Startup Leverages Networks to Help Candidates and Jobs JIBE

Mar 22, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Blogging from the ERE Expo last week I mentioned a social recruiting startup that was pretty ingenious in its utility. It wasn’t ready to uncloak then, but now it has and JIBE is something you need to see.

(You’ll need a special invite, since it’s in private beta. JIBE is offering access to 100 ERE users. Enter ERE in the invite box.)

The site leverages networking sites Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to show job seekers who they know at companies posting job openings. That description, while accurate, doesn’t do justice to the elegance of the idea.

It’s a referral system that makes it simple for a job seeker to use their network to find out about the company and the job. But it works the other way, too. Recruiters can search the profiles and when they find someone interesting, they pay for access. Unlocking a candidate’s contact info also gives them access to the candidate’s connections at the company.

JIBE is aimed at Gen Y, more of whom will have Facebook profiles than they will LinkedIn. When a job seeker registers with Jibe, the site uses Facebook Connect to pull in the user’s work and education information to populate a candidate profile. Then, for every job on the site, users see who they know there.

They can link their Jibe account to LinkedIn, should they have a profile there, and to Twitter. Joe Essenfeld, Jibe’s CEO who walked me through the program last week at ERE, said other social and business networks will be added as demand grows.

The magic of JIBE is that it’s not attempting to create yet another network. It leverages what people already use and makes the connections more valuable.

As might be expected, JIBE has some fun, and interesting, and even useful bells and whistles. For instance, job postings get automatic rankings based on how often they are viewed. Candidate profiles likewise get ranked so recruiters can see who’s most in demand.

An earlier incarnation called localbacon (as in”bringing home the”) made its debut at TechCrunch50 last September. Its DNA was job board, but the business model was to charge job seekers 99 cents for each application. Just enough to discourage resume blasting, it was hoped, but not enough to stop qualified applicants.

LocalBacon got mixed reviews when it was written up on TechCrunch. And for the reasons you might think: Not enough value for job seekers; Why pay for what can be had for free on the major job boards?; Nothing much in it for employers.

Essenfeld, who spent most of his young career in the food industry, most recently as  COO for a late-night cookie delivery company, Insomnia Cookies, explained that JIBE incorporates a lot of what he and his team learned from localbacon.

“We wanted to have some sort of control on the number of applications that a user can send in a week,” he says. “So we can up with this system of credits. You get some when you join and you can get more by buying them or updating your profile. It’s a way to get people to think about the jobs instead of just shooting out emails.”

localbacon, which is still online, gave the team experience collecting job postings, and polishing and parsing them. They also developed filters, which JIBE uses to ensure that candidate profiles are easily imported into all the leading talent acquisition systems.

Besides announcing the private beta of the site, JIBE also announced it has gotten raised $875,000 in seed capital funding led by Polaris Venture Partners. Also participating in the funding are: Jason Calacanis, Ken and Ben Lerer from Lerer Media Ventrues, Josh and Jared Kushner from Launch Capital, and Zelkova Ventures.

Essenfeld says the funding will be used for further development, and for marketing and sales. He’s going out on the road for the next few weeks visiting college campuses to promote JIBE as a job searching tool for students, especially those seniors looking at a still-tough job market.

For the time being, JIBE is focusing on entry-level jobs and candidates from east of the Mississippi River.

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