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MIT Sloan Alum’s App Combats Hiring Biases

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This post has been republished in its entirety from its original source,

In an interview conducted for a recent press release published by MIT Sloan, alumna Stephane Lampkin (MBA ’13) discussed Blendoor, an innovative new mobile app she designed to counteract hidden hiring biases related to gender and race.

Lampkin, a Stanford and MIT Sloan alum with five years’ experience at Microsoft under her belt, interviewed for an “analytical lead position at a major tech company.” After eight separate visits, Lampkin was told she was not an ideal fit for the company. The recruiter lamented, “You’re not quite technical enough. We’ll reach out if a sales or marketing position opens up.” Lampkin told MIT Sloan News that the rejection provided the creative fuel to dream up Blendoor. “It’s not necessarily overt racism; it’s the way we’re wired as human beings.”

Lampkin envisioned Blendoor as a mobile access-point to enable tech industry recruiters to find diverse, qualified applicants—namely underrepresented people of color, women, and veterans—and vice versa. According to a Wall Street Journal study featured in the Sloan press release, women make up less than a quarter of the workforce at the leading technology companies. The American Economic Association found that employers were twice as likely to respond to CVs with “white-sounding names” in a 2004 study entitled “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?” “Time and time again we see people being discriminated against because of the way their name sounds or the color of their skin,” Lampkin explains.

The “Tinder-like” GUI anonymizes job seekers so companies are presented with “nameless, faceless profiles” that provide only the candidate’s CV. Lampkin explains, “By hiding name and photo, we are basically showing recruiters how well a candidate meets the requirements of the role, and create opportunities for people who many have otherwise been overlooked because they didn’t look the part.”

In turn, Blendoor job hunters are given access to a database of employment opportunities. Once potential employers find a match, they can connect with candidates.

So far, Lampkin has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the tech industry. Between direct investments and pitch competition prizes, Blendoor has pulled in a respectable $100,000 in funding. Lampkin is initiating a full-throttle PR campaign that will hopefully increase that figure to $1 million by April. Down the line, Lampkin envisions Blendoor’s impact could extend to housing, finance and beyond.