Protocol | Workplace

Site allowing you to ‘skip the interview’ launches, then promptly shuts down

Skip The Interview's big idea is that people should pay for their coworkers to get hired. People on Twitter did not react well.

The "How it Works" page of the currently defunct Skip The Interview website

The main idea behind the site, called "Skip the Interview," was to partner with companies who would set sponsorship amounts for job postings.

Image: skip.the.interview

A company proposing job-seekers ask past coworkers to pay money and "sponsor" them for a new job launched, and rather immediately shut down, its website on Wednesday.

The main idea behind the site, called "Skip the Interview," was to partner with companies who would set sponsorship amounts for job postings. The job-seeker would then ask current or former coworkers to contribute to this sponsorship fund, controlled by Skip The Interview. The first person to raise the funds gets the job.

It seems that Skip The Interview thinks people are willing to back up job references with money. Quite a few people on Twitter and Reddit disagree.

According to screenshots of the now-defunct website, the CEO and co-founder is named Chris Evans. The company's Frequently Asked Questions page provided answers to questions like "Isn't this discriminatory?" and "Is this secure? Are my funds guaranteed?" To the question, "Isn't this discriminatory?", they claimed it was "the opposite" because some people don't perform well during interviews and because the sponsorship amount is based on the desired salary. A letter from Evans claimed long interview processes don't consistently lead to good candidates, saying meaningful references are the way to go.

The company released a job application for their first employee, Lead Product Designer, a day ago on the website Grow Remotely. The posting asks the applicant to put Skip The Interview's idea into action. If the applicant lasts two months, the sponsors get back double their money, and if they don't, the sponsors lose it all.

After being roasted on Twitter, an account with the handle @skipinterview responded to some concerns on developer Angie Jones' thread. "We decided to take the site down, as we clearly didn't talk to enough people before launching, and are going to talk to a lot more people before moving forward," the account wrote.

The account later tweeted on the thread: "Hi everyone. This is Chris the founder. Our goal is definitely not to be discriminatory in any way. We actually won't do junior roles for that reason. We think anyone who has worked in a role for 3+ years before can raise funds from colleagues."

An account named "Chris_Evans_1112" also responded to a negative thread on Reddit, saying the company had launched solely to receive feedback.

According to their website, Skip The Interview is processing the negative feedback and refining their pitch. It appears they have more research to do.

Protocol | Policy

Transparency can help fix social media — if anyone can define it

The latest buzzword in tech policy promises to give users more insight into and power over social media services, but mainly signals just how much more we need to figure out.

Social media companies, lawmakers and tech skeptics all say they want more visibility into how the sites work.

Image: dole777/Unsplash; Protocol

It's the one and only thing nearly everyone in tech and tech policy can agree on. Facebook and Twitter want it, as does the Facebook Oversight Board. Whistleblower Frances Haugen suggested it to Congress, and several lawmakers who heard her testimony agreed. Even the FTC is on board.

The vogue in tech policy is "transparency," the latest buzzword for addressing concerns about social media's reach, breadth and social effects. Companies, academics, regulators and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle all embrace transparency as a cure-all, or at least a necessary first step. But that agreement obscures a deeper problem: The various camps all have widely differing notions both of what the vague term actually means, and also what the public should do with any insights increased transparency might lead to.

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Ben Brody

Ben Brody (@ BenBrodyDC) is a senior reporter at Protocol focusing on how Congress, courts and agencies affect the online world we live in. He formerly covered tech policy and lobbying (including antitrust, Section 230 and privacy) at Bloomberg News, where he previously reported on the influence industry, government ethics and the 2016 presidential election. Before that, Ben covered business news at CNNMoney and AdAge, and all manner of stories in and around New York. He still loves appearing on the New York news radio he grew up with.

The way we work has fundamentally changed. COVID-19 upended business dealings and office work processes, putting into hyperdrive a move towards digital collaboration platforms that allow teams to streamline processes and communicate from anywhere. According to the International Data Corporation, the revenue for worldwide collaboration applications increased 32.9 percent from 2019 to 2020, reaching $22.6 billion; it's expected to become a $50.7 billion industry by 2025.

"While consumers and early adopter businesses had widely embraced collaborative applications prior to the pandemic, the market saw five years' worth of new users in the first six months of 2020," said Wayne Kurtzman, research director of social and collaboration at IDC. "This has cemented collaboration, at least to some extent, for every business, large and small."

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Kate Silver

Kate Silver is an award-winning reporter and editor with 15-plus years of journalism experience. Based in Chicago, she specializes in feature and business reporting. Kate's reporting has appeared in the Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic's CityLab, Atlas Obscura, The Telegraph and many other outlets.

Protocol | Workplace

HPE joins IBM in threatening unvaccinated workers with unpaid leave

Biden's rules for federal contractors leave little wiggle room when it comes to vaccine mandates.

As a federal contractor, HPE faces a strict vaccine mandate.

Photo: Allison Levitsky/Protocol

Hewlett Packard Enterprise just made its employee vaccine mandate tougher to dodge.

The IT company told its workforce on Wednesday afternoon that the COVID-19 vaccination is now a "condition of employment" at HPE, even for remote workers.

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Allison Levitsky
Allison Levitsky is a reporter at Protocol covering workplace issues in tech. She previously covered big tech companies and the tech workforce for the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Allison grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from UC Berkeley.
Hirsh Chitkara
Hirsh Chitkara (@ChitkaraHirsh) is a researcher at Protocol, based out of New York City. Before joining Protocol, he worked for Business Insider Intelligence, where he wrote about Big Tech, telecoms, workplace privacy, smart cities, and geopolitics. He also worked on the Strategy & Analytics team at the Cleveland Indians.
Hirsh Chitkara
Hirsh Chitkara (@ChitkaraHirsh) is a researcher at Protocol, based out of New York City. Before joining Protocol, he worked for Business Insider Intelligence, where he wrote about Big Tech, telecoms, workplace privacy, smart cities, and geopolitics. He also worked on the Strategy & Analytics team at the Cleveland Indians.
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