Online job search is big business. Firms like Monster.com, CareerBuilder, and LinkedIn generate $3 billion a year and are growing at a lively 14.3 percent a year, according to the market research firm IBISWorld.
The industry might be in for some hard times, however, if Silicon Valley startup GapJumpers really catches on.
With GapJumpers, a company can test and rank job candidates without knowing their experience, education, gender, or physical appearance. As a result, companies can hire the best candidate without worrying about unconscious hiring bias.
The GapJumpers concept is based upon the blind auditions that utterly changed the way orchestras hire musicians.
In the past, the selection committees for orchestras believed they were creating a meritocracy, hiring only the best musicians, who usually turned out to be men. "Men are just inherently more talented," explained one conductor.
Then somebody decided to audition musicians behind a curtain, without revealing their gender. Surprise! The female musicians were suddenly as talented as the male musicians. As a result, the gender gap in orchestra staffing is closing as existing members (mostly male) retire.
GapJumper does the same thing with job interviews. Candidates are given test- assignment projects to gauge their skills and ability. The hiring manager then calls the top-performing candidates in to interview.
To say that the results have been eye-opening would be an understatement. According to The Atlantic, "about 60 percent of the top talent identified through GapJumpers' blind audition process come from underrepresented groups."
These results are a resounding slap in the face to corporate cultures that believe themselves to be a "meritocracy."
In fact, a recent study of 9,000 employees conducted by MIT's Sloan School of Management proved that companies that "talk the talk" about meritocracy are the least likely to actually "walk the walk."
This comes as no great surprise to anyone familiar with corporate bulls--t.
When it comes to diversity, corporate responsibility, environmental protection, forced labor in the supply chain, etc., most companies operate under the law of inverse relevance: "The less you intend to do about something, the more you have to keep talking about it."
There's a larger issue here, though, than simply proving (as if it needed proving) that "meritocracy" as implemented today is a "protesteth too much" concept. Taken to its logical conclusion, GapJumpers makes resumes and job search boards obsolete.
Consider the role of a resume: to help a hiring manager assess candidates. To do so, the hiring manager interprets the value of past experience and education and imagines how that might apply to the open job position.
The GapJumpers process makes that unnecessary. Indeed, the top candidates who surface as the result of blind testing frequently lack the formal education and Ivy League credentials that impress the average hiring manager.
So why bother crafting a resume if nobody's going to read it?
Which leads us to the online job search boards, which are entirely based upon the assumption that resumes are essential and important. GapJumpers proves they're not. So what's the point of having millions of resumes online?