The startup that wants to democratize hiring

Meet ‘The Voice’ for recruiting.


July 2, 2020

Applying for jobs feels like uploading your resume into a black hole. But a new player is here to let you show your stuff.

The startup Merit launched this weekend with an ambitious pitch: Make VC hiring more equitable by using a points system.

Merit is a cross between a job application and a training program. For the newbies, it serves up videos and blog posts explaining how to approach basic tasks like examining the business model of a startup. Then, you enter the competition.

Hiring managers, meet Mario Kart 

Advancing in Merit’s tourney depends only on how many points you lock down. There are no resumes. No connections. Everyone is anonymous.

Once a week, for about 3 hours, you look at a new company on the up and up — the kind of work that a junior VC employee would do — and write an analysis.

Then you score the research of 2 other people in the Merit system.

The process repeats for 6 weeks — and by the end, the top 20 high scorers win.

‘The Voice’ for hiring is nothing new

The startup Blendoor arrived on the scene a few years ago with a similar goal — to level the playing field in hiring. To prevent racial bias, it hides the name, age, and photo of job applicants.

A few caveats with Merit: Applicants don’t get paid for their work, which the company already acknowledged is a “problem” that it hopes to fix.

And the top 20 Merit finishers aren’t shoo-ins for a job, founder Jacob Claerhout told The Hustle.

They’ll get some high-profile meetings — 12+ VCs have already told Claerhout they want to meet the winners — but that’s all Merit can guarantee.

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