Hiring decisions have always been limited to a few imperfect factors, including what appears on a resume and what impression a candidate gives off in an informal interview.
TalentBin, as its founder Pete Kazanjy explains, is a LinkedIn competitor. And yet, if the average person with a LinkedIn profile were to click over to TalentBin, he would find no services of use to him. There’s no opportunity to upload a resume, no chance to send special “InMail” or stalk potential employers.
That’s because TalentBin doesn’t compete with the services LinkedIn offers to the average user. Rather, TalentBin competes with the behind-the-scenes services LinkedIn offers a very specific, and lucrative, segment: recruiters.
Back in May, TalentBin (formerly Honestly.com) launched a people search engine for recruiters. Now it's releasing that search engine in iPhone app form, aimed at a different audience-- not recruiters, but pretty much anyone who's ever wanted to look up someone else. The underlying data in the search engine is pretty much the same, with profile information and activity aggregated from social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Quora (data that CEO Peter Kazanjy has called "professional exhaust"). But just by moving the search onto a mobile phone, Kazanjy says the use case changes, which is why the app is called Lookup, not TalentBin.
The company started as a Yelp for people, but quickly realized it was difficult to crowdsource reviews of humans from other humans. LinkedIn isn't exactly teeming with recommendations (and half of the people who have made them wish they could call takebacksies). It had the potential to become a pit of defamation and was maybe a little evil, too. So it's no surprise that an online vouching social network type of hybrid was a challenge.
Honestly.com, a startup that allowed professionals to submit anonymous reviews of their coworkers, has been pretty quiet for the past couple of years. Turns out that's because the company has been busy reinventing itself. Today it's unveiling a new product and a new name-- TalentBin.
Since the last article I wrote, I've gotten a lot of questions around how to find candidates on Twitter. And while there are a few great ways to do this, the one that I've had the most luck with lately is TalentBin-- in fact, I've become so in *love* with TalentBin that I decided to dedicate an entire blog post about it. (OCD much? Yeah, yeah, I know.)
TalentBin Social Recruiting Video Overview
Think about how your professional reputation functions in the real world. On one hand there's your resume or CV--you on paper. But competition for the best jobs often comes down to frank, back-channel discussions between colleagues about performance, work ethic, and skill.
The self-described reputation management site, which allows professionals to anonymously submit reviews on their peers, has just renamed its site to “Honestly.com” and raised $1.2 million from several high-profile firms including First Round Capital, Ron Conway's SV Angel, Charles River Ventures. The round also includes individual investors, like Joshua Schachter, Travis Kalanick and Richard Chen. The corporate entity is still officially named Unvarnished, but in terms of identity and brand the company will effectively go by Honestly.
Good judgment and patience — the kind of qualities that are vital, yet hard to assess in a potential hire or partner — helped win Peter Kazanjy funding for his startup. And he's planning to use the money to keep building a site that will help others make similar assessments of people they're going into business with.