At the end of last month, NotchUp shook up the blogosphere with their revolutionary new approach on job recruitment. TechCrunch reported about two ‘Peerflix refugees’ who found a way to stimulate people that are actually happy with their jobs to keep their eyes open for new job opportunities. How? They get paid for showing up at a job interview. The service launched in stealth, but generated an enormous buzz. Not just because of the brilliant idea, also the easy way to set up your account surprised some people – users can simply import their LinkedIn profile – and the viral campaign worked perfectly. Users receive a percentage of the money job recruiters pay to speak with somebody they have invited to join NotchUp. That officiously motivated people to send around invitations. Not everybody liked it, yet you know what they say about bad publicity.
We now bring you an interview with co-founder Rob Ellis. He and CEO Jim Ambras worked together at Peerflix – Ambras was the VP of Engineering and Ellis was the Director of Operations – and both have a background in the tech industry. How did these two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs come up with the great idea?
Ellis told us about ‘the’ moment: “When we worked at Peerflix, Jim tasked me with recruiting a team of engineers for him. It was incredibly hard to find people to even pick up the phone and listen to me. I got so frustrated with making cold calls that at one point I nearly offered an engineer 100 dollar just to listen to my phone pitch. I think it was around then that the lightbulb in my head went off, and I realized that what initially seemed like a crazy idea was actually pretty smart if applied the right way.”
So he and Ambras decided to give it a shot. Ambras built the NotchUp site and is now in charge of leading the company. Ellis is responsible for the marketing and product design. They had a dream start, yet what are their expectations for this year? Will they actually turn the market upside down? Ellis: “We hope to prove that there’s a better way to approach the job market. It looks like people really like our idea. In the past six weeks, over 85,000 professionals have registered for NotchUp, with thousands more signing up every day, and we’ve around 1,000 companies – including almost every major technology company – contacted us to say they’re interested in using NotchUp to recruit.”
I was one of those 85,000 users who subscribed because I had to test it for this blog, yet I had to lie about my ZIP code since only American citizens were allowed to join. So I said I was still living in New York. Turns out I can change that now, since NotchUp dropped the focus on the American market last week. Ellis: “We actually now accept applications and registrations from professionals in over 180 countries and have several thousand European members. We’ll be rolling out a much fuller set of tools to support international professionals in the next month or so. We’ve received a great deal of interest from companies in Europe that are interested in using NotchUp to recruit top talent. We hope to be able to accommodate them as soon as possible.”
I think they’ll do a good job promoting NotchUp in Europe. And not just because Ambras has a lot of experience launching successful European sites. As the VP of Engineering at AltaVista, Ambras was responsible for leading the development of AltaVista’s international sites and building/ managing AltaVista’s European engineering team. That experience will certainly pay-off, but the main reason for their success is that everybody who uses NotchUp wins. Who wouldn’t want to join NotchUp? You have the chance of getting a great job offer OR you get just paid for your time. Or like Ellis says: “The way people look for new jobs and companies hire is broken, and we’d love to help fix it”.