, or outlining elaborate plans for technology to be used later on, ensuring these conform to the requirements set by the host of such contest. Hackathons can be organized with different purposes.

The recruitment aspect comes with prizes. Just like with every competition, rewarding the best participants is an expected element. A recruitment hackathon will, therefore, gather candidates for a given position as participants, and their trophy will be a contract in the organization behind that hackathon.

Who can be recruited with hackathons?

Are you looking for a balance between male and female employees in your company? Spotify organized a hackathon with an equal number of both groups among participants. Instead of hiring a specialist in a profession, you can simply recruit a human.


Every corporation needs analytics experts to properly forecast necessary steps for their company. NBA, while not immediately associated with hackathons, does hold such competitions. Their goal is to find the best talents developing analytical tools used by the organization. They hold these events and recruit with hackathons year after year.


The Money20/20 Hackathon by PayPal is an event like no other, with sponsors varying each year. Those, aside from offering monetary prizes are given the chance to recruit FinTech specialists from the crowds of participants, but in 2015 PayPal themselves decided to offer a position in their company as the main prize.

National security

It’s not an everyday occurrence that Department of Defense of United States offers a job publicly, but when it does, it’s through a hackathon formula. They sought specialists in engineering self-driving vehicles to recruit with hackathon called The DARPA Grand Challenge.

How to organize a recruitment hackathon?

It is clear that hackathons can be used not only to hire a programmer, but talented professionals in nearly any field, all that is needed is a clever idea. To source the best talents you need to properly organize the event.

Promote your hackathon

To recruit the best candidates your event needs to be made known. Bigger crowds increase the chance for the perfect candidate to attend your hackathon and for you to recruit them.

Offer attractive prizes

The chances are, the biggest talents, the ones you are looking for, are already employed and not in search for a new job. You can still recruit them, but for those people to take part in your hackathon you need to offer attractive prizes, be it monetary or otherwise, in addition to position in your company.

Reach out to a recruitment platform

Chances are recruitment hackathons are not something your company is occupied with on a regular basis, so the infrastructure and the know-how might not be there. At ChallengeRocket.com we can take care of your recruitment hackathon. We’ve worked with global brands such as Microsoft, Oracle, or NVIDIA. It’s time for your company to become a part of the family!

The benefits of recruiting with hackathons mainly include being able to hire specialists who otherwise would not be seeking new positions. In addition to that, however, gaining access to new, innovative solutions, and promotion of businesses and their products are equally as important. Nearly every field can utilize those challenges to source the best candidates. Let your business start recruiting with hackathons as well!