Staffing and Recruiting Startups: 10 Young Companies to Watch

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Welcome to Top 10,’s weekly rundown of the best of the best in recruiting! Every Friday, we release a list of some of our favorite people, things, and ideas dominating the industry. From awesome tech tools and cool companies to great books and powerful trends, no stone in the recruiting space will be left unturned.

This Week: Top 10 Staffing and Recruiting Startups

Has there ever been a more exciting time to be a recruiter ? We’d argue the answer is “No.” While technological advances are changing the way business is done in a number of industries, the staffing and recruiting space seems to be receiving an especially invigorating boost from cutting-edge technologies.

With that in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to highlight ten staffing and recruiting startups that we should all keep an eye on in the coming years. Some of these companies are more established than others, but they’re all relative newcomers to the industry, and they’re all doing some really cool things.

1. Job Today

Job Today

As the app’s name suggests, Job Today wants to help you find a job today.
So far, the app, which is geared toward employers and workers in the service industry, seems to be living up to its promise: In its first few weeks, the app helped 10,000 workers find jobs.

Job Today functions less like a job board and more like Tinder or WhatsApp, emphasizing direct connection over complicated application processes. Employers and candidates communicate with one another via the app’s chat client, which streamlines the hiring process significantly. In an era when more and more people conduct their job searches on their mobile devices, Job Today’s accessible and intuitive interface is the gold standard of next-generation recruiting.

Currently, the app is only available in Europe, but its founders have plans to bring it stateside this year – and we’re really looking forward to that.

Learn more. 

2. Simppler


We all know employee referrals are a top source for high-quality candidates – but that’s only true if your employee referral program (ERP) works. Unfortunately, getting your ERP to work is easier said than done.

Simppler is here to solve that problem. This data-driven employee referral solution features a built-in recommendation engine that automatically suggests potential referrals to employees. Employees can then refer these candidates directly through the platform. The simple user experience means employees are much likelier to engage in the ERP, and that, in turn, means your ERP is much likelier to actually yield quality talent. It’s a win for everyone.

(Credit to Mason Wong of ZWD, who advocated for Simppler’s inclusion on this list.)

Learn more. 

3. My Job Hunter

My Job Hunter

In a recent post on our site, career coach Angela Copeland pointed out that the job hunt requires some very specific skills – and not everyone has those skills. That’s a shame, because a lack of job-hunting skills often hinders great candidates from landing jobs in which they would excel. This isn’t just bad news for these candidates: It’s also bad news for employers, who may miss out on perfect hires simply because those hires are not great resume-writers.

My Job Hunter solves this problem by doing a lot of the heavy lifting for job seekers. The company will rewrite a candidate’s resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile, and then it goes the extra step of submitting that candidate to open roles that align with their skills and career path. By doing the dirty work and connecting relevant employers to relevant candidates, My Job Hunter ensures that candidates and companies can focus on the more important matter of getting to know one another.

Learn more. 

4. HackerTrail


HackerTrail is tech recruiting done right. CareerLadder Founder Adrian Tan put HackerTrail on our radar, so we’ll let him take it away:

“HackerTrail makes the recruitment of tech talent faster and more efficient. It does this with a combination of targeted recruitment marketing, active employer branding, and gamified skills assessments. Applicants participate in challenges to win attractive prizes via their coding skills. There’s also a potential job offer waiting for the winners.

“The platform acts as a virtual headhunter and provides employers with only qualified, tested candidates. It shaves hours off the traditional (and broken) recruitment process.”

Learn more. 

5. Koru


GeekWire named Koru “Startup of the Year” in 2015, and we think that was a good call. Koru connects highly skilled college grads with companies in need of talent using a two-pronged approach.

On the candidate side, Koru runs intensive career-training programs that teach college grads all the valuable career skills they never learned in school. On the employer side, Koru uses people analytics to help employers define their ideal candidate profiles and find candidates who match those profiles. The result is better hires for employers and better jobs for candidates.

Learn more. 

6. DistantJob

Distant Job

Flexible work and telecommuting arrangements are all the rage these days, and DistantJob earned itself a spot on our list by placing these concerns at the forefront of its business. Billing itself as a “remote placement agency,” DistantJob aims to connect employers with the best talent for the position – no matter where that talent is located.

Many organizations are still wedded to traditional notions of in-office workforces, but remote work arrangements can be highly beneficial for employers and employees alike. Advances in communications technologies mean that remote teams are easier to build and manage than ever before. DistantJob earns our admiration because it is bringing the good news about remote work to the masses, paving the way for more flexible and productive forms of employment for all of us.

Learn more. 

7. WayUp


WayUp is another mobile-friendly platform that focuses on streamlining the application process. Aimed at college students looking for entry-level, part-time, or seasonal work, WayUp starts by asking users to fill out a profile. Based on a user’s skills, location, and experience, WayUp then matches students with relevant job opportunities. Users can apply for these jobs in under 10 seconds, and they receive notifications when employers read their applications – which means no dreaded “black hole” effect.

Learn more. 

8. EquityOwl


Do you run a startup? Do you need some talent, but have little (if any) money to pay that talent? Then you may want to try recruiting through EquityOwl. This totally free platform allows entrepreneurs to connect with people who don’t want salaries – just a little equity in the business. By giving entrepreneurs the ability to trade equity for much-needed professionals services, EquityOwl ensures that young companies can get the manpower they need, even if they can’t afford traditional employment arrangements.

Learn more. 

9. ZipRecruiter


Yes, ZipRecruiter has been in the game for a while now. Yes, you could make a pretty strong argument that, at 300 employees strong, ZipRecruiter isn’t really a “startup” anymore. So be it. We’ll play a little fast and loose with the definition of “startup” in order to give ZipRecruiter some recognition.

Often, only larger businesses with bigger budgets can afford to access and leverage cutting-edge advances in recruiting and staffing technology. ZipRecruiter’s mission is to bring these advances to small and medium-sized businesses, and that’s a valuable service. If you don’t think your young company has the budget for innovative recruiting technology, think again.

In a Forbes story, ZipRecruiter CEO Ian Siegel noted that “the idea [behind ZipRecruiter] is to help the person doing HR at [smaller companies], whether they are an HR professional or not.” Few startups can afford to bring on veteran HR pros, and ZipRecruiter offers an attractive alternative.

Learn more. 

10. Hired


The balance of power in the talent market has shifted. The demand for top-tier employees has outstripped the supply, and now employers are locked in a virtual war with one another over the best candidates on the market.

Hired takes this idea to its logical conclusion and totally inverts the hiring process. Candidates sign up and create profiles on the platform. Then, employers look through the profiles and reach out to the candidates in whom they are interested. Essentially, employers do the applying on Hired. It’s about time someone came up with a recruiting platform that reflects the realities of the market.

(Credit to Triin Linamagi of Jobatar, who put Hired on our radar.)

Learn more. 

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By Matthew Kosinski