Stephanie Lampkin has developed a job platform designed to connect companies with talented professionals—whatever their color or gender. Her goal: diversify the heavily white and Asian, male world of technology companies. Lampkin has struggled with that world herself. Even with a Stanford engineering degree, an MIT Sloan School of Management MBA and five-plus years at Microsoft, she was turned away from data analytics jobs at other top firms because she was told she wasn’t sufficiently technical. So Lampkin created Blendoor, an app released last June that she hopes will change hiring in the tech industry. As of early February, Blendoor had reached 422 companies and signed up more than 10,000 candidates.
Sky: How does Blendoor work?
Lampkin: We’re a mobile-first app for candidates. You just log on with Facebook or LinkedIn. We pull in all of the data that we can, and we show you jobs that are relevant to your background, your skill set, your demographics. On the other side of it, the recruiter can log on via the mobile app or the web tool. We algorithmically show the recruiter only candidates that fit—we give each candidate a “fit score.” But we hide the candidate’s name and photo. So you’re only seeing work experience, skills, certifications and education. Whenever there’s a match between candidate and recruiter, each receives a notification. Then they can message each other to set up a phone screening, interview or formal application.
What’s your revenue model?
Companies pay for a job ad—the price goes down if you purchase more. The price also goes down if you pay for the monthly subscription. In addition, we provide companies with some really cool data analytics. We developed a recruiter’s scorecard where companies can have a little more visibility into recruiter behavior to identify if there are certain recruiters demonstrating bias or discriminatory hiring.
Why are black tech professionals still facing challenges getting hired?
Particularly in tech companies, there’s a sort of “brogrammer” culture that’s emerged, and it permeates a lot of companies. You have these young men who start these companies in their garage, they brought on their buddies from Stanford and MIT and there’s this sort of culture of “Silicon Valley is a meritocracy, we are against social norms.” But what they’ve neglected to realize is that in hiring all of the people that fit their mold, they’ve created a culture that’s very exclusive of women and minorities. We haven’t seen that in the IBMs and Microsofts of the world because a lot of the people that came in were folks from other industries. They brought in more of a diverse corporate culture.
I see Blendoor becoming the de facto recruiting tool—not just for use in finding diverse candidates. I see it becoming a tool that just helps companies make better hiring decisions across the board.