If you’re not familiar with hiring platform, HireArt, they’re the startup that inspired this memorable headline, courtesy of my colleague Sarah Perez. Yes, the Y Combinator-incubated startup launched in March last year to provide a new solution to an age-old problem experienced by every employer during the hiring process: Resumes are bullshit.
Job candidates have a tendency to oversell themselves and fluff up their qualifications in their resumes, leaving employers to sort out the wheat from the hyperbolic chaffe. So HireArt devised a solution in which employers can ask applicants to complete a series of tasks in their purported areas of expertise to help them get a better sense of their actual skills. Using the startup’s platform, candidates can search for jobs and positions that are relevant to them, complete challenges and fill out applications, sending the finished product to employers with one click.
Today, HireArt is bringing its model to one of the hottest arenas in Startup Land: Education technology. The startup announced today that it is launching an Education Technology Challenge, which is designed to help people who want to work in EdTech with startups that are hiring, and, in turn, help education companies identify the best candidates.
HireArt co-founder Elli Sharef tells us that more than 50 companies have already signed on to participate in the challenge, including Scholastic, General Assembly, LearnSprout and Edmodo — to name a few.
But why education and why now? Sharef says, that for one, the EdTech space has been seeing enormous growth over the last few years, with investments in EdTech startups tripling over the last decade, increasing to $429 million in 2011 from $146 million in 2002, according the National Venture Capital Association. This, in part has led to a growing interest in the EdTech space among entrepreneurs, startups and the media — both at local and state levels. In 2012, for example, TechCrunch published four-times the amount of EdTech stories it published in 2011.
Of course, there’s also the fact that the price of a college diploma, coupled with soaring student debt, poor test scores and dwindling graduation rates make education as a whole ripe for technological solutions. We’ve seen a big uptick in the amount of education-focused startups over the last two years, and although there is the Series A crunch to contend with, the smart money says that this trend is going to continue.
Furthermore, looking for job in EdTech offers the potential to have a meaningful impact on the world, rather than simply helping to create a better photo-sharing app. One HireArt candidate explains: “I did Teach For America for two years, and now I want to work in tech because I think it’s the best way to make best practices in education truly scalable. It’s really going to change the game.”
For job candidates, the co-founder sees the potential appeal of the EdTech Challenge in that it offers an efficient and easy way to be considered by a wide range of educational employers at once. That, and that it’s a different (and maybe even fun) way to get into EdTech if you haven’t worked in the space before but want to dive in while the market is hot.
Sharef also says that HireArt has found that employers tend to care much less about the resume when they have candidates’ video and text responses to consider as alternatives. Just in case you think that not having a sterling resume might hurt your chances.
For those interested in applying to HireArt’s challenge, you can apply via HireArt’s website here. After filling out an initial form, candidates will be invited back to complete the challenge, which consists of five questions centered around EdTech (like “What trends are you excited about in education?” for example). Using HireArt’s platform, candidates can record their responses in video, text and/or attachments. The best candidates will be shared with the participating employers, who will then reach out to candidates for phone screens and in-person interviews.
HireArt’s Education Technology Challenge is free for both employers and candidates. Applications are rolling, with a final deadline of April 18th.