When I was contacted by the team at Quiet Agent.com, I have to admit that I wasn’t too interested. I mean, does the world really need yet another job search Web site when we have such splendid options as SimplyHired and LinkedIn? In fact, we do, and there’s still plenty of room for innovation, as proven by Quiet Agent, which is a pretty darn ingenious twist on the Web-based job board. Where Quiet Agent diverges is that it’s designed for people who are seeking a job quietly. You know who you are: you’ve got a job and you really don’t want news of your search traveling back to your employer because you’re fishing, but you’re not ready to walk yet.
Gary Scheier is the head of US operations for the new company (owned by parent StaffVC) and was kind enough to participate in an interview where he lays out exactly how Quiet Agent is different from other job boards…
Q: Can you tell me some background on the firm? Who founded it, and why a job search site? What’s everyone’s background in the online/offline recruiting world?
StaffCV is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois with a wholly owned subsidiary in Auckland, New Zealand. The company was founded in October 2000 and opened its offices in September 2002 after two years of software development and beta testing. StaffCV has 15 employees, with the founder, Jason Kerr, and the development and marketing team residing in New Zealand. Gary Scheier manages US operations with a small support staff. The company has independent sales offices in New York and Chicago, Sydney and Johannesburg.
QuietAgent is the culmination of an effort that Jason Kerr, StaffCV founder and CEO, initiated in response to expressed market demand from existing clients. Prior to forming StaffCV, Kerr was the co-founder and CEO of Forte Solutions Limited, a New Zealand-based company that developed the first globally affordable airline operations management system based on Microsoft technologies. Several of Forte’s airline customers approached Kerr to help solve an increasingly acute problem they faced, effective and efficient recruitment of pilots. The common message was that they struggled with the process of managing and evaluating the large volume of applicants, they found it very difficult to compare candidates because of the inconsistency of the information they received, and that the recruiting function was absorbing an increasing amount of time and money. Based on this input, Kerr conducted extensive research on the recruiting market and its existing solutions and concluded that a different model was needed. Kerr launched StaffCV with the objective of developing a solution that would enable companies to intelligently and efficiently streamline the process of sourcing, assessing and selecting employees.
There seem to be a lot of different job search sites on the net. Why is this such a popular category?
The job board model began 9 years ago. It has become the industry standard despite its inefficiencies. It is an ad based extension of the classifieds not a technology. There are so many job sites because employers in their desperation to find talent will turn almost anywhere at this point and spend significant dollars for talent. The media companies are dominating the market. It is time for the tech companies to step up and create the efficiencies that technology can deliver. Currently there is a general disenfranchisement in the recruiting market, both online and offline. Employers get flooded with generic résumés and candidates receive little communication about the actual job opportunity unless they are called for an interview. The recruiting cycle is often very long as employers must continue to seek out information from the candidate over the course of multiple interviews and may not learn critical details about the candidate until the end of the process. Recruiting agency fees are being continually questioned, and adequate answers are not forthcoming. The market is poised for a dramatic shift that makes it easy and cost effective for employers and job seekers to connect.
How does QuietAgent differentiate itself from the other job search Web sites online?
QuietAgent is unique. It is not a job search site. There are no job postings and no submitted resumes on QuietAgent. It is the only private, secure, and anonymous network for in -work people to find their next job. It is free to access. It provides sophisticated search tools for the employers. It has a two-way matching system so the career seekers can set their desires for employers to match and employers set their skills and knowledge requirements for career seekers to match.
From an employers perspective, does QuietAgent help separate the wheat from the chaff, the legit, qualified candidates from the thousands of people who believe that sending out their resume to any remotely matching position is a good search strategy?
QA has multiple filters for the employers to set including skills, task frequencies, IT competencies, work preference assessment profiling, star performer profiling against the best people in their business and the ability to rank and rate on any question and answer that the career seekers are completing on their QA Passports. The employers will only see the top scoring candidates if they also match the career seekers desires which include, location, salary, benefits, job title, job level, industries, company type.
From an employee perspective, how important is the “secretly search” capability of your site, and why?
We do have versions of QA for Government Agencies and Community Based Groups. And we know the unemployed will find there way to QA. But QA is designed for the employed job seeker who would not go to a job board nor to a recruiting agency. This is 95% of our workers. They need a site where they can remain anonymous and set the conditions whereby they can be found. Employers by staying anonymous are not flooded with unwanted resumes.
You pride yourself on relevance of search results. How do you accomplish this, and, for that matter, can you explain exactly what you mean?
Each career seeker has one electronic resume in QA that is always being updated to reflect their current skills, knowledge and desires. The data is never old as compared to a resume submitted to a job board which is not a living document
How sophisticated is your search system? Can I detail that I’m looking for ‘HR jobs with high tech startups within 10 miles of downtown Kansas City’, for example?
See question 4. You can set your location. The software has every country, state, region and city in the world. You set your industry preferences. QA has 82 industries. You set your job titles you are willing to be searched on. QA has 1200 job titles representing 48,000 jobs. You set your benefits, salary and vacation time needed. You set your job type as either full time, part time, contract, temporary, volunteer, or holiday. You set your job level that you qualify for from intern all the way up to Senior Executives and Advisory Board. And you set the size of the company and its structure such as non-profit or for profit etc.
The folks at Yahoo! Jobs came out and said that they intend to be a one-stop search engine for job searches. Do you think they have any special advantages and are you concerned about them focusing more attention on this space? And how about Google getting into this space with its Google Base product and related technologies?
I hope as this point you can see how we are different from the job boards or the job aggregators. QA is a big piece of .Net technology providing huge efficiencies for business and a place for the in-work job seeker to participate. The current cost of finding a qualified candidate for an employer in the US is about $5,000. If QA is successful that number will be $20.
My conclusion: QuietAgent is a very interesting site, well worth checking out if you’re in the market for a new job or would even just like to have your name out there, cloaked, in case that dream job comes along one day…
If you are interested in looking for a job online, I also encourage you to check out my earlier articles Next Generation Job Search with Indeed.com, LinkedIn and SimplyHired partner up and How to use LinkedIn to Find A Job.