Swedish startup wants to put “selfie generation” to work
Inspired by online dating services, a Swedish company has launched Selfiejobs, an app marketed as “Tinder for jobs” – but critics say it's shallow and potentially discriminating.
Emulating popular dating app Tinder, on Selfiejobs young job seekers upload profile pictures or short videos that recruiters can swipe their way through. The company behind the app says it makes job hunting quick, simple and fun. But does it put too much emphasis on appearances?
Martin Tall, the brain behind Selfiejobs, tells Radio Sweden that the app “makes it really simple for young people to search for jobs”.
“You post a short CV in like one minute and write who you are and so on. Companies do the same with their openings and then you start matching up,” says Tall. “The matching is done with a simple ‘like’, or a swipe.”
If both the job seeker and the recruiter like each other’s profiles, they can start chatting. If they both feel they make a good match, they'll set a date to meet in real life.
Selfiejobs is aimed at what Tall calls "the Selfie generation"; 16- to 25-year-olds for whom digital interaction is a natural part of life.
At a recent recruitment fair in central Stockholm, a group of teenagers tried the app out for the first time. One of them, Anas Kodor, is 16 years old and is looking for a summer job.
“I think lots of people my age will start using the app in the near future. You can easily find jobs by just logging in now and then and by ‘liking’ jobs. It’s like social media so it’s easy to use,” Kodor tells Radio Sweden.
One user who has gone through the whole process from uploading a profile to landing a job is Jens Gustafsson. He spent a whole summer applying for hundreds of jobs the traditional way. Then he applied for work at Selfiejobs through the app. Today, he is the company's marketing manager.
“I applied for 700 jobs with CVs and personal letters. It took about three months. Then I applied for this position with a 20-second video. It took five minutes and then I had a job,” says Gustafsson.
Martin Tall - the company CEO - says he cannot predict just how employers will use the app or what the long-term effects will be because it's just too new. But he doesn't agree with critics who say the app is shallow and that there is a risk of job seekers getting discriminated on the basis of their looks. In Sweden, it is common to include photos in traditional job applications, too, Tall points out.
“Initially, we think that many new jobs will be posted because this app is simple for companies to use. That's one effect. Second, we think that job seekers who don't like the barriers that traditional companies create in the job-seeking process – demanding long CVs and so on – will apply for more jobs instead of being discouraged from the outset.”
But just like with dating apps, the first thing you see is the picture and then you just have to swipe to take the person out of the process. So, is there a risk that swipe might come too fast?
“That could be the case, yes,” Tall admits. “We will see, but I hope that doesn’t happen. The first reactions have been very positive.”
Tall has a background in recruitment and says it is a good thing if there are many different ways of applying for work. And for young people looking for just a casual job, a dating-like app might just do the trick. For others - like Daniel Eckert, a 26-year-old German looking for jobs in Sweden - it might not work quite as well.
“You have to put a lot of effort into your presentation I think,” Eckert tells Radio Sweden. “It's kind of a hard and harsh way of looking for a job. I just tried it out and it’s so mean. You see people going ‘no, no, no’”, says Eckert mimicking quick swipes with his right hand.
“It’s superficial. You don't read a person’s whole story and you don't really get to know the person or their qualifications. For some jobs it could be sufficient. So if I would look for a job that I think is suited for this app, then why not? But, then, my CV is kind of long, so maybe I won’t fit in.”