New social network matches job seekers and recruiters

Workey, an Israeli start-up’s job-search engine, is garnering lots of fans on both sides of the hiring desk

The Workey team (Omri Aharonov)
The Workey team (Omri Aharonov)

Many people feel that they’re wasting their time hanging out on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks – but the folks at Workey encourage users of its job-finding platform to chat, tweet, and otherwise make their presence known on social media. “The people you know are the best source for you to find a new job, and the best way for employers to ensure that they are getting the right person,” said Danny Shtainberg, head of business development at Workey. “Friends bringing friends to fill jobs at companies are considered by many employers to be the best way to recruit new workers, and we help that happen.”

Agreeing with that principle are some of the world’s biggest tech firms, like Sandisk, EMC, Facebook, Outbrain and many others others who are clients of Workey’s.

One of the challenges prominent today’s job market, especially in high-tech, is recruiting quality candidates and successful company,” according to Shtainberg. “Companies invest considerable resources in order to reach the right candidates, but it’s hit and miss. The best results come from a ‘friend brings a friend’ method of recruitment, where employees let their acquaintances know about open positions, but even this yields barely a 30% hiring rate. With Workey, that goes up to between 70% and 80%.”

Recruiting is one of the biggest headaches at any company – especially among company’s in Israel’s booming tech economy. For good candidates in tech, finance, marketing, and other positions in high-tech firms, there are a plethora of positions available – but companies are reluctant to advertise them, because they fear being inundated by a tsunami of resumés. But on the other hand, the need for workers is acute – so they turn to current employees, asking them to spread the word about open jobs (sometimes rewarding them for successful hires).

Sometimes this works, but not all employees are aware of their friends’ specific skill sets. Plus, there’s the issue if an already gainfully employed acquaintance is even interested in moving on. “There are just too many iffy factors involved in the process,” said Shtainberg. But still, as the friend recruitment route has proven to be the most successful overall, Workey decided to enhance and expand it, creating an engine that automates the process for both job seekers and employers. “Using big data, we close the gap between where a job seeker is and where is job they might be interested in is,” said Shtainberg. “Social media, where friends meet friends on-line, gives us the ability to automate the process, and to ferret out the people who are both qualified and are looking for work.”

Job-seekers fill out a form on the Workey site, listing their skills and interests – and then are asked to connect with members of their various social networks for endorsements and recommendations (any recruited friend is asked if they want to share their personal details on the Workey network). Workey then connects with those on-line acquaintances, and checks to see where they work – and if there are any open positions available at the companies it works with, which Workey has in its large and growing database. The applicant’s information is sent anonymously – including skills sets and qualifications, sans contact information – and the company decides whether or not to follow up.

If there’s a match, then bingo – the job-seeker gets a message describing the job, salary, and the name of the company, and is invited to submit a resumé, which Shtainberg says is transferred directly to the people who make the hiring decisions, not to the general human resources mailbox where most other resumés end up. “The companies are paying us to do this, so they are not going to ignore the candidates we bring,” he said.

According to Shtainberg, it’s worth joining Workey even for those not actively looking for a job right now – because you never know. At any given time, about a quarter of workers in the tech industry are looking for work actively – meaning they would consider any bon fide offer – while another 60% are “passive” job seekers, meaning that they are relatively happy where they are, but would consider moving if a better offer came along. For those passive job-seekers, Workey is perfect, said Shtainberg; they can join and sit back while the offers roll in. “Since it’s anonymous, no one in their own firm or anywhere else knows that they are considering moving on, and if they do decide to leave – or are forced to – they are in a good position to set up interviews for a new job much more quickly and efficiently, because of their Workey offers. And over time, as the system gets to know a candidate via their social media contacts, it provides better and more relevant offers,” he said. Anyone can join for free (Workey makes its money from the companies that pay for successful referrals).

Workey is barely a few months old, but already has thousands of success stories – ie, successful hires – under its belt. Established along with Shtainberg by several other veterans of the Israeli tech scene, Workey has raised $1.6 million in Round A funding from Magma Venture Capital and Wellborn Ventures. “All of us in the company have been on both sides of the hiring desk, so we know the pain of both job seekers and recruiters,” said Shtainberg. “Many of the social networks claim they are there to help you leverage your contacts to help advance your career, but the evidence has shown that they are not necessarily successful at that – even LinkedIn’s recruitment rate is under 10%. Workey is the first platform that lets you effectively leverage your contacts to advance your career.”

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