Judges - Communication & Recruitment
Typically during the last 2 months of the hackathon approaching, one should start looking out for judges for the hackathon. After making the judging plan, it becomes very clear on how many judges one should consider recruiting at the hackathon. While reaching out the judges, aim for getting 2-3 extra judges in a buffer list since any non-availability might affect your whole judging plan.

Booking your Judges

You’ll need to recruit a variety of tech experts to judge, mentor & speak at your hackathon. Consider targeting:
  • Experts from your school, including professors, deans, and alumni
  • Local community leaders
  • Reps from local tech companies
  • Tech celebrities who have something to promote (best for bigger events)
Networking tips for recruiting speakers and judges:
  • It’s similar to the process of contacting sponsors.
  • Consider who you know and who your school knows
  • Have department heads reach out for you when helpful

A Note About Judges

We recommend selecting judges that have a strong technical aptitude. If you’re planning to do Science Fair Judging and Presentations both, your judges for each should be separate. It is important to mention to your judges about the judging criteria and not to focus on the business aspect of the hackathon. This highly separates a hackathon from a startup contest.
  • Networking tips for recruiting speakers and judges
    • It’s a similar sponsorship process
    • Consider who you know and who your school knows
    • Have department heads reach out for you

Week-of: Judges follow up

It is crucial to followup with your judges about their availability on the week of the event to know if there are any last minute changes in the same. A simple reminder email can help you do the job.
Also, having some kind of a slot booking system can help you determine that they'll be available during those times. Be sure to send them a calendar invite so that it is tracked from their side as well.

Day-of: Running Judging

On the day of the hackathon, go through your judging plan and accordingly make a sheet allocating projects to your judges. Some occasional followups with them about the judging process is also a great way to keep a track of time. Finally when you have their top 3, using stack ranking, accordingly score the projects and determine the winners!

MLH Tips