Every so often you come across an app that is just a great idea. it might not be fully functioning yet, but you can see that what it does solves a real life problem in the market.Today I stumbled across one such app with HireSignals. They have been sharing my LinkedIn posts for a while, so I took a peek at what they actually do and i’m impressed by the simplicity and real need for the product.They have also been quite clever in how they position themselves with LinkedIn, enhancing user experience without competing.When a product is dependent on API access, then this is critical. Just think Pealk!

The problem for people in a job is how do they let recruiters know they are open to approaches without alerting their current employer? It needs a masonic type secret signal that says ” i’m in the market,” hidden from the world apart from the people they want to see them as active. The solution to this problem is the HireSignals platform.

The concept is that the platform sits on top of LinkedIn and enables people to state their intentions in job search. Recruiters sign up for access, which comes by way of a pop-up when they access a LinkedIn profile that has a HireSignals account. A neat feature that addresses the issue of confidentiality is the option to bar users from certain companies to see the status bar. This way users can hide their intentions from recruiters at their own company.

Sign up is one click using a users own LinkedIn profile. Users then register a status:

> Actively networking for jobs

> Passively networking for jobs

> Not networking but open to updates

> Not open to approaches

The user can then add specific information about what they are looking for like salary, benefits, level, stage of firm, and the domain names of firms they want to be hidden from. It is a very quick and easy process.

The app is currently only available as a Firefox extension, with a planned Chrome release for next month. When a recruiter has HireSignals installed and they conduct a search on LinkedIn, any profiles coming in results who also have a HireSignals account are colour coded. Green indicates active, Amber – possibly open to approaches and Red – Not open. Recruiters can then access what additional information is available on the platform. If a user is blocking a company from viewing their details then no color is attached to give away their status. In order to sign up, recruiters must provide a verified e-mail address attached to a firm. Recruiters changing firms need to re-apply. All recruiters are checked and validated to keep the platform clean.

Messaging is via LinkedIn through messages or InMail. HireSignals are not trying to build a network on a network, it is more about benefiting recruiter and job seeking users. The platform was built by a recruiter for the benefit of his own search boutique before going on general release.

This quote from pandomonthly gives an insight in to the thinking behind the platform:

“The intent with this platform is to create something that is both recruiter and candidate friendly but also highly complementary to LinkedIn and a genuine enhancement to their platform for recruiters,” says founder and CEO Feargall Kenny. Future updates plan to add notifications for recruiters when candidate connections change their status from not looking to any of the more receptive options.”

Kenny runs Glenborn Corporation, a boutique search firm for b2b web technology sales and product professionals, based in New York. Kenny is also closely tied in with the NY Technology MeetUp Group, and the PitchOutOfWaterMeetUpGroup, having close ties with V.C. firms in the market. He is clearly one of the new breed of recruiters who do so much more to contribute to the business community they work in beyond recruiting.

I was curious about the business model behind the product. It is free for recruiters and job seekers, so is this a freemium offering ahead of something bigger? This is answered in the pandomonthly article:

“HireSignals is currently free for all parties, although there are thoughts about monetizing going forward. This is a tricky proposition given that the tool is built on top of LinkedIn’s API. As has been proven repeatedly in recent months, building on top of another company’s API — specifically a larger one — is a risky proposition which has come back to burn many startups.

LinkedIn’s API Terms of Service prohibit making “ad revenue” or “subscription revenue” off the platform. This would seem to leave the door open for HireSignals to take a cut of the agency commission or corporate referral fees which are standard in the industry — for example, if a recruiter is paid a fee of 20 percent of the candidate’s yearly salary, HireSignals as the referrer may one day receive 10 percent of that commission.”

HireSignals have set strict rules for how recruiters can use the platform and contact candidates:

Code of Conduct for Recruiters Using the HireSignals platform

Housekeeping rules

  • To protect candidate confidentiality you are prohibited from sharing your access with another recruiter
  • If you move to another firm or to a non-recruiting function within a corporation, you must create a new account
  • You must abide by candidates interests and filters and only contact them with positions that closely match their criteria
  • Do Not contact candidates If they say not to
  • A candidates’s status is highly confidential. It is not to be shared with anyone outside your firm.

Failure to adhere to these rules can mean the termination of your recruiter account on HireSignals.

Contacting candidates

  • You don’t contact candidates through this site or the add-on – continue to use your standard methods of contact – Inmails, phone,emails etc. If the HireSignals’ platform aided you in your outreach you should mention “I saw your HireSignal…” in the title of your email.

If the platform continues to compliment rather than compete with LinkedIn, driving all users back to the original platform, and working as an extension on top of it, then I can see real potential as they expand to chrome and other browsers, I have a feeling they could become a feature of the platform, then who knows where they might go. LinkedIn have a history of buying apps that enhance user experience, Cardmunch and SlideShare being great examples. Could this be the eventual destination for this simple app that solves a very real problem for recruiters and job seekers? I wouldn’t bet against it, and good luck to them, it’s simple, effective and useful to all LinkedIn users. I like it.

Bill

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