What is Trustified?
We can agree the hiring process is broken.
It sucks for interviewers.
It sucks for interviewees.
It sucks for hiring managers.
It sucks for recruiters.
Whether or not you can sort a binary tree to find the optimal route from Saskatchewan to Albuquerque is unlikely
to have relevance on your ability to be successful as a software engineer in most companies.
This approach works fantastic for the FAANG companies who must ruthlessly filter thousands of candidates as
quickly as possible.
For the rest of the world, though, how can we verify a candidate’s skills match our needs?
This is a problem I’ve struggled with for a long time. I’m reminded of how I became a certified Nuclear Engineer
in the US Navy.
Upon arriving at your first ship, you were given a binder listing all the skills you needed to learn to operate the
reactor plant safely. Your first job on the ship was to find existing sailors who would verify your ability to do
the task and sign that task in your binder.
This process had many benefits.
It provided a written record of your capabilities, signed and dated by someone qualified to judge those skills.
It provided an audit history in the event of an error. If you made a mistake, not only were you on the hook, but
whoever signed off on that skill was potentially on the hook as well. This served as a fantastic incentive to
ensure the accuracy in signing for skills.
It’s this process that serves as the foundation for Trusted: an independent platform for tracking and demonstrating
skills used in our trade, incentivized to provide value for all parties involved.
trustified: (verb) - to verify or validate a trustee’s knowledge and competency in a particular skill
trustee: (noun) - the person receiving validation for a particular skill
trustor: (noun) - the person validating a trustee’s knowledge for a particular skill
skill: (noun) - a defined set of criteria used to perform a particular task in software engineering. Examples
include things such as writing a
for loop in a particular language, or building a component using a given
How do I get trusted for a skill?
Identify the skill(s) you’d like to be recognized for. Only someone who currently has that skill can issue a trust for
it. You can ask someone you know personally or search the app for someone available to verify your skill.
Choose wisely: if the person vouches for your skill then later has their skill revoked: you both lose your trusted
status for that skill. (More on that below)
How long does a trusted skill last?
TBD, but skills aren’t permanent. If I wrote COBOL in the 1980s, I’d probably need a refresher on it. Additionally,
new versions are constantly being released and relevant skills may change as a result. End result: each skill will
have a half-life relevant to the tool. You won’t lose your trusted status, but the health of that skill will decay
over time without maintenance (i.e. someone upvoting your skill). This is a practice already in use in many other
How do I issue a trust for someone?
In order to issue a trust for someone, you must already be trusted for that skill. Exactly how you determine the
users skillset is up to you. Voice, video, chat, and pair programming are all valid options. You will have
access to the trust criteria to ensure your assessment uses the same criteria as all other trust issuers.
Trust with care: if a user has a skill revoked that you issued, it will negatively affect your XP for that
skill. If your XP drops below a certain level, not only will you lose your trust for that skill, but all users
you have issued trusts for will lose their trusted status for that skill as well.
How do you prevent bad actors from issuing trusts for someone?
As a trust issuer, you earn tokens for your time and effort to confirm someone’s skill. This opens the possibility
to vouch for an unlimited number of users in an attempt to game the system. To combat this, each person carries
Experience Points (XP) for each skill they possess.
If someone you have issued a trust for has their skill revoked, your XP will decrease. If your XP drops below a
certain level, your skill will be revoked as well. Once your skill is revoked, everyone you have issued trusts
for the same skill will lose their trusted status as well. This brings a community element into play so the
entire community is incentivized to play fairly.
What if I want to dispute someone’s skill?
There are two ways:
You can upvote or downvote someone’s skill to increase or decrease their XP. Stronger users will end up with
a higher XP over time, allowing them to level up from E1 to E2 and so on. In the event of a decreasing XP,
a skill will be completely revoked if XP reaches 0.
Candidates with a lower reputation can get re-trusted for a skill, resetting their XP allowing them to start over.
If you feel a user should have their skill immediately and completely revoked, you can file a dispute. Filing
a dispute requires you to stake tokens.
If the user does not respond within a defined timeframe, their skill is revoked and your tokens are returned.
