Could the Great Resignation force technicians to find career agents? – Tech Crunch

The big resignation leads tech workers to realize their power. Salaries are rising, demand for talent is high, and if you’re an engineer at Stripe, there are likely at least three investors who would back your pre-seed business before it even had an idea.

However, the heat of the hiring market does not make it easy to navigate. If you’re a creative director at Shopify or a product manager at Thrasio, you’re probably inundated with job openings.

Free Agencya startup co-founded by Sherveen Mashayekhi and Alex Rothberg in 2019, hopes to capitalize on the enthusiasm for young talent. The startup thinks tech workers could benefit from the same kind of advocacy that Hollywood or sports stars get from their agents. Free Agency focuses on representing mid-level to C candidates in product, engineering, marketing and design. To date, the company estimates that it has helped candidates arrange 4,700 interviews and secure $200,000,000 in negotiated compensation for the total salary offers.

For example, Free Agency helped a client land a Senior Product Manager position worth over $900,000 in total compensation, a 53% jump from the client’s previous compensation. During the process, the company held 21 interviews with companies such as Snapchat, Coinbase, and Lyft without requiring the client to send a single application or email when looking for a job.

“We used our network and job search engine to get him interviews while he slept,” Mashayekhi wrote in an email.

While the agent model is somewhat ubiquitous in Hollywood, technology has yet to embrace the idea of ​​career management through a third party. Mashayekhi, who founded a job exchange and worked at recruitment companies such as Toptal and Stella.ai, says HR technology solutions have always been about pleasing the employer, not the the employee.

“If you’re an enterprising HR tech founder, it’s very easy to walk up to employers and say ‘pay for my tool’ or ‘pay for the market’ because they understand the urgency of the issue,” did he declare. “Employers understand that the dollar solves a hiring and retention problem, but historically applicants haven’t really used the money that way.”

Rather than accusing employers of “spam” or “pattern matching” potential employees, Free Agency focuses solely on the candidate’s goals. The startup makes money by charging a candidate between 5% and 10% of their first-year salary.

Employers, meanwhile, can sign up for a free service in which Free Agency will share with them up to five candidates per week.

Asking an employee to pay a recruiter to manage their career is a big ask. Additionally, candidates may not need their services for at least a few years, possibly much longer, if they are happy with their role.

Mashayekhi argues that Free Agency can demonstrate its value to clients not just through first placement, but also by helping candidates through promotion cycles, intra-company job changes and skills enhancement. The startup is actively building its product and engineering team to create a career operating system, a platform where users can search for jobs, performance reviews, and compensation benchmarking.

Another question is whether Free Agency will place those who need its services the most – historically overlooked people who often don’t have access to networks or key information – or simply help already well-connected clients land better jobs. gigs.

“Frankly, our diversity breakdown on our free agent roster is poor today,” Mashayekhi said in an email. The startup plans to deploy resources for sales, customer acquisition, and go-to-market programs to change that. Currently, talent agents on the platform are 60% women, with 20% from underrepresented groups.

Despite those question marks, Free Agency landed a $10 million Series A deal last month led by start-up Maveron. Tellingly, 20 Free Agency clients have also invested in the round, alongside Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures, Resolute, Bloomberg Beta, Kygo’s Palm Tree Crew and others. The company previously raised a seed round of $5.35 million.

Still, the ultimate test for Free Agency will be whether it can convince enough candidates to proactively pursue a more managed and outsourced job search. While the big resignation may have spurred candidates to try a service like Free Agency, it’s unclear if job seekers will be as confident once the cycle passes.

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