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“Speed-dating” for job hunters reinvents the search

Fremont-Smith It’s called Happie, and even before reaching its one-year anniversary, the pioneering job search startup has earned a right to the name. Happie leverages digital matchmaking innovations to connect job hunters with employers more speedily and productively than conventional online systems. Founder and CEO Jennifer Fremont-Smith, SF ’10, calls it “speed-dating for job hunters,” and her inventive model has caught on quickly. Already, more than 300 employers are working with the site, and the number of Happie job seekers has climbed into the thousands.

Fremont-Smith’s premise was this: prospective employers and employees today feel very much at home in the digital environment. “It’s where they bank, communicate with friends and family, and access their entertainment,” Fremont-Smith notes. “They’re also used to posting selfies and videos, so creating an arena where job hunters and providers can meet and chat via video falls well within the contemporary comfort zone. And in the potentially stressful job search realm, those familiar tools make for a welcoming experience.”

It’s all about the algorithm

In addition to a comfortable human interface between candidate and company, Happie instills an all-important sense of optimism. Its 30-point algorithm measures both qualifications and cultural fit. By the time Happie has sorted through candidates and employers, it is able to come up with leads that both prospective employee and employer feel are promising. The site then initiates a 10-minute video chat as a preliminary meet-and-greet, and the participants take it from there.

Employers and employees often know within the first five minutes of a job interview whether the fit will work, notes Fremont-Smith. Happie saves both parties the time and trouble of a time-consuming but possibly fruitless in-person interview. There’s less at stake from a 10-minute video interview, so both sides are more willing to explore possibilities. And if they decide to take the interview process to the next step and meet in person, they’ve already broken the ice.

Happie, Fremont-Smith says, infinitely improves upon the old “spray and pray” method of sending out resumes with a system that really zeroes in on matching compatibilities. It also makes the job-hunting process more equitable. Candidates who might not be able to afford to take a day off from work to attend an interview or who might have transportation limitations can meet prospective employers via video chat during a lunch break. A Happie talent coach creates blog posts and video primers to help prepare candidates to interview effectively in this context.

Fremont-Smith is a mentor at TechStars Boston and TechStars Kaplan in New York. She also serves on the board of directors of the Fullbridge Opportunity Foundation, which provides grants for first-generation and underserved students to participate in career-accelerator programs. Her new venture is the perfect integration of her personal and professional goals. “Happie is a case of sophisticated technology humanizing a system,” she says. “We make job hunting more personal, more accessible, and more fun.”

Find out more about Jennifer Fremont-Smith’s new job search site, Happie.

 

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