Recently, a staffer with CareerCloud.com wrote me about a new social jobs referral tool called Jobs With Friends and offered me the opportunity to do an e-mail Q&A with the site’s CEO Chris Russell. A company-supplied bio says of Russell: “Chris Russell is considered the mad scientist of online recruiting. Helping connect jobseekers to employers through technology is his only mission. Currently he is the founder & CEO of CareerCloud.com based in Connecticut. Follow him on twitter @chrisrussell.”
Below is our Q&A with Russell, let us know what you think of the concept
ABJH: Was is the thinking behind the creation of Jobs With Friends, how is it different from other job hunting tools?
Russell: The idea stems from the fact that people get hired faster if they know someone at a company. And by piecing together one’s Facebook and LinkedIn connections into one giant database of people you know, the idea kind of created itself. It’s different because it lets you “company hunt” by browsing your connections, viewing available jobs and easily ask them for a referral though a one click button.
ABJH: What can the site do that someone can’t do on their own by contacting friends, associates, etc?
Russell: Jobs With Friends automates some of that process and also makes it easier to browse and filter your contacts. I have a few hundred Facebook friends but over 2,000 LinkedIn connections so being able to filter and sort through that data makes it much easier as a job hunting tool.
ABJH: Should job hunters use your site in conjunction with aggregation sites like Indeed.com as well as job sites like CareerBuilder.com? If so, how?
Russell: Actually another feature of the site is our integration with Indeed.com’s data. Each company in your network has a profile on Jobs With Friends and it automatically displays any of their jobs that they have listed. In addition you can search the entire Indeed site and we overlay all your contacts on top of it. So when you do a broader search for jobs we automatically show you whenever you have a connection there. It’s a better way to job hunt!
ABJH: Tell me about the jobs with friends option, how does it work and how do you ensure user data privacy in the process?
Russell: To sign up all you need is a Facebook account. Once you connect we import your friends names and current employers. Then from your dashboard you can import your LinkedIn connections as well. Nothing is posted to your wall or account. We don’t collect any other personal data and the service is completely private. The only way someone will know you are using it is if you ask them for a referral!
ABJH: Tell us about your social resume concept, how is it different from a regular resume?
Russell: Well your paper resume is what you did, but your social resume is who you are. Your social activities—the things you tweet about, blog about and post pictures of tell a story about who you are. That information is becoming more important to potential employers since they want to ensure the right “fit” for their organization. There are even some companies who now ONLY want your social profile data to evaluate you. Our social resume platform is undergoing a new redesign and will launch in about six more weeks. Then you’ll be able to aggregate all your social accounts onto one page that you can promote to others and help you stand out.
ABJH: Tell us about your hidden jobs app, how does that work?
Russell: Hidden Jobs app is a 99 cent app for Apple and Android users. It’s a database of articles that mention companies that are expanding and growing that announced imminent hiring plans. Just download the app and select your state to see whats upcoming. Its like radar for new jobs that have yet to be posted online.
ABJH: What is the most important piece of advice you would give a job hunter in today’s jobs market?
Russell: Today’s job hunt is much different than it was five years ago. My most important advice would be to arm yourself by becoming educated on all the tips, tactics and tools that are available today. That means maximizing your online presence, having a great (not good) resume that stands out, leveraging your personal connections, finding all the important job boards that target your desired industry and becoming a great interviewer.
I wish more high schools and colleges taught job hunting in school. It’s a very valuable skill to master in today’s world.