How to Job Hunt… Secretly

A new service offers job hunters a way to find a new job without their bosses finding them first

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Looking for a new employer while still working somewhere else can be an awkward game. Without the ability to broadly publicize the job search unbeknownst to their bosses, those on the look-out are left sending covert emails and hiding in bathrooms to make calls. But a new service called Hire My Friend, which launched last Wednesday, promises to keep the secret and expand job-hunters prospect.

The trick? Social media.

Hire My Friend, created by start-up company Makeshift, works by letting users create anonymous profiles, where they post their skills and what they’re seeking. If a potential employer is interested, he or she can send a message to the candidate, who then has the choice of dropping the screen of anonymity. With that system, job-hunters can choose who sees their true identity. The profiles can be linked on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook, allowing friends to publicize each other. And since the profiles are anonymous, users can publicize themselves by pretending the profiles aren’t their own.

The service is designed to displace recruiters, the middleman in the job search, says Courtney Boyd Myers of Makeshift. On the company’s website, a link offered to recruiters to get in touch with Makeshift leads to an old-school Rickroll. “It shouldn’t be recruiters going after you and finding you new jobs,” she says. “So, why don’t we use social networks to do that?”

Despite the Rickroll, Myers says that a handful of recruiters have already gotten in touch with Makeshift to discuss partnerships. And they aren’t the only ones — Hire My Friend has already partnered with 8 creative and start-up companies. The partnership allows companies to access candidate profiles so they can start recruiting.

The service builds off the conventional wisdom that networking and friend recommendations can facilitate job hunts. Especially when a friend has an especially large Twitter following, tapping into that network — while still remaining anonymous — can sniff out opportunities fast.

Makeshift, which is based in London, likes to quote its late, great compatriots when it comes to the purpose of the service — “I get by with a little help from my friends.”