Bright Unveils A Data-Driven Approach To The Job Search, Raises $6M

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Startup Bright has already built a popular job board. CEO Steve Goodman says that over the past 18 months, Bright.com has attracted 8.6 million job seekers who have posted 2.8 million resumes. However, that was just stage one of the company’s plans — in Goodman’s words, it was “the largest scientific resume trial in the history of the industry.” Now Bright has collected a lot of data about what works and what doesn’t in the job search, and it’s ready to put those findings to use.

Here’s the problem, as laid out by Goodman: The Internet has democratized the job application process, and that’s not entirely a good thing. Since it’s much easier to find and apply for jobs, companies and especially recruiters are now being bombarded with resumes. In many cases, the final decision is going to be based on one-on-one interviews, but winnowing down a giant stack of resumes to those final 20 or 10 or five candidates to interview can be a challenge.

That’s where Bright comes in — specifically, a new tool called the Bright Score. Goodman says that during the 18-month trial, more than 100 talent recruiters were rating the appropriateness of tens of thousands of applications for different jobs. Then Bright’s 15 data scientists and engineers looked at those results, as well as other activity on the site, to create a generalized scoring algorithm. In other words, the Bright Score assesses how well-suited you are for a certain job. If you score between 100 and 90, you’re an exceptional fit. If you score between 89 and 80, you’re a great fit. If you score less than 70, you’re not qualified.

Goodman says this scoring mechanism goes beyond simple keyword matching: Even if your resume includes the word “sales” dozens of times, Bright shouldn’t recommend you for a sales job that’s in a completely different field. He also says that Bright looks at a lot of the factors that turned out to be important to recruiters, but aren’t necessarily apparent on a quick glance at the resume — things like grammar, social connections, and whether an applicant worked at a competing company.

Once people have been scored, Goodman says Bright works at “taking the search out of job search.” If you’re a job applicant, the site can recommend jobs that seem like a good fit (i.e., jobs where you have a high Bright Score). If you’re a recruiter, you can look at the Bright Score of everyone who’s applied, and invest most of your time on the applicants with the highest scores. You can also look at an anonymized list of Bright Scores for prospects, meaning people who looked at your listing but didn’t apply. Posting a listing is free, but if you want to unlock the name and contact info of a prospect, you’ll have to pay.

Bright has already the overcome the chicken-and-egg problem of some job boards — it doesn’t have to juggle attracting applicants and recruiters, but it already has a significant user base of both. At the same time, Goodman says he wants Bright to go broader than its own website, possibly by partnering with other hiring products like Taleo and Jobvite. The real goal, he says (and he admits this is “grandiose”) is to become the “de facto standard” that someone is judged by whenever they apply for a job.

The company is also announcing that it has raised a $6 million Series A from undisclosed angel investors.

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