Pursuit Creates a Social Chain Between Job Applicants and Recruiters

Recruiting great job candidates is a costly yet crucial endeavor for companies of all sizes. Often times these candidates are already socially connected to current employees who don’t always pass along job opportunities despite referral bonuses. Meanwhile, posting on traditional job boards can lead companies to receive huge volumes of unqualified applicants.

These companies need a structured, efficient way of incentivizing employees to leverage their social networks to share openings. New web application Pursuit aims to fill this need by offering employees monetary referral bonuses, social recognition, and interesting influencing who is hired to work with them.

Bootstrapped, three-person, San Francisco-based Pursuit’s goal is to help companies quickly get more referrals and less applications, as there is a high cost for leaving a position unfilled or mis-hiring. It’s currently free for authorized companies to post job’s through the site’s beta, though Pursuit collects 20% of any bonuses paid out for referrals it helps generate. Pursuit is accepting new users slowly as not to overwhelm the existing job listings, but beta invites can be requested on the site.

The company sees LinkedIn as a place where people post or look for jobs, not share them with well-matched candidates. Other companies building recruiting applications include BranchOut, which focuses on showing who has employed your friends, and Work For Us, which revolves around company-specific job boards.

Pursuit lets users create personal job boards of openings they think others they know would be interested in. Job postings includes job descriptions and requirements; the referral chain leading to the posting; an unique referral URL which can be shared publicly, and a comment reel so users can leave feedback on the company or job.

A multi-friend selector allows users to forward or refer specific people on Pursuit, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or email. Those interested can click through to apply for jobs by submitting a personal message and uploading a resume.

Users follow each other, and can view an activity streams of jobs added to the boards of people in their network. The site uses social game-style status bars to denote a user’s profile completion and the “Karma Points” they earn through referring jobs and helping people get hired.

In the future, Pursuit plans to include Like buttons on the site for instant sharing. To prevent referral spammers from trying to cash in on bonuses, companies can mark referrals as unqualified, which over time flags those referrers as illegitimate.

Pursuit includes links to a user’s social network profiles which they’ve connected to their account, raising questions about how companies will use this info. In the early years of social networks, recruiters used photos on social networks to inform their hiring decisions. Pursuit co-founder Russ Heddleston sees users getting more savvy with their privacy controls and posting less controversial content. But he also believes “Not hiring someone out of college because they have a photo with a beer–that’s not a good indicator of how someone will be as an employee. You’re actually hurting yourself if you use that as criteria.”

By facilitating a path between an employer and job candidate instead of broadcasting job openings, Pursuit is in fact more social than other recruiting or job search applications. While under-qualified candidates could potentially follow masses of other users and clog openings with low quality applications, job seekers and recruiters should be eager to add this relatively low-noise channel to their efforts