By Matt Hunckler • April 25, 2016

Forbes on EmployUs: Poised To Disrupt The Job Recruiting Industry?

Find the original story here on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/matthunckler/2016/04/25/employus-poised-to-disrupt-the-job-recruiting-industry/#173857df6191

Looking for a new job is a task that most people rank somewhere between, say, getting a root canal and cleaning out the bottom refrigerator drawer. It’s time-consuming and painful — and sometimes, you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.

But for tech startup EmployUs, the future of job-seeking entails something else entirely. Something that’s more like ordering your favorite beer from your smartphone. EmployUs CEO and Co-Founder Ryan O’Donnell suggested that in the new, digital economy, “Everything is on demand. It’s about access, it’s about trust and it’s all powered by technology.”


Pointing out the typical tedium of job-hunting — visiting job boards, updating LinkedIn profiles and resumes, filling out applications and visiting job fairs — O’Donnell said that EmployUs offers a better way. With the company’s app, individuals can recommend people in their network for jobs. When the referred person is hired, the referrer receives a monetary reward.

The EmployUs system connects job-seekers and employers by way of “trusted referrals,” O’Donnell said. 

Employers post their jobs, along with an offer of a referral bonus, through the app.

Users log in and recommend someone.

If the recommended individual is hired, the referring person gets paid.

Disrupting traditional recruiters?

Employment search and recruiting is a $422-billion industry, O’Donnell said. Recruiting agencies alone have annual revenues of $26 billion, so the market is certainly ripe for a disruptive new entrant like EmployUs. An app search reveals a smattering of offerings that match employers and job-seekers via referrals, but the category appears to have no dominant player that could emerge as a serious competitor.

Some of the ideas behind EmployUs are based on relatively new, but proven, principles. LinkedIn has built a platform on the concept of trusted networks and referrals. The Internet has cut out the proverbial middleman on everything from air travel to book publishing. Could the employment recruiting industry be next?

While O’Donnell didn’t provide definitive information on referral bonuses, he mentioned several scenarios in which referral awards ranged from $500 to $2,000 per hire; presumably, employers would set their own bonus amounts. Anything in the four-figure range is certainly not chump change to the average person, but it’s substantially below the typical fee a corporate recruiter would draw for a successful placement.


Other tech startups in the employment space certainly have seen success in raising money in recent years. For instance, ZenPayroll has attracted some 50 well-known investors by simplifying the payroll process. GuideSpark, too, recently secured $15 million in venture funding by incorporating the human element into communicating the nuts and bolts of benefits options.

The law of unintended consequences?

When a potentially category-busting app comes along, it always raises the question: What remains to be seen? In this case, questions include:

Will employees recommend candidates who are truly a good fit for a company?

Can individuals accurately predict where other people might enjoy working?


Can the EmployUs app and process adequately protect job-seekers’ privacy and security?

EmployUs: A promising alternative for job-seekers

The company, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, has been live with a public beta for nine months, and usage is doubling every quarter. A recent round of seed funding and some impressive partners and investors — including Jeff Stocks, former CEO and owner of Manpower — are getting the fledgling company off to a good start. 

At a minimum, EmployUs promises to provide job-seekers with another option for finding their next gig . But the EmployUs team likely won’t stop there. They’ve got a category to break. What other industries could be ripe for disruption through innovative tech?

Matt Hunckler is the founder of Powderkeg, a community of tech entrepreneurs and investors. Learn how to grow your business, sign up for his newsletter here.