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Pssst ... need a job?


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  • | 6:00 p.m. September 11, 2008
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Pssst ... need a job?

QuietHire seeks to fill the niche of

job-seekers who do not want their employer

to know they are looking elsewhere.

By Jean Gruss | Editor/Lee-Collier

Confidentiality is the last thing you expect in the world of online resume and job postings.

But the very public nature of online resume and job postings is probably the biggest hurdle that the industry faces. After all, what employee would post a resume when they're still working or what employer would publicly seek someone for a job when it's currently filled?

Three Naples-based management recruiters believe there are millions of people who would post their work profiles if they didn't have to reveal their names or whom they work for. They've created a Web site this year called QuietHire.com that already has 100,000 confidential profiles.

"There's a huge population of passive candidates," says David Chilcote II, executive vice president and co-founder of QuietHire.com. As many as one-third of workers avoid posting personal information on job-seeking Web sites because of fear of retribution from their current employer or because of time constraints.

Chilcote, a health care employee recruiter, joined automotive management recruiter Dan Ressler to create the Web site. A third co-founder is Kathleen Chilcote, David Chilcote's spouse, who works for Ressler at his recruiting firm, Management Recruiters of Naples.

For employers, this trove could be a gold mine of new employees who are currently working for competitors. Using keyword searches, employers can look for potentially good matches. They contact the candidate through QuietHire's Web site and allow the prospect to decide whether to respond. "The hardest group to find are employees at competitors," says Ressler.

Ressler should know because that's what his automotive-management recruiting firm does. He regularly poaches senior executives from one company to fill a post at another. Management Recruiters gross sales ranged between $750,000 and $1.2 million in recent years and is one of the top firms in the field of automotive-management recruiting, Ressler says.

A slowing job market is a tough time to start an employment Web site, but Ressler says many companies are getting rid of mediocre employees and replacing them with top-notch players.

The service is free for job seekers, but employers pay $10,000 a year for up to five hiring locations to mine the QuietHire database. By contrast, it can cost $20,000 or more to hire a recruiter to find a top-level manager. QuietHire has many prospects in upper management, including several presidents, Chilcote says. Ressler chuckles that QuietHire might be cannibalizing his own recruiting business.

So far, QuietHire doesn't have any paying customers, but Ressler and the Chilcotes say they want to build their database of prospects before they aggressively market the site to employers. "You don't want your first few customers to be disappointed," says Ressler.

Besides, human-resource managers are all scrutinizing their budgets, though QuietHire may win some business from those companies that cut back on recruiters. Currently, Ressler says six employers are weighing whether to become customers.

The challenge is to get reluctant job seekers to post their profiles online. Through word of mouth, email blasts and blogs, QuietHire has encouraged 100,000 people to post profiles since the Web site was launched in May. Job seekers can post as much or as little information about themselves as they like and QuietHire never asks for identification.

QuietHire needs to bulk up its roster of job seekers and that takes money. "Advertising is the biggest problem," Ressler says. Companies that run sites such as Monster.com have spent millions of dollars to establish a brand. So far, QuietHire's job postings lean heavily in health care and automotive industries, Chilcote's and Ressler's areas of expertise. But they want to target the top 10 companies in each of 50 leading industries, from insurance to banking and pharmaceuticals.

Ressler estimates QuietHire will need at least $1 million to create a national advertising campaign. He's on a quest to raise capital and plans to present his business plan to investors at the Gulf Coast Venture Forum in the Fall. "The exit plan is to sell the company one day," Ressler says.

The Web site itself was created so that the system requires little interference from QuietHire's staff, now numbering three people. "We designed it so people and companies can do all the work," says David Chilcote. "We can handle 100,000 profiles in a minute."

Ressler and the Chilcotes are moving as fast as they can. That's because QuietHire's idea can't be patented and the big concern is that competitors will copy their idea. Still, it's not completely vulnerable: The company has bought the names of related sites such as QuietHireJapan.com and QuietHireMexico.com, for example. "We're global," Ressler says.

 

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