PeopleAhead Has Forward-Looking Take on the Online Job Board

6/11/08Follow @wroush

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give them the opportunity to define what things are ‘must-haves’ and which things can be fine-tuned until they uncover the best candidates.”

In theory, the process helps companies zero in on candidates who are qualified along all of the critical dimensions for a given position—their ability to work as part of a team, for example. According to Chevalier, a large consulting company that used PeopleAhead’s system to screen new Babson MBAs found several job candidates who hadn’t turned up in a search of the college’s traditional online job board.

The process saves time for job seekers, too. As Laracilla puts it, “It doesn’t do anyone any good if you’re seeing a vice president of marketing position if you’re an entry-level professional.”

Laracilla and Chevalier emphasize that while PeopleAhead has social-networking features, they aren’t out to compete with LinkedIn or other professional networking sites. “We’re trying to learn how members can take advantage of the networks that they’ve already built,” says Chevalier. People who already have profiles at LinkedIn, in fact, can import their profile information into PeopleAhead and be matched with hiring companies instantly.

PeopleAhead is so new and so small—right now, it’s just Laracilla, Chevalier, and one full-time marketing and Web design person—that nobody at Monster.com or HotJobs is likely to feel threatened by the startup. But if anyone should be concerned about PeopleAhead’s alternative job-search model, it’s them.

In the company blog, Chevalier and Laracilla argue that looking for a job on a giant, anonymous site like Monster, is like trusting a complete stranger to send you on a blind date. Successful blind dates work, they point out, “because your friends recommend dates they believe are a good match. They’re recommending your blind date not just because they know you’ll like the way your date looks, but also because they believe that your personality, style and demeanor are a good fit.”

If all that an employer knows about you is what’s on your résumé, they argue, “it’s very difficult to make an informed decision….[which] is why your online career presence must be multidimensional.” Like a number of the local tech startups we cover—MoneyAisle is an example, but so are Everyscape, Geezeo, Matchmine, TrustPlus, and Vlingo—-Chevalier and Laracilla’s venture is ultimately geared toward overcoming the artificial, somewhat mechanical nature of many first-generation Web applications—and helping people interact online in the same ways they do in the rest of their lives.

Wade Roush is Xconomy's chief correspondent and editor of Xconomy San Francisco. You can subscribe to his Google Group or e-mail him at wroush@xconomy.com. Follow @wroush

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