The Merit-Based Approach to Hiring

EquitySim’s Recruiting Engine Aims to Tackle the Recruiting Industry’s Biggest Challenges through Artificial Intelligence and I/O Psychology

As children, we’re constantly told that we can be anyone we want to be. The world is our oyster, ripe with boundless opportunities for the taking for those who want to take them.

This idealistic worldview begins in the early stages of our development and continues to be preached by our parents and reinforced by our teachers throughout our formative years.

At some point in our journey this optimism begins to diminish as we begin to realize the fallacies built into this once-pristine perspective. While opportunities do exist, the best opportunities oftentimes remain accessible only to a select few.

One of the most prominent representations of this reality is reflected in the link between education and employment, where gatekeepers have created barriers of entry rooted in institutional bias that continually impede many of us from truly being able to do what we want to do to realize our full potential.

Articles from academia seem to support this increasing commonly held belief. Recently, the findings of one notable study found that the most prestigious employers solicit the bulk of their new hires from a select number of target schools that “systematically skew the playing field toward students from a handful of schools” and “exclude the vast majority of degree holders”, “irrespective of their abilities, skills, or achievements…” These sentiments are also widely echoed by recruiters from top firms.


“95% of our intake is from the top-five business schools. We create inequity in the process by doing this [but]..we have a very good pool that’s easy to reach.” — Recruiter


By maintaining the status quo and sourcing new hires through this incredibly narrow pipeline, employers continue to promote a wasteful recruiting approach that yields an applicant pool with little diversity. Furthermore, the evaluation criteria applied to these candidates poorly predict “on-the-job” performance or cultural fit, leading to high employee turnover, and even worse, the hiring of underprepared candidates.

Image Copyright of EquitySim. References: (1) NY Times Deal Book, (2) Business Insider, (3) Harvard Business Review (4) efinancialcareers (5) NY Times Deal Book

While the current recruiting landscape may seem bleak, it doesn’t have to be.

What if everyone was actually given a fair shot at attaining their dream job and realizing their full potential rather than just a select few?

What if candidates were evaluated on metrics that matter rather than their school pedigree or GPA?

EquitySim was borne out of a desire to realize this merit-based hiring marketplace. By uprooting the inherently flawed practices that dominate today’s inequitable talent system and replacing them with an unbiased data-driven approach, we enable employers to identify the best candidates to fulfill their missions fairly and effectively.

Starting first with the financial services industry, we’ve been empowering candidates to go “beyond the resume” and demonstrate their true strengths and potential. Powered by artificial intelligence and I/O psychology best practices, our platform’s algorithms evaluate a candidate’s skillsets, personality traits and culture fit. We collect up to 100,000 data points for each candidate, allowing for a more comprehensive and fair analysis of capabilities and potential.

In addition, our extensive partnerships with more than 220 colleges and universities worldwide enable employers to identify top talent from a wider, more diverse pool of candidates typically not found through on-campus recruiting.

By increasing access to human potential, we aim to create a marketplace that makes hiring processes smarter, organizations more efficient, and candidate experiences better.

EquitySim’s approach to recruiting translates experiential learning into real-world career opportunities

When we first launched our service in early 2016, our platform was met with both excitement and skepticism. Students, especially from non-target programs, inundated our inbox with emails inquiring about our service. Some doubted our credibility while others delighted in finally getting an opportunity to launch their dream career in finance.

University finance professors were a much easier sell. Our earliest advocates, they praised our simulation’s realistic trading environment and easy-to-use interface. Furthermore, their students were more engaged than ever since doing well no longer just meant getting an “A”, it meant an opportunity to interview with a top firm.

Building partnerships with employers remained our biggest hurdle. Large financial services firms typically like to work with similar sized organizations, yet we were a two person startup with no brand name recognition. While finding it incredibly difficult to get in contact directly with the HR departments of investment banks, we turned to recruiting agencies who were looking to outsource some of their finance roles that were difficult to fill.

Our platform became a boon for our first employer customers. By partnering with EquitySim, these agencies not only yielded higher quality candidates, but also filled the roles in half the time it normally took them. On the heels of this success, we were fortunate enough to establish partnerships with four major botique and bulge bracket banks, all who continue to retain us as their competitive advantage for various hiring needs.

After successfully participating in leading tech incubator 500 Startup’s Batch 20, we’re now proud to announce our $3.1 million seed round led by leading employment tech investor University Ventures, along with Peak Ventures and 500 Startups — FinTech.

Our funding will allow us to further execute on our mission of creating a smarter, merit-based hiring marketplace. We are currently building and expanding our technology and development teams so we can continue to rapidly evolve EquitySim’s platform to meet the unique hiring challenges of top employers from new, similarly competitive industries.

What we’ve set out to do is no easy feat.

Reinventing recruiting from the ground up means breaking down barriers, increasing access, and disrupting entrenched old-world biases.

When the stakes are so high, the dedication to fulfilling our mission remains resolute.

Everyone deserves a real chance at realizing their full potential. We hope you’ll join us on our journey of making that childhood maxim a reality.

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