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Posted at 04:13 AM ET, 10/01/2012

D.C. job-search start-up launching at DEMO in Silicon Valley

Washington, D.C.-based start-up Barrel of Jobs has a new way to find and apply for jobs.

Today’s hiring market is inefficient, chief executive Christopher Hertz said. Job recruiters in any field often take months to connect with
Barrel of Jobs aims to connect job seekers with jobs through their friends. (Spencer Platt - GETTY IMAGES)
qualified job candidates, yet unemployment remains high.

To better match candidates with jobs they may be interested in, Barrel of Jobs’online platform lets users browse jobs postings, and send them to their friends who might be interested through various social networks.

Barrel of Jobs uses a multi-level incentive program. If a user helps with a successful hire, they receive a financial reward from the satisfied employer. The user can either receive the bonus as an Amazon gift card, or can donate to one of the site’s selected charities.

“Welcome to the only Web site where you can help a friend find a job, earn some money for your efforts, and put America back to work,” Barrel of Jobs’ introductory video boasts.

Barrel of Jobs is launching its social job search site officially today at DEMO, a high-profile conference and launch-event for emerging technologies and new products held in Silicon Valley. Here’s a quick Q&A with Hertz:

How does Barrel of Jobs work?

It’s pretty simple. We believe that hiring is broken and inefficient. We live in a world where we’ve become incredibly efficient at many things, but finding and filling jobs is inefficient and ineffective in the U.S.

We built a Web site that leverages a socialized crowd-sourcing platform to source better candidates. [It involves] science around human dynamics first and foremost, the idea of multi-level incentives – financial and non-financial rewards, and the sharing of jobs.

An employer can visit the site, post a job, distribute it to employees, and supercharge their employee referral. The only time the employer pays is when we successfully find a hire – they pay $500, we take $200, and we pay out to the people who helped. [Recipients can also choose to donate the money to one of Barrel of Jobs’selected charities.]

How did it come about?

The idea came out of my own pain. I ran a small business called New Signature. The challenge we had and that everyone had is finding talent — we weren’t able to grow as fast as we liked. [Everyone felt] ‘we don’t have a big pool of recruiters we can leverage, and don’t have a large employee network that works as a really big employee referral program.’

I was increasingly frustrated that I could go on eBay and buy a lunchbox in 30 seconds, but it takes me months to find an employee for the right job. For a small business, it costs about two times what it costs a large business to recruit talent. I said, ‘there’s gotta be a better way.’

In 2011, we launched Barrel of Jobs as a concept, started to work on the technology, filed a patent application, and spent last year building the technology out. We’re ready now to go to DEMO.

How are you funded?

We’ve been in the great position of self-funding, and haven’t had to take on any money, but that’s been a challenge. We’ve taken all the risk ourselves, and have self-funded about three quarters of a million dollars through various mechanisms. We’re going to launch the product, so we may have to go out and raise some money. We’ve also got some other groups interested in supporting us — Microsoft is launching a social cause campaign, and going to feature Barrel of Jobs to promote us to all their small business partners and customers.

What’s your biggest challenge?

Getting the product right. We’ve spent a lot of time working in private beta and now have a public beta where we’ve been working with a few key employers. We’ve been listening to a lot of feedback. With something you think [as a developer] is really intuitive, people who are participating will come back and say it doesn’t make a lot of sense. You have to have an open mind to make changes to the product.

We’re going to go live, but that’s been the biggest challenge — to be able to get all the feedback.

How will this affect job recruiters and recruiting agencies?

This is a benefit to recruiting companies. Their job is sourcing [candidates], [verifying a candidate’s] qualification, and sales. We’re solving sourcing.

If we can get our friends to do that, and we empower them, it takes away the huge drags to the recruiter. Recruiters really want to spend more time qualifying — it’s going to make their lives easier and more efficient as well.

What are you looking forward to at DEMO?

We’re proud to be representing D.C.

D.C. isn’t seen as a sexy place, and I think that’s wrong. We don’t get a lot of respect outside D.C., but we’re really excited to be able to show that there are companies in D.C. catching the eyes of folks on the West Coast.

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