If the user objects to the dispute, they can stake tokens against the dispute. This triggers a review board
to review the facts and decide on a ruling.
If the review board finds in favor of the user, the user’s tokens are returned and the plaintiff’s tokens are
distributed among the board members to compensate them for their time and effort.
If the review board finds in favor of the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s tokens are returned and the user’s tokens
are distributed to the board members to compensate them for their time and effort.
Review board members are selected randomly from the community based on skills relevant to the disputed skill.
Do I still need to do coding tests for candidates as an employer?
This is a new system so it will take time to build confidence in it. Over time, the goal is for this to serve
as a reliable metric for a candidate’s skills. Some due diligence will always be required, but a successful
implementations will eliminate the need for “stump the chump” style coding interviews. This allows you to
spend your interview time with the candidate focused on personality, culture, and team fit, confident that the
technical skills necessary are vetted by the community.
How does trusting work?
This is very much a work in progress, it’s a tricky problem. Here’s the current model:
A trusted member of the community will vouch for someone’s skills, but vouching for something like
far too broad. During the beta phase, we’ll be experimenting for the right mix of detail using namespacing
to accurately describe someone’s skillset without creating an overwhelming number of skills to track for
nodejs:expressapi might be suitable, but
nodejs:expressapi:post:json_payload is probably
a bit too granular.
In addition, the trusted user will have the measurement criteria available so we’re all measuring against the
same standard. For example:
Candidate can create API routes with the common HTTP verbs using Express.js
Candidate understands route paths and parameters, HTTP headers, JSON payloads
Candidate can write tests for routes using standard testing libraries, mocking dependencies where needed
Exactly how you check for these skills is up to you. Be sure to see this FAQ
Why would I vouch for someone?
You can earn tokens in exchange for your time and effort. Validating someone’s skills is not an easy task and
your contributions should be rewarded. See this FAQ below for why that matters.
Another motivator is self-regulating our own industry. By taking an active role in skill management, we can
ensure consistent, reliable skills validation for everyone in our industry. This allows us to operate with a
consistent definition of “skilled”, consumable by non-technical people making it easier to find and hire the right
candidates for your team with less effort.
You will also increase your own XP by vouching for candidates. This can serve as a metric of seniority, unlock
additional levels in the trustified.io platform, and may be useful later in your career as you advance to more
What’s in it for me?
Maintaining your skills and profile in the system will unlock additional levels within the trustified.io platform
as well as open up new, interesting opportunities for you when you are ready to pursue them. As hiring managers
and recruiters search for potential candidates, you’ll be shown in results (if you opt-in) based on your skills,
availability, and requirements (like contract, full-time, remote, location-specific, etc…).
With successy, gone will be the days of random recruiter emails for unrealistic skills or things aren’t aren’t
interested or qualified for.
This may also be used by forward-looking companies to identify people in their own organization demonstrating
competency in their profession and could serve as a basis for advancement, salary increases, or special role
To prevent span and undesired inquiries, all messaging takes place inside the app and potential employers and
hiring managers are unable to contact you unless you indicate in your profile that your are open to new opportunities.
Note that your profile will always be public however, which may come in handy when you’re talking to a potential
employer on the down-low ;)
Other ways to earn tokens
A bit of a stretch goal here, but it would be awesome if we could use this platform to reward open source
contributors for their efforts. OSS will die if we can’t figure out a way to make it worthwhile for contributors
to continue work on their projects.
What are the tokens used for?
Tokens will be an ERC-20 style token with actual cash value should you choose to trade them on an exchange.
We will also be seeking partnerships with event organizers, training partners, and certifications facilities to
allow you to pay for these offerings using tokens.
In many enterprise level organizations, it is near impossible to find who in the company knows about “Product X”.
An enterprise level offering is on the roadmap to allow such organizations to add their own tracks and playbooks
for in-house products and skills needed.
One interesting side effect of this is the ability to build career tracks and plot your progress toward that
goal. At a glance, you’ll be able to see the skills needed to become a Full Stack Engineer, Web Developer,
Data Scientist or other profession. You’ll also see which skills you currently have on that track and which
ones you should focus on next.
It will be a community effort to agree on this, but with the model and community in place, it’s an achievable