At DEMO08, a new type of job web site launches today: PaidInterviews. Unlike today’s traditional (ahem, boring) job sites like Monster.com or HotJobs, PaidInterviews combines social networking with a more sophisticated job matching algorithm to deliver a Web 2.0-style web site that will appeal to today’s youngest career-seekers: Generations X and Y.
Many of today’s web sites for seeking employment seem like they haven’t been updated in years – many don’t even offer RSS feeds! It’s as if the whole shift to a more social web has completely passed them by. It’s about time those static sites received a little competition…and now they have it. Compared to the others, PaidInterviews is more innovative, but, like most new sites, it will only be disruptive if they can build a large enough network of users.
What makes PaidInterviews different is that it’s more of a social network than a job search web site. And before the LinkedIn comparisons start up, remember that this site is designed solely to connect potential employees with employers – a feature that’s only one aspect of what LinkedIn offers. PaidInterviews is more focused on “careers” than “contacts.”
On the site, users create profiles and fill them out with the expected info like education, work history, skill set, etc. But there are also Web 2.0 aspects to these profiles – things like profile photos and tags, for example. Also, one of the big differences is that on PaidInterviews, potential employees have the option to upload video resumes along with their other information. Several spots are provided where you have the option to upload any sort of videos you want. The site does offer some suggestions, though, based on traditional interview questions (“What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?”, “Why should you be hired?” etc.)
Video resumes may be the next big thing for job seekers, but few sites have implemented them so far. (We looked at few of those sites earlier this year on the post “The Resume, Rebooted” available here).
Another difference between PaidInterviews and the current crop of job sites is the way they match candidates to jobs. Instead of simple keyword-based matching (which leads to spammy invites from recruiters who just scour the database for a particular word), PaidInterviews uses a patented “Optimatch” technology. Like “eHarmony for jobs,” optimatch works by having candidates fill out and rate various aspects about their ideal career (pay, lifestyle, benefits, commute, skills, etc.). On the other end, employers then see matches ranked by percentage of the best (highest %) matches to the worst (lowest %) .
Optimatch in Action
Employers don’t get to see a candidate’s personal info unless they’re ready to interview, at which point they need to make arrangements to pay. However, the business model for PaidInterviews is very different – commission fees aren’t paid to recruiters, but to the candidates themselves – sort of a “sign on” bonus thanks to using the site.
Candidates name their asking fee which is then matched to an employer’s bid fee and this fee is paid by the employers on top of the employee’s salary. If a candidate and employer are a good match but the asking fee and bid don’t match up, they can both negotiate to reach an agreed ask fee. PaidInterviews believes this will lead to higher-quality candidates – it may or may not, but it’s an interesting experiment. Considering that the youngest crop of workers (Gen Y) sees their skill set as a commodity available to whichever employer makes it most worth their while, this creative model might just gain traction.
The other big feature of this site is an area called the “Watercooler,” which is a place where you can ask and answer questions about what a particular company is like. Here you can talk about what you liked/didn’t like about the company. Since your username will display here, you may not want to go with your traditional web handle when signing up for PaidInterviews. Let the site instead generate a user ID for you so you can anonymously share your real thoughts.
Will PaidInterviews take off? It’s too soon tell, but they have a lot of great features that make it a more appealing career search web site than what we currently have available today. There is certainly a lack of social media-infused innovation in this market, so it’s nice to see they are doing something unique.