Anybody who's been frustrated trying to use a clunky job-search website will appreciate the mission of TrueJob, an Ann Arbor-based company that has built a different kind of site to match employers with new employees.
Founder Scott Goci graduated from the University of Michigan in 2009, and says the combination of a tough economy and his impractical psychology degree led to difficulty finding a job. Job-seeking websites that hadn't changed much in 20 years didn't help the process.
"I tried Indeed and Monster.com and a bunch of other sites, and they were all bad," Goci says. "An article at the time from TechCrunch noted that job websites were bad, and that was written in 2009. Even today, job sites haven't evolved in a long time."
Goci says a typical job-search site asks for information that doesn't actually help pinpoint the best job matches.
"They focus on locations and job titles, but that was not how I was searching for jobs, and I wanted to find something better," he says.
Goci wanted to create a job-search site that was based on analytics. It would give feedback to job seekers on how they could improve their chances and give information to companies about how potential employees conduct their career searches.
Goci spent a few years learning coding and systems administration and getting some startups off the ground before he felt ready to build a better job-search website. He met co-founder Mike Kling through the Ann Arbor Coffee House Coders meetup group and brought him on board to create TrueJob in 2015.
Goci compares the job site's technology to internet radio station Pandora. Like Pandora, Netflix, or other sites that tailor recommendations based on user feedback, TrueJob mines a user's profile and resume to suggest matches. It then allows users to give the thumbs-up or thumbs-down to job matches, and the program uses that information to tailor better job recommendations for users.
TrueJob's most recent public success was partnering with Ann Arbor SPARK to revamp SPARK's free job portal.
Goci says that beyond helping job seekers figure out how to improve their resumes and applications and providing data to employers, TrueJob can provide analytics to economic development organizations like SPARK to help them spot employment trends in their area.
"Economic development organizations need to provide analytics to show their value to the communities they operate in," Goci says. He says SPARK staff noticed that their job portal got plenty of traffic, but not necessarily participation and engagement, and they wanted to know why.
"It was mostly a filtering problem," Goci says. "If users can start 'liking' jobs and getting better job recommendations, there will be more engagement. SPARK really wants to use these analytics to provide insight into how job seekers find jobs, how employers find employees, and a lot of other things it couldn't track before."
Goci says the technology is applicable to other areas such as industry associations.
"Say you have an airline with a union and they have a job board. They might want to see how membership in the union impacts how people are hired," he says.
Goci says that in the future he'd like to focus on working with other economic development organizations, from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to TechTown to entities outside Michigan's borders.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Kling and Scott Goci photo courtesy of Scott Goci.