Category Archives: Testing and Scoring

How Much Do You Know About U.S. Politics?

We’re just over a month away from the 2012 Presidential election, and less 24 hours out from the first of four presidential debates. The opening debate on the schedule takes place from 9pm to 10:30pm EST at the University of Denver. Whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican or just enjoy some good old-fashioned nationally-televised arguing, it never hurts to take a refresher course on the political issues surrounding this year’s presidential race. Take our US politics test to measure your political savvy, then use the new Dashboard to review your questions to brush up on what you missed. By the time the debate rolls around tonight, you’ll be the Smartestest person in the room*.

U.S. Politics

* claims not verified by the US Department of Education or the laws of English grammar.

The Smarterer Code Olympics – Infographic

The summer games are coming to a close, and to finish off right we thought we’d have some good fun by making an Olympics-themed infographic to award medals to high-scoring countries for our programming-related tests. We gave out gold, silver and bronze medals for both front and back end languages.  Front end languages such as HTML and CSS give the user a great experience with the website, while back end languages like Python and Ruby go behind the scenes to keep things working.

As we dove into the data, we found that the distribution of high scores for languages was pretty diverse across the globe. Here’s a quick summary: 

  • Even though most of our users are from the US, we took only 20% of the medals in front-end languages and a little bit over 20% in the back end languages. 
  • It’s interesting to note that there is not an incredible amount of overlap—aside from the US—among medalists in the front and back end languages. 
  • This suggests that different countries may value and produce front-end and back-end engineers at different rates.
  • HTML and CSS are by far the most popular languages, illustrating that front end languages still far eclipse back end languages in popularity
  • We think this also highlights the skill shortage of engineers and the need for back end languages to catch up to address the skills gap.
Check out the infographic below to see how your country did!

“Why won’t they email me back?”: 5 Tips for Getting an Immediate Response

Applying for jobs can be mentally and physically exhausting.  Pouring hours into searching for the perfect position at the perfect company, only to never hear back from the hiring manager will always be a huge letdown. Check out these 5 helpful tips to help step up your game and get an immediate response from hiring managers.

1.  Make sure you’re qualified for the position – This should go without saying, but nothing gets a resume thrown out faster than an unqualified candidate. A quick glance at the “Requirements” section of a job description should give you a general idea about the types of skills and the level of competency the hiring manager hopes to recruit. If the only requirements you meet are the incredibly vague ones, you probably aren’t the best fit.  

Not to toot our own horn, but if you’re still a little unsure about how you may stack up against other applicants, Smarterer can be a great tool to use to gauge your proficiency in hundreds of different areas. This can be especially useful if it’s your first foray into the work-world, or if you’re in the middle of a career change. Smarterer user Raymond V.  fell into the latter category and noted, “Having something objective to measure myself against helped me validate my resume.”

How well do you really know Twitter, Facebook, or HTML? Tests can help you gauge your knowledge and see how you stack up against the competition!

2.  Do your research – Never send your resume to a company if you don’t know their CEO from their CTO. Research is a vital component during the job search, and leveraging it to your advantage can push you further along the recruitment process. Seeking out a company’s top players, previous projects, and corporate culture is a good place to start.  

It’s not always easy being a job search sleuth, but online tools like Vault and Glassdoor can make your job a lot easier.  Both sites allow users to see unedited opinions regarding company culture, CEO approval ratings, and salary information among many other things. This information becomes extremely helpful when you begin to tailor your cover letter and resume to each company.

3.   Get creative with the subject line of your email –
This is your first opportunity to stand out from the hundreds of other applicants. Don’t get lost in a pile of resumes by using a generic subject line.  Career advice blogger Lei Han suggests using 6-10 words that highlight your best qualifications.  The example she gives is “Position Title + Years of Experience + Industry Experience +Education”. You could even jazz it up a little bit by writing something like “Project Manager w/ MBA Seeks Challenging Work”, or, “Dedicated Programmer, Will Work for Cache”.  Subject lines with this information are a great way to show off your personality, and will immediately grab the attention of hiring managers.

Colin Kersley's Awesomely Creative Resume 4.  Ditch the general cover letter, and don’t limit yourself to email! Hiring managers are looking for any excuse to narrow down the talent pool – sending a stock cover letter will make their decision a lot easier.  Tailor your resume to each job you apply to by using the information you learned while researching the position. Dan Anderson, a partner at the executive search firm C Anderson and Associates, feels that “if the candidate has taken the time to tailor the cover letter and bring out how their background meets the qualifications I want, my impression is going to be that they’re a sharp individual.”

If you see the company has a playful and creative feel to it, show them you’re the most creative candidate in their pile! Colin Kersley and Graeme Anthony are my two favorite examples of using creativity to think outside the stifling job search box. Colin used ink and paper to create a game show-esq resume that he hand delivered to the hiring manager of his dream job. Graeme created an awesomely interactive CV, posted it to YouTube, and then sat back as hundreds of hiring managers from all over the world persuaded him to join their companies.

It’s extremely important to choose the right tools for the job.  What worked for Colin Kersley and Graeme Anthony in their creative industries wouldn’t work nearly as well on Wall Street.

5.  Revise, Revise, Revise – Completing steps 1 through 4 is often a long and tedious process.  Don’t ruin your hard work by being ‘two’ lazy to do some major revising.  

Have more tips that will make you instantly irresistible to a hiring manager?  Share them with us in the comments section!  

Huge Milestone: 5 Million Questions Answered on Smarterer

Smarterer is off to a strong start in 2012 – back in January, we grew by 1250% during one week alone. Now, we’re excited to announce that the Smarterer community has answered over 5 million questions!

You’re using hundreds of Smarterer tests to prove your skills like Microsoft Excel, to Photoshop and CSS. In the Photoshop test alone, for example, over 12,000 people have answered over 194,000 questions to show their skills. We definitely couldn’t have crossed this big milestone without you!

Photoshop Metrics

Sure, five million is a big number, but the real reason we’re excited is that every time a questions is answered, our tests get just a little bit better at measuring your skills. Every question answer logged helps us understand just how easy or difficult a question is, and every question flagged helps us improve the quality of our tests. The more questions answered, the better able we are to improve the whole system for you and the entire community.

The team here at Smarterer is working hard every day to become the gold standard in skills validation, and we couldn’t get there without your help. Thanks for helping us create an easy way for you to show what you know, by answering questions and proving your skills!

Together, we’ll continue to improve Smarterer to help anyone, anywhere prove any skill. Answer more questions to prove a new skill today.

Jennifer Fremont-Smith, CEO