You can now search for a job the same way you would search for a holiday.
A revolutionary new business has been launched that is heralding a change in UK recruitment. TheJobCrowd, founded by husband-and-wife team Keren Mitchell and Natasha Freeman, enables recent graduates to review and rate their own positions.
Launched in 2010, it is the UK’s leading graduate review website and has attracted advertising from major firms including Microsoft, Channel 4 and The Co-operative. The job review site attracts over 4,000 a day and 100,000 a month, and as the largest of its kind in the UK, is being dubbed the Amazon and TripAdvisor of the recruitment sector. It features more than 5,000 individual job reviews across 500 companies including Sainsbury’s, Rolls-Royce, Deloitte and Goldman Sachs. At the time of writing, the best reviewed firm on the site is Microsoft.
King’s College graduate Ms Freeman and Oxford grad Mr Mitchell explain how they came up with the site. A former management consultant, Mr Mitchell had worked for smoothie giant innocent. He says: “I wasn’t 100 per cent sure what I wanted to do and found it impossible to make my career decision based on recruitment marketing, which I knew had trapped Keren a few years earlier. We both realised there was a gap between the job information graduates were looking for and what was being provided in the market. If only we all knew someone doing the job at the company we were thinking of applying for we would’ve been so much better informed about what the role and firm was really like to work for.
“Speaking to our friends and then hundreds of graduates on campus, we soon realised this was a common problem. Review sites had transformed industries from hotels (TripAdvisor) to restaurants (yelp, toptable) to retail (Amazon) but not yet jobs which we decided represented a fantastic opportunity for us.”
The Notting Hill-based business has grown rapidly and is on target to reach £1 million turnover by 2015.
Mr Mitchell says: “There is no question that for today’s savvy consumer, particularly younger audiences such as graduates, reading reviews before they buy, apply or visit is second nature.
“This is already huge in America but is only getting started in the UK so our potential for growth is massive. In fact, there are definitely some more markets that could be turned upside down by review sites.”
Since 2010, when the couple won a Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas award for their business, TheJobCrowd has grown faster than projected, with several revenue streams. There is a job board on the site, advertising hundreds of graduate roles — recently added ones include a trainee solicitor, property management graduate development programme at the National Grid and RBS Group graduate programmes. They also produce a guide to the Top 100 Companies For Graduates To Work For. Based solely on the ratings companies are given in reviews on the site, this is distributed to 50,000 students on campus every September, with a further 200,000 people viewing it online over the year. Adverts are sold in this guide but the reviews remain confidential.
The duo, both 27, have recently added a consulting arm to the business. Ms Freeman explains: “We have a huge amount of data on what graduates like and don’t like about their jobs at hundreds of companies. We use this data to produce reports for employers, summarising what their graduates say about them and what they could learn from other employers in their industry to improve their own offering.”
Ms Freeman believes it is the editorial independence that is crucial in guaranteeing the site’s credibility. “When we began three years ago, the whole concept of confidential career reviews was totally new in the UK. Bus since we began, we have watched similar sites in the US transform the jobs market over there to the point where candidates are fully expected to have researched their role by reading reviews before they attend an interview.
“The trend, which we are seeing here in the UK too, is for large companies to encourage and motivate their staff to leave positive reviews on sites as an aid to securing the interest of the most talented candidates.”
What has been the biggest challenge of setting up the business? “Learning to switch off from work,” says Ms Freeman. “We are totally obsessed with the site. As we are married, business talk is never far away but we are definitely getting better at leaving work behind when we leave the office.”
As for future plans, they couple are particularly excited about the consultancy division of the business. They are also considering moving away from just a graduate focus to include full-scale reviews for all jobs. “This opportunity is huge and could have significant implications of our growth,” says Mr Mitchell.