$3 Million For New Social Recruiting Site

Aug 4, 2009
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

If a startup can land $3 million in angel investment in a market like this, it’s a company worth watching even if it is a close DNA relative to Facebook and LinkedIn and only a gene or two removed from what Jobster once hoped to be. is a new networking site that describes itself as “the first platform dedicated to social recruiting, which brings the relationship-oriented process of social networking to job recruiting.” Think of KODA as Facebook without the embarrassing pictures and without the comments from friends you never want mom — or a recruiter — to see.

““KODA is more professional than Facebook but more personal than LinkedIn, letting both sides of the hiring equation get to know each other,” says Jeff Berger, co-founder (with Tony York) and CEO of KODA, in a press release issued by the site Monday.

The target is Gen Y, a group with academic chops but little business experience. For them a traditional resume isn’t going to land them a look, let alone a job, considering all the recession-fueled layoffs that are hitting the entry-level workforce hard. So KODA has structured, yet personal profiles that give you a feel for the person behind the words. There’s a place for those oh so old-school resumes, but the heart of the experience are the “Me in Three” bullet points and “A Deeper Look.” Together, these two categories, and a third for “Life Experiences,” offer a refreshing and candid self-description of the people on the site.

For instance, one of the KODA members got a master’s in landscape architecture after earning undergrad and graduate degrees in theater design and stagecraft and working for several years (not one of the Gen Y’ers) with opera and dance companies. Why is a puzzler, until you read about her decision in her “Life Experiences” section where she explains she wanted to help her adopted New Orleans rebuild after the hurricane.

These are the kinds of things a recruiter wants to know, but will never find out from a resume.

On the other side of the equation are the companies with jobs. Although KODA reports having relationships with some 350 companies and non-profits, the majority on the site say they aren’t hiring and have no listed jobs. All, though, complete a profile of their own. The expectation is that these profiles will give job seekers a feel for the company and its culture. In time, perhaps they will.

KODA’s features are still on the raw side, not unexpected for a site in beta. The promise, however, is that once built-out, KODA will present its members with jobs that match their interests and background and help them connect with those companies. Right now, completing the “compatibility criteria” — such things as company size, type of job, attire, corporate environment, and so on — produces about the same result as a keyword search, but with fewer jobs.

KODA’s business development lead, Katie Del Guercio, says the site is not just for job seekers. It’s for “having an online professional identity,” she explains, going on to say that college freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to create a profile and use it to manage their professional persona as they grow themselves.

KODA isn’t the first site to launch with similar goals. Jobster, after completing one of its frequent transitions a couple years ago, offered both candidate and company profiles. The difference, though, was that Jobster made it possible for candidates to contact company employees to get an insider’s view that might — or might not — be more honest than what the recruiter’s said. But at least it was available.

KODA doesn’t connect individuals. As its FAQs say, “While KODA is inspired by social networking sites, it simply isn’t one.”

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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