A new recruitment app is fighting racism and sexism with anonymous job searches.
Stephanie Lampkin started coding at age 13, received an engineering degree from Stanford and an MBA from MIT, and worked as a technical account manager at Microsoft for five years. So when she applied for a data analytics position at a large tech company, she was taken aback when a recruiter told her, "I don’t think you’re quite technical enough, but we’re going to hang on to your resume in case a marketing role opens up."
Lampkin told NTRSCTN in a phone interview on Wednesday that as a qualified woman of color, she feels these companies don't take advantage of her talent.
"I felt like I’d jumped back to the '60s, when a woman is only qualified to be a secretary," she said. "Tech companies are claiming that they just can’t find qualified women and minorities."
So Lampkin decided to take matters into her own hands.
At SXSW on Sunday, she's launching the app Blendoor, which helps companies find qualified job candidates without revealing their gender or race. Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Google, Indiegogo, and Pinterest are already on board to find candidates using the app.
In a Tinder-like format, users upload their work and education history, and recruiters and job-seekers swipe left and right until there's a match. Once a candidate and recruiter indicate mutual interest, they schedule a phone screening.
Tech companies are claiming that they just can’t find qualified women and minorities.
But what happens after that initial swipe? After all, any biases the app overrides will come out once hiring managers meet the applicant. Lampkin said unconscious-bias training can help prevent this, but Blendoor's role is to collect data so that companies can be aware if they have a pattern of overlooking people based on gender or race.
"We’ll see if there are certain demographics of people who aren’t being hired, so that makes people more accountable for their behavior and more aware of the biases they may have," she explained.
While Blendoor aims to help women and people of color find jobs in fields where they're underrepresented, the app also benefits companies by helping them find the best employees.
"This is not just another diversity thing. Actually, it's a tool that’s helping organizations get the talent they need to find in places they may not have considered," Lampkin said.