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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 18, 2007 at 10:36 AM

Microsoft hiring challenges spawn TalentSpring

Recruiting ads and services are springing up all over the Web, but Bryan Starbuck thinks his new online job board, TalentSpring, will stand out.

It’s differentiator is its Wiki-like candidate ranking system that helps filter through resumes. (It may also get a boost from a gushy note on TechCrunch, which said the startup “has the potential to disrupt the online resume marketplace.”)

“We want to become the marketplace for resumes,” said Starbuck, 35, a former Microsoft development lead who is TalentSpring’s chief executive and co-founder.

Starbuck has become a fixture in the Seattle startup scene as he build the company under the code-name Nimblebee starting last September and prepared for today’s beta launch. It now has 10 employees and funding to operate through 2008.

The other co-founder is Andrew Boardman, TalentSpring’s director of development. He was previously in consulting and before that was also a manager at Microsoft.

TalentSpring lets job applicants evaluate each other, helping recruiters pinpoint the best candidates by assigning ranks similar to SAT scores. The service is free for candidates. Recruiters will pay per job or for monthly access, with charges ranging from $195 to $5,895 for a year of unlimited access.

Starbuck said the system also helps applicants, because they can use the feedback to rework their resumes.

“They can better articulate themselves and go through the process again,” he explained.

Starbuck came up with the idea after struggling with the avalanche of resumes he dealt with as a manager at Microsoft.

At one point he was leading development of a feature in Vista with a team of three and had authorization to add 12 positions, but the process took 18 months to fill them.

“I ended up making my dates but I could have got a lot more value to customers” with a bigger team, he said.

Starbuck came to Microsoft directly out of University of California at San Diego and worked there 10 years. He worked on early versions of Internet Explorer and more recently the mail and address book features in Vista.

Comments | Topics: Microsoft, Startups

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