Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Leveraging Facebook to Find a Job

Jibe Jibe combines user profiles from LinkedIn and Facebook to help job seekers use their social contacts to look for work.

Most people use Facebook to keep in touch with their friends, plan their social calendars, crowdsource apartment hunts and even finagle a first date.

Why not use it to land a job?

That’s the idea behind Jibe, a New York start-up hoping to revitalize online job search using Facebook.

Jibe is one of the start-ups housed in Dogpatch Lab’s New York
, a technology incubator backed by Polaris Ventures, a Boston-area venture capital firm. The company recently raised $875,000 in seed funding from Polaris Ventures, Josh and Jared Kushner, Zelkova Ventures and Lerer Media Ventures. On Tuesday, the service comes out of beta.

To start, job seekers connect their LinkedIn and Facebook profiles to pull in education and work history to quickly build a profile on Jibe. Then, they can begin searching for companies and industries they are interesting in working at to see who they know employed in those areas and can easily get in touch with friends to ask for advice or a reference or inquire about job openings.

Many start-ups have tackled reinventing the jobs board, with varying success. Others, like Craigslist and, tend to be overrun with duplicate postings and have a high volume of applicants for each listing. And still others, like TheLadders, target people in search of executive positions and six-figure salaries.

Jibe, however, is setting its sights on the collegiate crowd and recent graduates who are starting from scratch and likely to be bewildered by the job application process, said Joe Essenfeld, co-founder and chief executive of the company.

“We want to help entry-level job seekers find their first job and get recommendations, which is something you don’t learn in college,” he said.

The company said its primary goal is attracting new users to the service.

The next step for Jibe, Mr. Essenfeld said, is incorporating job listings culled from the Internet and through partnerships with companies looking to target a small pool of qualified applicants for entry-level positions.

“We’re targeting white-collar companies in cities looking for entry-level candidates in finance, health care and marketing,” said Mr. Essenfeld.

To monetize its service, Jibe will charge employers to have full access to its pool of job candidates. Recruiters can search through the database free, Mr. Essenfeld said, but to send a message to a Jibe member or see a full profile will cost money.

As a former hiring manager, Mr. Essenfeld said he believed that employers would be happy to pay for access to a smaller pool of qualified applicants, rather than wade through the hundreds of résumés that are sent to each listing on sites like Craigslist and CareerBuilders.

In addition, Mr. Essenfeld said the service would charge its highest-volume users.

“If you want to be a power user and apply to 25 jobs in a week, you pay $5 to do that,” he said. “But if you only want to apply to four or five jobs in a week, that’s free.”

Alternatively, job seekers can earn credits that unlock paid features by using services within Jibe, like writing a recommendation, tweeting about the service and inviting friends to join the network.

“We want to give everyone the opportunity to apply for a job for free,” Mr. Essenfeld said

Original Article

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