TalentBin, a new service to help recruiters find suitable job candidates, is launching today and it hopes to turn the entire web into a talent-sourcing database. TalentBin is founded on the principle that, instead of putting out a notice and having candidates come to them, or sifting through social media profiles, recruiters and hiring managers should be able to search the web for the best candidates and actively recruit them. The start-up believes that the implicit resumes job candidates build on the web are more valuable than their explicit resumes.
As LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner pointed out in a recent speech, there are over 3 million jobs available in the U.S. With unemployment rates so high, the only possible cause for that many open jobs is that workers with the sufficient skills, training, and experience cannot be found to fill the positions. Instead of the longer-term solutions that Weiner suggests, TalentBin many be just the solution frustrated recruiters are looking for. Have a look at the company’s introduction video below, which uses a fishing metaphor to explain how it works:
The TalentBin Search Engine scours the web for career information, finding bits of information from places such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Meetup. The service also takes information from industry-specific sites such as Sourceforge and Github to provide examples of candidate skills. It then aggregates all of the information and algorithmically interprets it into professional profiles for job candidates. Contact information is compiled as well, creating a searchable database of job candidates ready for recruitment.
Obviously, the service will work best for finding candidates in the software and engineering fields. In other words, precisely the type of jobs recruiters are likely having trouble finding sufficiently skilled workers for. Also, TalentBin claims more search results than LinkedIn or BranchOut, since TalentBin contains candidates who may not even be looking for jobs.
“The sphere of social media presents a rich but unstructured landscape of professionally relevant information, as opposed to common professional networking communities that are typically well structured but relatively information sparse,” said Peter Kazanjy, CEO and Co-Founder of TalentBin. “It turns out, knowledge workers are better defined and understood by what they do and where they go, far more than what they choose to publish in a single profile. We decided to harness this insight by crawling as much of the professional web as possible, deciphering the rich, but unstructured ‘professional exhaust’, and extracting the most critical information to deliver a fully comprehensive web resume.”
The TalentBin search engine is accessible as a web application or as a browser plug-in for Google Chrome, which can be seen in the picture above. The company has also created an API that will allow recruiters to implement TalentBin into their current recruitment software. The service has been in beta for a while now, allowing companies such as Intuit, Groupon, Dolby, and Yahoo! to try it out.
“TalentBin allows us to find engineers who contribute back to the developer community and who code simply because they love it, not just to fill the minimum requirements for a paycheck,” said Mark Howard, talent acquisition manager for CBS Interactive. “TalentBin helps us locate those engineers who dont want to be contacted on LinkedIn and have often hidden their profile altogether.”
I had the opportunity to speak with Kazanjy about the details of TalentBin and how the start-up hopes to be successful. Kazanjy told me that Talentbin has been backed by First Round Capital, Charles River Ventures, and SV Angel. The company hopes to become profitable by using a “freemium” model, where the basic search engine is free, but greater, more useful access is charged for.
“While a base level of access to TalentBin’s talent search engine is free, TalentBin charges recruiters and sourcers for heavier duty access to the search engine, and to use the data within their enterprise hiring systems,” said Kazanjy, who also stated that many companies are already paying for the advanced version.
Kazanjy revealed that TalentBin is not simply an aggregator of the information on social networks. “It’s less about the ‘aggregation’ and more about the ‘interpretation,'” said Kazanjy. “That is, people leave signals on these varioius social sites, and the proper algorithmic interpretation of those signals is the secret sauce here.” He stated that TalentBin will take into account what topics candidates tweet about, what article topics they link to, what types of people they follow or are friends with, and what types of questions they are answering on Quora. By weighing the intensities of these activities, TalentBin surfaces information relevant to a recruiter.
If you think the notion of being a job candidate without knowing it sounds a bit creepy, you aren’t alone. Kazanjy stated that TalentBin is very mindful of privacy issues, and only uses information that is publicly available and searchable via Google. “Ultimately, TalentBin is doing algorithmically what savvy recruiters have been doing for a long time: using Google to try to cross-reference and research top talent, in order to bring them awesome career opportunities,” said Kazanjy.