Feb 8 2011
Even in the best of times, looking for a job is a nuisance. Attempting to distill one’s education and professional accomplishments to a few sheets of paper is clumsy at best. Each resume needs to be tailored to the job and accompanied by a witty, catchy, and memorable cover letter. After much searching there’s a chance they might spend more than 30 seconds looking over your qualifications. A small chance.
This job search method is both archaic and inefficient. The candidates that rise to the top are almost invariably the ones who are best at representing and promoting themselves. Oftentimes the most qualified candidates are not very good at all at putting their best foot forward however. I recall one candidate our team interviewed. This guy was brilliant; he knew everything about Linux, Windows, and Mac OSes. I remember, after he resoundingly nailed every question, I asked him what the difference between regedit and regedt32 was. He recited the history of the two and variations depending on the version of Windows you’re using. I had to later go back and confirm his reply which turned out to also, be exactly correct. He was brilliant and by far my preferred candidate. He was also a little socially awkward (big surprise). We ended up hiring someone with no technical training or experience whatsoever because, “They would fit in with the team better.” In this case I took those words to mean that they wouldn’t upset the delicate balance of geek power held by a few key decision makers.
I have a term for this sort of activity- the secretary effect. It stems from my experience that secretaries are best at promoting themselves into and throughout organizations due to their ability to politic. The few competent workers end up picking up the slack and accommodating for the black hole of negligence they create. Dealing with substandard levels of coworker competence is a fact of corporate life.
Companies, in particular start-ups, can’t afford to make this mistake. They need the best. They need those that are most qualified and have solid skills to get things done quickly and correctly. Sifting through a series of tailored resumes is a poor way to find such employees. Now there’s a way for companies to find the most qualified candidates based upon their demonstrated knowledge and skills. They can do so in a new and creative way, with BrightMesh.
On the outside BrightMesh comes across like a fairly nondescript website. Much like the top talent that gets passed over for jobs, its homepage inconspicuously hides the dynamic tool within. This tool is a mesh of interconnected nodes, some brighter than others. The nodes consist of people and companies or projects. Each is placed on the interconnected grid with BrightSpots found throughout. BrightSpots are problem driven interactive discussions initiated by companies. Prospects can respond to various BrightSpots to demonstrate their competency in various subjects. By doing this they increase their own visibility- their own brightness rather, within the mesh. The ultimate goal of BrightSpot is to connect employees with open positions. These job postings contain descriptions as well as BrightSpots related to them.
The Mesh itself, pictured below, is fun to navigate. For instance you can start at the BrightMesh company profile, then you can view all the branches connected to it which include Cloud Computing, Java/AJAX, a Recruiters Center, and then a Startup Center. By navigating to the Java/AJAX node you’ll see it’s linked to PostgreSQL and Ruby on Rails. As the Mesh grows more and more companies will be linked to various topics, each with their own BrightSpots with various common connections. As a user navigates they’ll come across discussions they can contribute to. Over time these contributions are ranked which contributes to their overall ranking, or brightness. This is a value assigned from 0-100 and demonstrates your overall competency. This history of contributions provides a better insight of someone’s core competencies than any resume ever could. It becomes what’s known as a user’s knowledge identity.
At the end of the day, BrightMesh is a fascinating knowledge base of professionals who can meet and share information on various topics. The end result is to match employees with companies. Some will undoubtedly go there just to show off. For the same reason that people impart knowledge on Q&A forums, so will they find the BrightMesh interface an inviting venue to display their expertise.
BrightMesh offers more than a new and innovative way for looking for jobs. It’s also fun. Navigating the mesh and responding to various inquiries is an easy and entertaining exercise. Moreover, time spent responding to a BrightSpot isn’t lost if you aren’t selected for an associated position. It adds to your own knowledge identity, making you a more attractive candidate as time goes on. With BrightMesh companies can help find better fits for their positions, and job seekers can find better jobs.
And, it’s virtually secretary free.