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McClatchy-Tribune  08/24/2014 12:21 AM ET
Recruiting software company The Resumator works to open the doors to new faces [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette :: ]

Aug. 24--Bringing new employees onto a team forces managers to judge a mix of mandatory skill sets and intangible personality traits. In Silicon Valley -- home base for tech giants Apple, Google and Twitter -- that process has resulted in a workforce of thousands of highly skilled, innovative and loyal workers, most of whom happen to look remarkably similar.

Earlier this month, Apple reported that its global workforce is 70 percent male -- a figure that mirrors Google and Twitter's overall workforce.

A breakdown of racial demographics proves even more significant, with Apple reporting its U.S. workforce as 55 percent white, 15 percent Asian, 11 percent Hispanic and 7 percent black. At Twitter, the U.S. workforce was reported as 59 percent white, 29 percent Asian, 3 percent Hispanic and 2 percent black. Google's U.S. workforce was 61 percent white, 30 percent Asian, 3 percent Hispanic and 2 percent black.

The figures, all released by the companies over the course of the last few weeks, raised eyebrows among industry insiders and sparked initiatives within all three companies to try to balance the scales.

The situation made Promise Phelon, chief revenue officer of West View recruiting software company The Resumator, briefly consider if the issues raised in Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's best-selling book "Lean In" -- specifically about how more women need to step up to leadership roles -- played a part in the situation.

But then, Ms. Phelon settled on the most important consideration: that this discussion offers an opportunity for her company to present a solution.

"When I saw those numbers, I asked myself two questions. Is this a systematic thing or is this about the point Sheryl was making about [women] getting a seat at the table? My conclusion was it actually doesn't matter [how it happened]; it's about breaking patterns," said Ms. Phelon.

Shifting the paradigm that drives hiring decisions has been The Resumator's primary mission since it was launched in 2009, said founder and CEO Don Charlton.

Mr. Charlton, a Masontown native who grew up steeped in the culture of coal mining, envisioned The Resumator as a way to help small- to medium-sized businesses level the playing field with large corporations when it comes to attracting top talent. After an independent launch, he teamed up with Pittsburgh startup accelerator program AlphaLab. Within a three-year period Mr. Charlton was able to raise $3 million in outside funding.

The Resumator's offerings of job boards, referrals, questionnaires, interview management and custom assessments for hiring have so far helped more than 70,000 companies find more than 2.5 million candidates for various job openings. The suite of products and the data contained within them help the company streamline the job search process in ways that have helped it rise to the heap of a fledgling market.

The small business engine has also catered to some of the nation's biggest players. Its portfolio of clients ranges from Major League Baseball's to the 2012 presidential election campaigns of President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The company does not publicly disclose its financials, but a company spokeswoman said it has generated millions of dollars in revenue.

After adding Ms. Phelon as its chief revenue officer in December, the company opened a Silicon Valley office in March to keep close to West Coast investors. It embarked on an aggressive fundraising campaign in June that set an eight-week time limit to meet the $15 million mark.

That push paid off this week, with a goal-matching investment led by Boston-based Volition Capital and supported by Tucson, Ariz.-based Rincon Venture Partners, South Side-based Birchmere Ventures, New York-based Blue Cloud Ventures and Riverfront Ventures, an investment firm run by South Side-based Innovation Works.

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