I recently had a delightful conversation with a new HRmarketer.com member Brandi Blades from an intriguing new company called Brill Street.
In fact, the Chicago Tribune recently profiled their firm in an article titled Tapping young talent offers flexibility, cost savings: Some firms find smooth transition from intern to full-time hire.
Essentially, Brill Street helps companies tap into the 18-24 year old workforce - specifically, students in their final years of college or recently graduated. That in itself is not all that unique but how Brill Street "places" theses students is. Here is a quick summary of my conversation with Brandi:
I asked Brandi why they focus on this demographic group. The answer is because its a uniquely talented age group of well educated talent who understands Web 2.0 and other emerging technologies (skill sets employers desperately need - especially in IT and Marketing) that due to the current economic climate are available for employment at affordable rates.
The really interesting thing about Brill Street's business model is their process for screening candidates, matching them to prospective employers and the low cost / low risk employment options they offer.
Brill Street is not a job board. They work with hundreds of universities (and social networking sites like Facebook) to recruit and identify potential candidates who "apply" to Brill Street via their web site. At a minimum, students must have a 3.5 or above GPA (oops - I wouldn't have qualified!). The candidates transcripts are then reviewed, references checked (prior work references, professors, etc.), etc. and selected candidates are given a phone, Internet and/or face-to-face interview. Qualified candidates are then "hired" by Brill Street (as need dictates) who essentially acts as a PEO paying the candidates themselves.
After that, Brill Street either places the candidate with an employer (if an existing Brill Street employer client needs someone matching the candidates skill sets) or they "showcase" them to their client base (kind of like, "Hey, we know you are not actively looking for a position to fill but we have this great candidate............).
Here is where it gets interesting.
While Brill Street does direct placements, most of their work is placing candidates for short term projects. Brill Street offers employers a sort of on-demand workforce. So for example, a client needing 7 people to work on a short term project for 4 months would get an instant team. The benefit to the candidates is valuable work experience (while they are deciding what to do or looking for full time work) and the benefit to the employer is a high quality instant team without the recruiting and on boarding expenses (again, Brill Street is acting as a PEO sort of company, paying the candidates themselves).
But what's really cool is Brill Street's Try Before you Hire program where companies committed to developing leaders from within can more easily identify potential full-time hires working with Brill Streeters.
I love it.
Brill Street is the brainchild of David Frej and Nancy Lerner, a husband-and-wife team. The entrepreneurs noticed that more of their client companies were complaining about the challenges of finding entry-level talent while they knew families whose college students couldn’t find jobs. "We’re creating a new category. This is not a space that is heavily occupied," Lerner said.
David and Nancy launched the company with $200,000 in personal funds and then attracted additional funding from angel investors and venture capitalists (Brill Street received $2.75 million in first-round venture funding).
I wish them luck. In the current slow economy it's wonderful to see young successful companies give it a go in the HR space - and have success!
If you have an interesting HR company you would like to introduce me to please contact me - or hook up with me on Facebook. I love to talk with fellow entrepreneurs and share their stories with our blog readership.