Getting the job done: in the office, at home or on the road
Résumés are so passé. Smarterer lives up to its heady name by offering employers a more intelligent approach to evaluating prospective hires: The Boston-based startup challenges job seekers to prove their mettle by completing crowdsourced assessment tests that quantify their professional skills and strengths in a matter of minutes.
The Smarterer platform boasts more than 900 multiple-choice tests, spanning professions from software development to sales. All questions are submitted by users and validated by the Smarterer community at large, with assessments leveraging an adaptive machine-learning algorithm that recalibrates the quiz in real time depending on the test taker's performance, guaranteeing that no two tests are identical.
Smarterer users have completed nearly 3 million test sessions and answered some 26 million questions. Each test yields a numeric score that incorporates elements of Glicko, the same system that tallies chess mastery and Xbox expertise. Users can choose whether their results are made public. Smarterer permits do-overs on certain tests, and test takers can continue answering questions to help their scores, especially if they've gained knowledge or expertise.
"So many companies are blind to what skills matter and when," says co-founder and CEO Dave Balter. "We asked ourselves, 'How could we create assessments that only track what's important?' The only way to solve it is using the knowledge of the crowd. They'll determine what skills are important to measure, and what's important to measure in those skills."
Balter and CTO Mike Kowalchik launched Smarterer in 2010, not only to help employers more effectively identify potential talent but also to enable them to conduct "skill inventories" among their existing staffs and recognize gaps and blind spots. Earlier this year, Smarterer unveiled Flock, which gives subject-matter experts within an enterprise the ability to create custom test questions that measure core competencies and define the information and experience an employee must possess to thrive within a specific role, offering decision makers deeper insights into hiring, training and compensation.
"Companies keep saying the same thing: 'I want to understand the skills of my team, but I also want to know what's missing. What skills do other companies like mine have?'" Balter says. "We can go in there and say, 'We've done a profile of your skills; we're going to show you what 10 other companies look like; and here's the data for where the world is going.'"
A handful of Fortune 500 companies have already implemented the premium Flock service, Balter says, without providing specifics. The firm also generates revenue through partnerships with contract marketplaces such as Elance, helping the online staffing platform improve its job matches. Smarterer has raised $4.6 million in venture funding, including contributions from Google Ventures and Rethink Education.
"We built a system that can pinpoint someone's skill level within about 10 questions and 120 seconds," Balter says. "That's a pretty powerful tool."
More Work Life Brilliance
Behold the power of the office chatterbox: Syndio Social provides tools and services to help mid- to large-scale companies identify and leverage their internal influencers, those people who are the most networked within the company and best suited to help institute change.
ID.me: This digital ID card verifies the identity and status of military personnel, veterans, students, teachers and first responders so that e-retailers--including Overstock.com, Under Armour and Sears--can offer them online deals.
For cash-strapped startups or for lightweight mobile setups for use at trade shows, chairigami offers no-tools-necessary cardboard furniture that's quick, cheap and durable.
XOEye Technologies' eyewear device captures and streams audio and HD video, enabling real-time, first-person point-of-view workplace collaboration in industrial markets like manufacturing, technical field services and construction.
Turn slides into storytelling with Prezi, a cloud-based platform that gives users the tools--like a zooming interface--to create compelling and engaging visual presentations.
Designed by a former Apple engineer, the height-adjustable, touchscreen-equipped Stir Kinetic Desk detects the user's presence and learns habits, tracking calories burned and time spent sitting vs. standing, then makes recommendations to encourage movement.
Krash is a network of shared living spaces in major markets where startup entrepreneurs cohabitate. Each Krashpad accommodates 12 to 25 people and features common areas designed to stimulate interaction. Mentors, investors and supporters drop by for networking events and impromptu happy hours.
XL Hybrids converts conventional commercial trucks and vans into hybrid electric vehicles, reducing fuel consumption, emissions and operating costs for fleet-based businesses.
The Cota wireless power-transmission system automatically charges devices like smartphones and digital cameras from up to 30 feet away.