Smarterer pulls in $1.75M for job skills testing

Boston-based startup wants to replace the "skills" section of your resume with a series of scores based on online quizzes. It's an idea worth millions.

Is the resume D.O.A.?

Boston-based startup Smarterer thinks so. The company has raised $1.75 million from True Ventures, Google Ventures, and a handful of angel investors for its job-search-meets-gamification platform.

Smarterer WordPress test
A "very easy" practice question for Wordpress. Smarterer/Screenshot by ZDNet

Sure, its name doesn't quite roll off the tongue as nicely as it should, but the approach of the company is that there must be, in this age of the creative economy, a better way to evaluate job candidates besides where they've been and how long they were there.

The answer: a series of brief online multiple-choice tests on a certain topic, as chosen by the employer. So if you're a developer and you think you have Ruby on Rails down pat, you -- and your employer -- can find out before you meet face to face.

The idea is to formalize and standardize what has long been a part of the hiring process, but also open it up to topics never before requiring tests. So while a test on coding makes plenty of sense for a software developer, so might a test on Twitter for a social media manager.

The system isn't perfect, of course; you could easily game it or get a decent score by guessing randomly. (The company is working on a solution.) And there is one wild-card dynamic: the scores can be shared publicly. So instead of merely listing "Skills: Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver" on your LinkedIn profile, you can actually put more granular information -- for better or worse.

The bottom line? Employers need a way to get more pertinent information about job candidates quickly, to then make decisions about them more effectively and usher the right people further along in the process.

In a time when the economy is tough and job candidates are many, it should help weed out the drive-by applicants.

The company's latest triumph is called "Skill Sets," which allows employers to incorporate the quizzes into the online application process. A collection of partnerships -- The Resumator, Bullhorn Reach, Branchout -- is helping get the company's product in front of people.

Will it fundamentally change the hiring process? Probably not. But a little time saved means a lot to companies determined to hire the right people quickly.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "Better than a resume? Smarterer lands $1.75 million for job skills platform."

About the author

    Andrew Nusca is the editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor at ZDNet. He has written for New York, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics, and Money. He is based in New York.

     

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