Part of the reason that services like Coursera, EdX, Udacity, Codecademy and Treehouse are so exciting is that they hint at a future when quality education will be accessible to the masses and be affordable. Collectively, they represent a change in the model as a whole, even if we have no idea what that change will mean two years from now — 10 years from now. Uncertainty aside, what we do know is that digital learning platforms today are making it easier to access information, to gain skills, to train for jobs and tests and to acquire knowledge in context and in personalized, engaging ways.
Much to the delight of Peter Thiel, as it becomes easier to learn the things we need to learn, measure progress, and acquire the skills we need to enter the workforce through digital channels — independent of the traditional educational system — the system itself is devalued. The college diploma, long believed to be the only way to get a job, will slowly be replaced by more accurate forms of credentialing — and the same for the resume.
Today, reputation platforms, like GitHub for developers, provide recruiters, companies, HR departments and everyone else, an equally (if not more) relevant way of identifying and assessing talent. Having co-founded four companies and sold three (the majority of which were education-focused), Jon Bischke knows this well.
After selling eduFire (an early MOOC, i.e. an early Coursera/Khan) in 2010, Jon became an Entrepreneur in Residence at Battery Ventures, where he was able to interview hundreds of entrepreneurs and founders, asking them, “How can I help you? What do you need? What’s slowing you down?” Unsurprisingly, nearly every respondent said that the thing they were having the most difficulty with while building their company: Hiring top-notch technical talent.
So, Bischke set out to develop a solution. Recruiting Squirl co-founder and product guy John McGrath, the two co-founded Entelo in July of last year to help companies large and small identify and recruit technical talent. Since then, the startup has remained in limited beta, providing occasional glimpses into the development process, but that officially ended this morning with Entelo’s official public launch.
If any of this sounds unfamiliar, Entelo’s mission is simple: To revolutionize recruiting with a software solution that gives HR departments, recruiters and really anyone looking to hire an easier way to search for and identify the right candidates.
Both high-growth, mature companies and startups are starved for great engineering and design talent. Finding the right people to fill those openings is a pain in the ass, especially when it involves going after passive candidates — those who aren’t publicly telegraphing that they’re looking for a new position. Entelo’s software, then, combines the signal of an active job seeker with the depth of the passive candidate pool in two core products.
The first, Entelo Sonar, enables recruiters to identify passive candidates who have jobs but might be looking for new opportunities. Essentially, the software uses algorithms to analyze 70+ variables to predict when candidates might be thinking about making a career change. Recruiters receive customizable email alerts that list relevant candidates who are, by Entelo’s measures, showing signs that they’re up for grabs.
Entelo Search, the company’s second product, is a searchable database of 300 million profiles that presents a three-dimensional look into each candidate based on data aggregated from GitHub, Stack Overflow, Twitter, Quora, Dribbble and GrabCad — to name a few. Each of these data funnels is easily accessible via icons, so recruiters can see how many questions a candidate is answering on Quora (and how well), what they happen to be tweeting about and what projects they’re showing on GitHub.
Recruiters actually get to learn about the people they’re trying to recruit in a way that allows them to personalize their outreach and actually treat them more like humans, rather than just a series of bullet points pulled from a resume. Bischke tells us that Entelo is combing tons of variables looking for signs that people might be open to a conversation about a new direction, taking into account contextual signals like, say, a big drop in stock, high-profile departures or layoffs, acquisitions, etc.
Oh, this person has been at Groupon for three years, the stock just tanked and these three companies just stole a handful of top execs? Well, then this engineer might just be brushing up the resume. This is just one lame example, and at this point Entelo is still a long way from guaranteeing that every candidate surfaces will be the perfect fit — or is primed and ready to jump ship. But given standard deviation and the uninformed, firehose, mass-email approach most companies take to recruiting, even an uptick in by a few percentage points in accuracy can make a huge difference. Or at least that’s what Entelo is hoping.
There are still a lot of stray profiles in that batch of 300 million, as the vast majority of those have not yet been filled out. But Bischke says that 6 million of those profiles (and counting) have been beefed up significantly. At present, Entelo is geared exclusively towards recruiters and companies, as individuals can not yet claim and curate their profiles. But it wouldn’t be surprising to see that functionality show up in future builds.
It may feel a bit creepy as an engineer to know that recruiters are mining your data to find out more about you and, in a way, spy on your progress, waiting for the right moment to pounce. But the value proposition can be just as high for potential job candidates as it is for recruiters, with the potential to turn a bad fit, stagnating, dead-end position into something that’s a better match. Hard to argue with that. And Bischke says that, so far, only two people have asked to be removed from Entelo’s database, a request the company will gladly accommodate when asked. (Entelo is looking to standardize the opt-out process soon.)
Entelo is not a prime mover in this space by any means, with more direct competition coming from sites like Gild and the Talent Bin, and scores of others trying to add more context (and really just optimize) the recruitment process, resumes, assessment and each part of the chain. The space is changing rapidly, as are the tools and platforms we use to build our brand and share our projects and work.
Entelo may not have it all figured out as of today, but positioning itself between those actively looking for new hires and the places where the most talented and skilled geeks hang out, is a smart move and allows Entelo to be a mediator. The more data is soaks up, the more signals it identifies that lead to hires, the more value it creates.
It’s a long road, but the endgame holds a lot of value.
More on Entelo here.