BranchOut nips at LinkedIn's heels for recruiting

Krystal Peak · October 20, 2011 · Short URL:

Facebook-based professional network service rolls out new recruiting tool to monetize its business

The largest professional network on Facebook has just added a valuable tool to its service that will allow recruiters to scour the 800+ million Facebook users for job openings they wish to fill.

Until now, the 15-month-old San Francisco start-up, BranchOut, was simply a free service that allowed Facebook users to create a professional account that pulled work-relevant information from their profile and allowed them to search for available jobs or company connections.

The new recruitment service called RecruiterConnect, was built to help companies and other professionals search, through BranchOut's connection to Facebook, to find viable candidates.

This new tool will be a available to recruiters and other professionals for a fee (but the non-recruiter profiles will remain free) and would provide revenue for the new company that has grown to more than 3 million monthly active users in at least 60 countries in just over a year.

BranchOut has not disclosed the price of this service but told me that this addition will monetize its business model. Previously, BranchOut was building the company out of the $24 million it has raised in total funding from Accel Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Floodgate Fund and several other angel investors.

This annoucement is also just a week after the company released the Facebook mobile app that came from the new iOS5 upgrade and allowed users to scour for jobs, invite more people to connect and update their resume via theie Facebook application.

“RecruiterConnect fills a major void for companies that have wanted to recruit on Facebook in a way that is safe, secure and private,” said Rick Marini, CEO and founder of BranchOut, told me, via email. “This is a game changer for the industry because it not only allows recruiters and HR professionals to leverage Facebook’s network . . . to find more relevant candidates quickly, but also to identify higher quality candidates by matching jobs to individuals in their employees’ extended networks.” 



How It Works

Much like the BranchOut platform, RecruiterConnect features a user-friendly interface that lays out a potential candidate’s work history, education and recent professional activity, along with similar profiles and inside connections. 

Recruitment users can filter the candidates based on relevant criteria and can help organize current employees that might be elgiable for a promotion or transfer.

“We developed RecruiterConnect specifically with recruiters and staffing professionals in mind,” said Rebecca Meissner, director of enterprise products for BranchOut. “Recruiters can use an individual’s social graph to pinpoint like-minded, similarly qualified candidates in order to significantly increase referrals and source jobs more efficiently.”

This tool will also be a benefit to companies since the information can be stored and share within the company so that if a staffing employee leaves, the research and current status reports will be attainable by others in the team.

BranchOut has been testing the software with several recruitment-heavy companies including, Levi Strauss & Co. and VMware to tailor the product before launch.

Isn't that like LinkedIn?

Essentially, BranchOut is now offering similar services as LinkedIn's Recruiter Tool where current and prospective employees can be organized and followed by a user but the pool that BranchedOut is pulling from is larger pool than LinkedIn's roughly 120 million.

The Facebook connection can also provide BranchOut the added benefit of averaging a younger talent pool since many of the LinkedIn has created a platform that is ideal for the more established professionals.

RecruiterConnect maintains a lot of the functional similarities to Talent Pipeline (from LinkedIn) that was announced earlier this week and slated for release to the public in early 2012. 

BranchOut may be gaining an advantage in coming out earlier than LinkedIn since they are sure to gain more customer feedback and user familiarity. Though there still is a challenge in trying to get Facebook users comfortable with any connection between their work face and their personal space, BranchOut may have the right platform and user-friendly appeal to give LinkedIn a challenge.


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