Fast-growing startup Identified, a Facebook-based professional networking platform, is reaching out to members of the "Facebook generation" through "gamification" -- the process of applying game-like elements (badges, scores, level-ups, invincibility -- well, maybe not that last one) to non-game platforms to encourage new-user signups, participation, and ongoing engagement with the platform. In a world where apps like OMGPOP's "Draw Something" attract more than 14.5 million daily active users, it's a technique with which more and more platforms are experimenting.
Identified encourages users to link their existing Facebook profiles to the Identified platform and then supplement their personal information with more specifically-tailored professional info to create a short-form online résumé. The platform analyzes users' professional backgrounds according to algorithms based on popular recruitment searches, and issues each users an "Identified score" (from 0 - 100) based on the user's perceived employability. This is where the games begin. Identified then offers users feedback and suggestions on things they can add to and adjust in their profiles to improve their score. As people add information and progress in their careers, they gain points to increase their Identified Score.
Far from the "vanity points" typical of other game-centered apps, Identified's points are meant to represent the value of key information currently in demand by employers, helping young students and professionals plan their careers.The idea is to simultaneously help users stand out in the digital job market, to promote professional development among Millenials and other users, and also to encourage participation on the site by setting goals and tracking users' progress. And, of course, for Identified to gain increased footing in daily and monthly active user share.
Identified's raison d’être is thus: members of the Millenial generation are hitting the job market with fresh degrees, new ideas, and the technical skill sets that employers want right now, but are having trouble getting noticed (or even found) by recruiters scanning the Web. (Sometimes they aren't even aware of what job opportunities are out there.) Moreover, the Millenials are nearly invariably the target demographic of new social startups and other online services, and the din of new companies asking them to create yet another profile can be at best distracting and at worst annoying or invasive. Identified, following a trend that's gaining momentum among online services and e-commerce sites, wants to make it easy on users to promote themselves professionally without having to manage a separate profile and rebuild friend- and professional networks from the ground up. In short, Identified makes professional networking easier by letting users import their Facebook data, and more engaging by adding elements of gaming.
So far, the approach seems to be working. In less than seven months the company has gone from launch to 2.8 million monthly active users (MAU), and is number 11 on AppData's weekly gainers leaderboard, up 800,000 MAU this week.
The company also makes it easier for recruiters to filter through the "Facebook noise" of 850 million profiles and incomplete, outdated, or humorously misrepresented professional data. As Sherilynn Macale, Social Media Strategist at Identified, wrote on the company blog: "[A]llow me to point out the fact that your job title on Facebook reads 'Jedi Master' at the 'Galactic Alliance Senate' -- not exactly recruitment or employer-appropriate, right?" This kind of thing really does happen all the time among the under-35 demographic. As a matter of fact, my personal profile is, at the moment, intentionally barren, and I bear a striking resemblance to Darth Vader in my profile pic. This troubles companies shopping the Web for younger employees. According to recruiters, 92 percent of Facebook profiles do not contain enough publicly available education and employment information (major, graduation year, job title) for recruiters to qualify potential candidates for jobs.
“Critical information that recruiters need to hire literally does not exist in one place online for young people,” said co-founder and co-CEO Brendan Wallace. “Generation Y is nearly invisible to employers so this technique is key. We constantly hear that the pain point among employers is sourcing the education and job information of the 18-29 year-old demographic, but Facebook is a great starting point.”
According to Identified, 72 percent of Facebook users who join its platform add new professional information not already found on their Facebook profile. The result, the company says, is that millions of younger candidates who wouldn’t be "recruitable" on Facebook alone can now be found by employers in a way never before possible.
“We’ve learned that gaming can be used to solve the problem of the “invisible worker” for recruiters while it encourages and empowers millennials to be more strategic with their job and education information,” added Wallace.
The company released this inforgraphic today, describing the evolution of gaming principles into its modern use as a vehicle driving a number of online service apps.
We'll see how the company fares in its next few quarters, but at the moment its viral growth among Facebook users makes Identified a service to watch whether you're a job hunter, a corporate recruiter, or an investor.