Candidate announced a $4 million Seed round for its job board marketplace based on connecting jobs with an approved referral network. Those familiar with Bounty Jobs in the staffing market will see the analogy to this more broad referral network. Employers post jobs with an approved referral fee, and then it’s made available to an approved referral network. While positioning quality and cost-effectiveness for employers, Candidate also positions as a money-making opportunity for those that join the referral network. Encountering approaches like this, we’ve learned that job referral products in this type of model incentivize the network member to broaden the network to compete for a referral fee. This eventually dilutes the quality of the candidate pool. Marketplaces like this normally do well when they are small and laser-focused, but as they scale, they run into this problem of diminishing returns. The more successful they are, the harder it is to provide quality.
While some will draw the analogy to employee referrals and the quality hires we see there, it doesn’t correlate as well as one would hope. Employees refer friends and colleagues that they know and respect because they want to work with them again and share with them opportunities. It just isn’t a transactional mindset. “I know so-and-so and they would be great in this role! Plus, it would be great to work with them.” That’s a different calculus than pointing your network at a job in the hopes of earning $3K.
That said, there could be some special sauce at Candidate. It just doesn’t jump out in their messaging, site, or press coverage yet.
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Source: Rethinking referrals: Seattle startup Candidate raises more cash to help companies with hiring – GeekWire