The Joy of Helping Job Seekers
Two Days, Two Jobs, Many Winners
In back-to-back days last week our team at Hearty was thrilled to hear that our company helped a job candidate and hiring manager connect and choose to work together. We’re a long way from Indeed or LinkedIn, but it’s not the first time our pre-seed startup has fulfilled its mission of helping great people find each other for career opportunities.
Experts say that entrepreneurs should start companies in areas where they are solving their own problems, and build in an area they are passionate about. The hiring process is a big one for me. I’ve hired hundreds of people in my career and helped many more secure jobs elsewhere. I love giving great people the opportunity to grow in jobs. I hate seeing great people stuck with dysfunctional companies, bad bosses, and frustrating job searches.
But you never know if you’re on the right track at a startup until you prove you can deliver real value. Today I wanted to share a few things we’ve learned and preview where we’re heading next.
Proving the Model
Starting a company is an experiment in which you continually test large and small hypotheses—also known as “come up with ideas, fling them at the wall and see what sticks.” For the past few months we’ve had a group of friends testing our software product. And while our developers were coding, Ryan and I tested an idea around adding more life to job posts that we call The Daily Cast. I wrote about the launch of this experiment back in the Fall when we started, and you can see our collection of examples here.
Some of our posts were more creative and drove more traffic and applications than others, but each one was a valuable experiment—and we greatly appreciate the hiring managers who gave us their time and trust! The feedback from LinkedIn, Twitter, and the companies involved was very positive. People who saw the posts frequently shared, liked and tagged people they thought might be a fit. Candidates appreciated seeing hiring managers speak in their own (video) words about who they were looking for and why their opportunity was a great one.
Our ultimate goal was to see if we could reduce the time and cost to hire amazing talent. But the hiring process still takes time, and we had to wait and wonder if we were having an effect. As weeks went by we started to hear more stories of people who discovered jobs and candidates through our efforts. And some commonalities have started to surface:
They tend to be “Passive” seekers, who were not out of work or actively looking, but were intrigued in discovering and learning about the job openings.
The candidates were able to provide positive referrals at the beginning of the process from common contacts.
Many are Diverse candidates, with the two examples last week being women in positions that men usually fill.
If you ask any recruiter, they will violently agree that referred, passive, diverse candidates are the unicorns that make their jobs a helluva a lot easier. Oh, they also like the fact that these jobs were filled without spending $10,000 or more on external head hunters. We know this because that’s what recruiters told us in the more than 50 interviews we’ve done over the past year.
It’s Not About the Money
The biggest hypothesis we are proving so far is something that has been hiding in plain site for all of human history: People enjoy helping each other—and they don’t require a cash incentive to do so. Research studies suggest that people would rather assist friends—and even strangers—for general feelings of happiness and relationship-building, rather than a financial bonus.
Even though most companies gladly offer a referral bonus of $1000 or more, the vast majority of employees we’ve spoken with say they refer candidates mainly because they want their company to do well, and they want to work side-by-side with great people that they know and trust. The money is nice, but mainly unnecessary, and might even weaken company culture.
We all do good deeds like this much more for the social capital it creates. Social capital is defined by Wikipedia as: “the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively.” In the case of job introductions and referrals, we tend to believe this is part of the give-and-take of relationships among a relatively small group of people that we work and play with for most of our lives. We pay-it-forward with help in hope that others help us when we are in need. We earn status and boost our reputations by helping others. And the more social capital that is created, the better and more efficiently a company—and society—operates.
While job search help can be effective without cash incentives, we think it can work a lot better. That’s why we’re building Hearty to be a community where mutual help and benefit is more encouraged, more efficient and more effective.
A big step we have started to introduce on our platform is our own system of “Hearty Social Capital.” Think of it as the scoreboard in our game of helping each other find and be found for work opportunities. Members are awarded with “SC” points whenever they do something that helps another member and/or the overall community—things like making recommendations, leaving comments, and inviting new members.
Your total social capital earned becomes part of your profile on Hearty, and we feature the biggest givers on weekly, monthly and all-time Leaderboards. We’ll be doing more in the months ahead to give additional benefits to the people who contribute the most to fellow community members, while making sure that our scoring system isn’t “gamed.”
Two Last Week..Someday, Two Million
In addition to the two job matches we made last week, more than 20 people have landed jobs in the past few months because of help from our small but growing Hearty community. Our team has been working through days, nights and weekends building further enhancements—confident and energized by the signs that we are onto something special.
Several of you, dear readers, have already joined the cause. And we thank you. For others, I invite you to join a special cause of mutual success.