Five Companies That Are Changing Recruiting


Anyone who works in software is accustomed to getting calls from recruiters. It used to be pretty simple. If you coded in JavaScript, for instance, you’d get calls every time someone in town was looking for a JavaScript developer. What did the recruiter know about you? That you coded in JavaScript, and not much else.

Today recruiting has morphed into something entirely different. The recruiter who calls you may know a great deal about you. New theories and techniques abound for matching a job to the perfect employee, and the recruiter may have insider information—such as the manga sites you visit—that leads her to believe that you’re uniquely suited for that new JavaScript position. Here are some of the companies that are changing the face of recruiting.

1. Gild. Gild mines web activity to build profiles of programmers. It looks for open source code posted by individuals and evaluates it. How elegant is it? How effective? It also looks at how often it’s been adopted by other programmers, and it looks for activity on forums for coders that indicates unusual acumen. Gild employs algorithms that, in classic big data fashion, associate the ability to code well with all kinds of other factors. Some strange things seem to be linked to coding ability; for instance, Vivienne Ming of Gild says that many great coders seem to have an affinity for one particular Japanese manga site.

2. RemarkableHire. RemarkableHire aggregates online activity that indicates people are passionate about technology. It crawls sites such as GitHub and Stack Overflow and evaluates activity there. For instance, how well does the potential candidate seem to know specific languages? RemarkableHire also looks at the number of followers a candidate has and the reputations of the followers.

3. Knack. Not a recruiting firm per se, but another interesting wrinkle in tech hiring today. Knack produces video games that analyze a player’s behavior and then use that analysis to evaluate the suitability of the player for specific jobs. Bain & Company and New York University Medical Center have pilot programs under way using Knack. Knack hopes that as it continues to gather data its appraisals of the job suitability of candidates will become more accurate and it will become a major exchange for matching employees with specific jobs. Knack CEO Guy Halfteck says, “We are trying to level the playing field, and make success less dependent on your resume, what school you attended, or where you grew up. It should be more dependent on your innate abilities.”

4. TalentBin. TalentBin has a database of 500 million social profiles aggregated from sites like Facebook and Google+. It’s even gotten data from the U.S. Patent Database and the PubMed Life Sciences Publication Directory. It offers employers a comprehensive profile of candidates and employs algorithms to search for hard-to-find technical abilities.

5. Entelo. Entelo highlights programmers who are unusually active on job search sites and therefore probably actively looking for new jobs. Sudden bursts of activity on LinkedIn are probably going to get the attention of Entelo’s search algorithms. “We wanted to create something that would be an intermediary between people looking for talent, and the places where the best people hang out,” says Entelo cofounder Jon Bischke.

Social networks provide a vast store of talent, but they aren’t necessarily easy to navigate: participants use pseudonyms and don’t always provide enough information to make their real-life identities obvious. But if Gild and Entelo and their new algorithms have their way, no one is going to be able to hide his or her talent under a bushel for much longer.

Lani Carroll lives in Colorado Springs with her bees, chickens, and horses. She can be found at her Google+ Profile.