There’s been an article going around this week about a man who was so fed up with how much time he was spending on his social networks during work hours that he hired someone to come and slap him if he strayed onto Facebook. We spend so much time on our social networks and so many of our personal relationships are made and nurtured there, that it is almost inevitable that most aspects of our life should end up there in one form or another. Like job hunting for instance.
Silp is a cool new startup from Swiss entrepreneur Dominik Grolimund looking to play cupid between jobs and people through networks of friends on Facebook. The best jobs often don’t show up on traditional job boards and the best people usually aren’t actively searching for jobs – most of the best talent in the tech scene is found through people referring their friends and sharing job with others, a phenomenon that Silp is looking to take advantage of.
It works simply: an employer writes a short, tweet like job description for the role they are trying to fill. Silp’s algorithm then uses various data points to pick out matches in the extended networks of the employer’s friends and colleagues. Matches are found by looking at the Facebook history of the talent – job and education history, interests and skills as well as physical location. Silp can also extract data from any other social networks linked to a user’s Facebook page, like Linkedin or GitHub. Unlike services such as Branchout where you have to maintain a profile there is no need for the user to actually do anything – Silp will bring the jobs to you. The system is super smart as well – over time it will learn how a user responds to job offers and tweek what it matches them to.
Dominik saw the need for Silp when trying to find really good engineers and developers for his previous business Wuala, a technical startup offering secure online storage solutions. Posting on job boards wasn’t working, and their best hires came through friends and acquaintances referring people and sharing jobs. Silp has been taking on talent since mid August, and is signing up employers for private beta testing. Dominik reports that they have had a very good success rate so far, with some of their employers finding great people for jobs that had floundered on regular job boards like Monster. Dominik suggests that a user’s last position and skill set are the most useful for matching the jobs, so if you want to ‘pimp’ your profile, this is where you should head.
It is an interesting concept in a crowded space, just different enough to make me notice it. After my one click sign-up with Facebook, I added a few more skills and keywords, and then I kind of forgot about it. I haven’t had any offers yet, but then again I am a journalist and Silp is targeting technical people.
I was determined when I started working in the startup industry that my Facebook would be for my private life, not my work life, a resolution that lasted for about two weeks. I have always been reluctant to use Facebook for making work connections: this is, after all, a place where there are drunk pictures of me, where I make smart ass comments about television shows or troll my friends’ status updates. Tying this to a service that might get me a job is a little bit terrifying, but I am willing to do it because in the end it’s about finding jobs through friend connections, not through turning your Facebook into another version of Linkedin.