Graduate unemployment still remains a serious issue for the global economy. Opportunities for students, graduates and career-changers worldwide to gain professional work experience have never been more important- internships, volunteering, mentoring and research collaborations, while interest in entrepreneurship continues to surge worldwide.
But how is the recruitment technology industry responding of late? Tinder-for-Jobs apps. Yes, a slew of job search apps have hit the US, and UK/Europe hard in particular, all making promises to ‘revolutionise’ recruitment in one fell ‘swipe’ by swapping old-school CV keyword analysis for intelligent job-candidate matching algorithms.
But according to Adam Dimitroff, founder of a new student-business matchmaking platform Werkabee, the so-called ‘Tinder-for-Jobs’ app movement is hardly the future of nor has the potential to truly disrupt the recruitment market.
“These apps are not going to ‘fix’ the broken recruitment system- they’re trying to oversimplify it, and I think missing the big picture,” says Adam.
This ‘big picture’ in Adam’s opinion is the tendency of these apps and even the wider recruit-tech industry to focus products near-exclusively on student and graduate job searching, when what they should be concentrating more on is developing products which give students and graduates better access to the professional work experience they need before attempting to enter the job market.
“I believe that the actual employability needs of millennial career opportunity-seekers as early as high school are effectively being ignored by most recruit-tech products on the market. Millennials deserve (or at least need) their own recruit-tech to help them get their early careers moving at a faster rate- but something which caters to on-demand, mobile technology expectations as well.”
Adam enlisted the design help of friend and university careers colleague Jonny Lott in early 2015 to start fleshing out his early concept design for Werkabee- a unique mobile platform which takes a data-based approach to student-business matchmaking, but switches focus to professional experience and away from jobs.
“Recruit-tech aimed at students has to date concentrated on essentially the same thing- how to better match students to individual job vacancies,” say Adam.
“Werkabee is instead about better connecting like-minded individuals so they can easily have a conversation about moving an opportunity or collaboration forward, which is how it should be at this level.”
Powered by a matching system (Nectarmatch), the Werkabee platform works off user profile data to deliver users an instant, ranked shortlist of their most compatible business or professional matches, nearby or in any worldwide destination. It then allows them to manage their shortlist and contact their favourites directly via the platform’s in-built instant messaging or live video chat.
The plan is to eventually make the platform available on Android/iOS/Windows smartphone, but also tablet, laptop and PC to cater effectively for business workplace users who might still prefer not to do their hiring from a mobile device.
“There’s far more opportunity out there for students in more industries and types of organisations than students realise,” says Adam. “The problem is so far they’ve had no other tools to properly access it besides LinkedIn, which millennials basically don’t use.”
“Werkabee will give anyone- from high schoolers or college graduates to researchers and budding entrepreneurs and even career-changers- better access to the hidden opportunity they need to develop stronger careers in the longer term, says Adam.”
But as Jonny is quick to point out, Werkabee is not a ‘LinkedIn Junior’ by any stretch. “Werkabee is a far cry from traditional (translate: boring) job search apps and much more suitable for millennials than anything on the market,” he says. “It’s a matchmaker, short-lister and networking platform all rolled into one, but instead of more serious professional networking Werkabee has a fun, on-line dating feel.”
“Our easy profile-builder encourages students and graduates to show the things about themselves that really matter to businesses,” continues Adam. “It prompts them to think about their personal qualities such as potential, attitude, motivations and values alongside their brand and digital footprint, rather than focusing so much on skills, experience and qualifications. They can describe what type of workplace they prefer to work in and even what type of people they’d like to work with, making sure they get the right experience with the right people in the right organisation.”
What’s even more notable is that Werkabee promises to match and shortlist users either nearby or in any global destination- sure to be a big draw for students who fancy themselves as ‘global citizens’ looking to build an international portfolio of experience and for businesses looking for an injection of international talent. Great add-ons include personality-testing, practice interview recording and even the chance for them to have some fun experiencing different ‘virtual work environments’ via simulated gaming.
It’s certainly a very interesting concept, and with the added pluses clear personal touch, flexibility across all types of experience and potential to appeal strongly to both passive and active opportunity-seekers, Werkabee has potential to become a real game-changer in early talent recruitment.
“Werkabee is a faster, better way for parties to connect and discuss mutual benefit,” says Adam. It’s about conversations, not applications…potential, not credentials. We’re not enhancing the candidate application or job posting experience, we’re removing it.”
“Werkabee levels the playing field for all types of student and graduate opportunity-seekers,” adds Jonny. “We want to ensure everyone has access to the organisations, individuals and opportunities they deserve, worldwide.”