Collegefeed Goes After Students, Employers in Crowded Career Sector

After graduation, Collegefeed CEO and founder Sanjeev Agarwal was in an enviable position: He was a great student with a degree from MIT and membership in a bunch of honor societies. But even for him, the 1991 job scene was a tough one. “Back then there wasn’t much online activity,” he says. “But even now, one of the biggest issues that students have is this idea that, ‘If I don’t have a huge professional network, and if my family’s not well connected, I tend to be limited to companies that come to campus.’”

Though LinkedIn and other job sites allow recent grads to post their resumes and connect with people in the working world, those sites “don’t take responsibility to connect you to employers,” he says.

Agarwal, Google’s first global head of product marketing and a founder and CEO of two other startups, wanted to build something that would make it easier for the next generation to make the leap from college to career. After all, he says, colleges teach you plenty of marketable skills, but they don’t teach you how to network, and while they invest plenty of money into marketing themselves to students, they don’t put many of their resources into career development. Now a father of two children, ages 4 and 9, he wants to make sure the transition is easier by the time they graduate. “Almost everyone at Collegefeed remembers how hard it was, or is now in a situation where they’re looking at the next generation, going, ‘Boy I hope there’s a better way to go through this process.’”

It’s a problem that students, universities, and companies are all trying to solve. Employers are looking for the best in the millennial talent pool, but recruiting campus by campus requires a lot of investment, and smaller companies don’t have a lot of name recognition. Colleges are under pressure to show that their programs pay off in terms of good jobs and productive grads—particularly as tuition and loans have skyrocketed. And students, the most tech-savvy of all, often find the job-hunting process frustrating in an era when connecting online is supposed to be easy.

So, in October 2012, Agarwal founded Collegefeed, building out a site that would connect employers with potential job applicants. Students could create detailed profiles with work samples, which the company would feed directly to employers. As of last week, a new partnership with Direct Employers Association, which helps more than 700 Fortune 1500 companies recruit new members, is adding a whole new set of employers to the mix.

Here’s how it works: After they sign up, students have 48 hours to fill out detailed information, uploading items like pieces of writing, sample code, and portfolios. If they can’t complete it in 48 hours, they get put on a waitlist, which allows them to still use resources like the company’s resume help and sample interview questions, and gives them access to networking events, but doesn’t connect them directly to potential employers. The limited timeframe helps Collegefeed see how serious students are about their job search. “We make it a bit of a challenge for you,” Agarwal says. “If you want to be accepted into our network, you have to complete it beyond a certain level of quality, where we would be comfortable introducing you to an employer.”

Once profiles are done and approved by Collegefeed—they’re mostly vetted by software, but about 10 percent of the time they require human intervention—the company files them into buckets. English majors, for example, would be put into a bucket that’s shown to companies seeking to fill positions in journalism, public relations, and other positions that need good writers. Students with design skills go in one bucket, engineers in yet another.

Those subsets of qualified students are then fed to employers in different ways, depending … Next Page »

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