"Apply Via API" Company Slammed With Applicants

Adam DuVander
Feb. 10 2012, 12:00AM EST

"I felt like every mobile developer in the valley was probably talking about Parse that night," said James Yu, one of the company's founders. It was Yu's idea to invite potential technical employees to apply via API. The resulting interest from Hacker News prompted hundreds of applications, a copy-paste JavaScript solution and, potentially, a future Parse API application that's not quite as easy.

The /jobs/apply endpoint, upon a successful request, goes straight into the email of the Parse founders and recruiters. "We got inundated," Yu said. "There were hundreds of applicants. A stunning amount for one day."

Among the most interesting Parse applicants: Steve Jobs and Abraham Lincoln.

Yu estimates that half of the applications are legitimate, though he hasn't looked through everything yet. He and the team--now 11 full-timers--are busy working on the mobile backend-as-a-service offering.

At first, Yu's co-founders were sour on the idea of applying via API. And for the first several months, the application had little interest. "The original reason we did it is it's a really easy fizzbuzz test," Yu said. After the interest and one Hacker News JavaScript solution, Yu's thinking about improvements. "We do want to make it harder in the future."

Are companies going to start doing more APIs as applications? With the technical talent pool as precious as it is, it may be a way to get a little interest. "You do anything slightly different, slightly novel and you'll get a lot of people talking about it," Yu said.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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