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Collegefeed Connects Grads and Jobs

July 10, 2014

Katy Murphy, The Oakland Tribune

Job interview (file photo)  

Job interview (file photo)

July 10--Silicon Valley has given the world another matchmaking service -- this one, to set up recent college graduates with gainful employment.

Looking for a strong writer and varsity athlete? A computer science major and Python programming whiz? Ask Collegefeed, and a short list of candidates will soon pop up in your inbox.

In an era where algorithms suss out one's tastes in music and love, finding the right job and a strong hire shouldn't be so agonizing, says Sanjeev Agrawal, founder of Mountain View-based company. It's part of a new wave of startups aiming to make looking for work -- and workers -- less of a slog.

On most job boards, he said, "You post yourself on these sites and you wait and you hope to be discovered."

Collegefeed tries to move things along by acting as a broker, screening profiles (now, mostly, through automation) and e-mailing its matches to recruiters based on their preferences. When recruiters get a small batch of screened profiles, the thinking goes, they are likely to give them a good look.

"I'm feeling really optimistic that this site is going to lead to an interview," said Charles Ademola Saseun, a recent UC Berkeley graduate whose profile shows him smiling in a suit jacket, bow tie and sunglasses.

A San Francisco startup contacted him on the site last week, he said, and they have been communicating by email.

The startups MindSumo and Studyka have a different angle, creating challenges to help students get companies' attention. Emjoyment, a Mountain View company launched early this year, compares itself to Tinder, a popular mobile dating app.

"The reason for this new site was simple," one of Emjoyment's co-founders posted on Reddit in February to announce its launch, "finding a job is a pain in the ass and you almost never find ones you actually want."

Companies pay for most Collegefeed services -- including tips on setting up profiles attractive to millennials -- but it is free for job-seekers like Saseun. The Cal graduate's profile highlights his interest in sports marketing and participation on UC Berkeley's varsity track and field team -- which, he said, he didn't originally emphasize.

The site is open to anyone who has been out of college for less than five years, Agrawal said.

As of this week, Collegefeed said it had between 30,000 and 40,000 job-seekers and more than 1,000 employers; Emjoyment's co-founder Adam Saven said the app had roughly 10,000 users and 100 employers -- both tiny compared to LinkedIn, a professional networking giant with a decade of lead time.

LinkedIn has 39 million students and recent graduates, said a company spokesman, and more than 25,000 employers use the site to recruit workers.

Its size makes the network a must for college students, said Elizabeth Krishnan, an associate director at Santa Clara University's career center. "LinkedIn has the attention of recruiters in a massive way," she said.

But, she added, the center encourages students to explore a range of sites, including Collegefeed.

Like students, companies seeking a match don't limit themselves to one resource. NetApp, a data storage company based in Sunnyvale, uses LinkedIn, Collegefeed and several others, said Trent Peterson, a recruitment manager for the firm.

NetApp used Collegefeed when it needed to hire college students for its Boston office in a hurry -- and it worked, he said. They hired three within two weeks.

"Collegefeed gets top talent and they send it right to your email," Peterson said. "It's a gift."

Collegefeed can tell when a company has contacted a graduate on the site, but it doesn't collect data on hiring.

A few weeks after setting up his Collegefeed profile, UC Berkeley grad Shyan Kashani had yet to hear from an employer, but he's not giving up. He predicts the job-search innovations will keep getting better -- and that they will eventually take over the job search.

"It's funny," he said. "The job application process, even for these extremely high profile tech companies, is still the same one that's been employed for many decades, and it's pretty clunky."

Follow Katy Murphy at Twitter.com/katymurphy.

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(c)2014 The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

Original headline: Job-search startup helps college grads and companies find each other


Source: (c)2014 The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.)

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