And Action: Cues Video

By Michelle Rafter

Mar. 13, 2012 wants to shake up the recruiting business by giving away its Web-based, video-focused job board and applicant tracking system, or ATS, software, taking a page from Facebook and other companies that have ridden the “free” business model to stratospheric success.

Free or not, the Palo Alto, California, startup needs to overcome some monumental obstacles to accomplish its goal, including besting much larger, entrenched competitors as well as continued doubt over how much demand exists for video résumés and video job boards.

The year-old business rolled out a combination job board-ATS platform in late January after six months of invitation-only testing. CEO Suki Shah won’t disclose how many job seekers or corporate clients the company has signed up, though its website features testimonials from businesses such as Boston Medical Group and Inc.

The ATS portion of’s software includes modules that companies can use to add audio or video pre-screening tools to job listings. The software also has built-in calendaring and videoconferencing, giving companies a soup-to-nuts option for finding, interviewing and onboarding candidates, Shah says.

On the job-board side, job hunters can create accounts on’s website to scan posted jobs, create profiles, upload their résumés and record video clips that recruiters can browse.

The 14-person company raised $1.75 million from Silicon Valley angel investors to finance its roll out, and could have news about additional funding soon, Shah says. “We’re farther along in the engineering side” than other video résumé startups, he says. “A lot of those companies aren’t able to raise the funds to develop a team, and don’t have a vision that’s as big as ours. We haven’t seen any true competitor that’s doing what we do.”

Not everyone is convinced the human resources industry needs another ATS or another job board, even if they’re free. “Really, a job board that includes an ATS? How 1995. I believe that this was the beginning model for HotJobs and has been tried repeatedly over the years,” says longtime HR technology analyst John Sumser. Early job board leader HotJobs was acquired by Yahoo in 2002 and later sold to Monster Worldwide Inc., which merged it into its own employment offerings.

“The problem is that one job board can’t satisfy all of a company’s needs no matter how wickered into social media it is,” Sumser says. “This business model requires customers to take a risk before the operation could possibly prove a value.” is entering an ATS market packed with large, well-established players with their own Web-based software, including iCIMS, Jobvite Inc. and Taleo Corp. That landscape was jolted in February when Oracle announced it would spend $1.9 billion to buy Taleo, which sells ATS software as part of its talent management software suite.

On the job board side of its business, must compete with long-standing competitors such as Monster and CareerBuilder. It will also have to deal with a multitude of startups promising to help job seekers distinguish themselves from the masses via video résumés, links to social networks or both .

Shah shakes off criticism, saying companies will try alongside whatever else they’re using because it doesn’t cost anything—at least for now. Once the company has developed a big-enough user base, he plans to charge for advertising and add a small fee for job listings—”a 10th or 20th of what it costs now,” Shah says.

Some recruiters remain wary of video résumés or job boards, concerned they could be accused of discriminating against job seekers based on age or other characteristics that are visually apparent. In particular, government contractors have to avoid even the appearance of discriminating against job applicants or risk running afoul of hiring compliance regulations, says one Dallas talent acquisition professional who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on behalf of his company. “If I were in the third-party recruiting world, I would love these things, it would help you get to know everyone and who would do best in front of your hiring manager,” the recruiter says. “But when you put on your HR hat, it’s major scary red flags all over.”

Michelle V. Rafter is a Workforce Management contributing editor .To comment, email

Michelle Rafter is a Workforce contributing editor.

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