The Startup Every Employee Should Love and Fear


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It’s like the Sporcle of the business world, and that’s scary as hell. Smarterer ‘ no, the extra ‘ER’? does not stand for Emergency Room, though that’s where some resumes may end up if this catches on ‘ is a new startup that’s trying to put everyone’s job skills on an even playing field. Let’s say that you look at 100 resumes. Every single one has ‘proficient in ______’? on there, but how exactly do you measure that? One person’s ‘proficient’? might actually be another person’s ‘skilled’? and what the heck is a hiring manager to do when a ‘Microsoft Office Rock Star’? comes around? Other than immediately disqualify that person for unnecessary hyperbole, up until now, there hasn’t been much to do. That’s where Smarterer comes in. Smarterer ‘ currently in beta ‘ offers business professionals a chance to prove their proficiency at some of the most popular business and web applications used today. Without going into the most-likely complex algorithm that Smarterer was built on, I’ll give you this; take a test and get a grade. You pick an application you want to get graded on, like Twitter, PowerPoint, Photoshop or CSS for example, answer a few multiple choice questions and then get a grade based on how well you answered them. If you get a score of 500-599 you are considered ‘Smart’?, 600-699 ‘Smarter’?, and 700+ ‘Smarterer’?. Then import that grade to all of your networks and into your resume to show off just how great you are. It’s so mind-numbingly simple it’s a wonder why no one has thought of this before.

So how does it work? Pretty well, actually. I took it for a test drive yesterday and other than being extremely nerve-racking since you’re basically qualifying your entire professional career in a 60 second test, it seems to work pretty well. I seem to be most ‘smart’? at applications I use every day (PowerPoint, Word, Twitter), and somewhat below proficiency in applications I rarely use (Photoshop, Illustrator). And just for the heck of it, I took a test for Javascript, something I know absolutely nothing about, and tallied a 165. So, it seems to be pretty accurate. For the most part, you attain the majority of your final score in the first few questions. Then you tend to lose more points by getting questions wrong than you do by getting them correct. This will help ward off the potential for taking the tests over and over and blindly clicking away with the hopes of upping a score. I’ve taken a few of the tests multiple times, and after the first few, it’s somewhat hard to increase your score drastically, so you really do need to know your stuff.

Though the site does warn against cheating and hacking, I’m interested to know what other safeguards are in place to thwart potential work-arounds to up scores. And similar to any type of standardized testing, there is also the fear that those with high scores may not necessarily be the most proficient, but just happen to be good at memorizing facts. Though that begs the additional question, if you know the facts, doesn’t that make you proficient? Overall, it’s a very interesting idea, and something that employers and the workforce will need to familiarize themselves with over the next few years as it has the chance to become a standard in grading out business expertise.

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