Commentary

Jobcase Launches Professional Network For Everyone Else

Although LinkedIn has pioneered professional social networking for white-collar jobs generally requiring a college degree, the fact remains that in 2010, 58% of jobs were held by workers with a high school diploma or less for educational credentials, according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. Meanwhile, according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, in 2014, 53% of the total current and prospective workforce (including people looking for jobs) did not have a bachelor's degree.

Thus, at least half of American workers had no options for online work-related social networking, although these types of social connections can be just as important for finding service industry and blue-collar jobs as they are for white-collar jobs. However, last month a new social network, Jobcase, launched to fill the gap, by providing an online community and mobile app with curated career resources, aggregated job listings, and job search and management tools including online applications, for workers and jobseekers in service industry and blue-collar jobs.

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In order to better serve this workforce, Jobcase centers on an online work profile that allows users to showcase their abilities in ways in addition to the traditional list of prior work and education -- for example, with greater emphasis on recommendations from customers and colleagues, or traits and skills like punctuality and customer service. They can also highlight their qualities with information about their family life, volunteering, and hobbies and interests.

Among other things, Jobcase allows workers and job seekers to share information and tips about how to find and apply for jobs available in their local community, according to founder Fred Goff, who explained: “If you think about who's got the best information about how to get a job at Target today, it's the person who got a job at Target yesterday… We identified that there’s a hole in the social media space, because people who are cashiers and warehouse clerks probably are not networking with other people in those jobs.”

Goff added that Jobcase launched with a ready pool of around 40 million potential users, drawn from over 100 niche online job posting and recruitment sites built by his company, Percipio Media, over the last five years, including sites like Careerboutique.com and retailjobinsider.com. Jobcase already has around 100,000 users per day, and is free for all employers to post jobs and contact job seekers, as well as free for job seekers. Goff said the site will monetize recruitment by offering employers additional options: “We'll offer help to employers who want a guaranteed number of applicants, or a guaranteed number of impressions. We can help you optimize your HR spend, and we'll charge for that because you're using our data scientists.”

As it turns out, there are a couple of other new recruitment tools focused on the service industry and blue-collar workforce, although without a somewhat different approach then Jobcase. One company, Apploi, has created a video platform that allows job applicants for service industry positions to use mobile devices to respond to interactive questionnaires and upload clips demonstrating their skills -- for example, a bartender making a cosmopolitan, a retail sales associate folding a pile of 10 jeans in two minutes, or a hair stylist crafting a new look. Apploi also operates a network of interactive kiosks at community colleges, shopping malls, and employment fairs, so job-seekers without mobile devices can still use the service. In January, Apploi announced that it has raised $7.4 million in its first round of funding, and it was recently featured by Apple as the top app in its business app store.

Another recent launch is WorkJam, a cloud-based hiring and scheduling platform designed for the hourly workforce. Founded by Steven Kramer and Joshua Ostrega, co-founders of iCongo and Hybris Software, WorkJam basically aims to take the unpredictability out of work schedules for hourly workers y giving retailers and restaurants reliable data about employee skills, availability and preferred shifts, allowing them to create more consistent schedules that fill their business needs along with their workers’ employment goals. Employees can use the service to manage schedules and trade shifts, all from their mobile devices.

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