This morning at around 1am we went live with some major changes to the way WEXO works and in the coming weeks you’ll start to see the look and feel of WEXO change too.
* CANDIDATES will no longer have to pay £10 to identify companies and apply for opportunities.
* COMPANIES will now be able to choose between paying up front to advertise internships & jobs through the WEXO network or engaging our experienced team to help them find the best recruits.
* CAREER GUIDANCE is now just a click away.
When we started WEXO as ‘Work Experience Online’ in 2007, we set up a company that would focus on democratising access to work experience and encouraging Generation Y to ‘do something different with your day’ (see launch video!) We had many excellent contacts in aspirational organisations (largely in the creative industries) but their core problem was receiving and rifling through too many CVs for the opportunities they had to offer. They were interested in us finding them graduates and using our network to fill higher level roles too but their main problem was filtering out the strong candidates from a mass of applications.
In the beginning (when man created site), we looked hard at where the value in our offering was and,uncommonly, made it free to post roles on the site (to get as much ‘content’ as possible). We allowed people to search for free but only allowed those who joined us as members (paying a one off £10 Membership fee) to identity the companies behind the roles on offer and apply for them. We also invested a lot of resources into building our ‘filtration technology’ which matches candidates with opportunities and remains one of the key USPs of WEXO. It allows us to rate candidates and our companies to rank applicants.
At the same time as entering this market, we subconsciously entered the ‘unpaid Internships’ debate (most recent thoughts on that here, here and here!). Beyond question, this has shaped our development as a company and dictated our direction. As staunch supporters of people paying for value (hence interns – or in my other working capacity, musicians!) it was only natural that we would eventually start charging companies for finding them good people. But as we have found it easier to place interns and graduates than to to improve access to work experience in its purest form (SHORT, UNPAID placements for YOUNG people – where they derive the lion’s share of the value), so it has made sense to move away from charging our users to apply for roles on the site. We always offered paying members career guidance however and remain committed to this. We are also delighted to say that we have recently been joined by Bella Connelly and Tray Durrant from Tinker Tailor who are happy to offer refined 30 minute careers and CV advice sessions to anyone on WEXO for a much reduced fee of £50. We will be exploring other ways to add to this offer in due course and it will become a focus of the site but if you are interested please email:firstname.lastname@example.org
The most consistent proactive feedback has always been that it is unfair to be charged £10 to apply for a job but in some ways, that was what our key stakeholders (our companies) have required. They only wanted to see considered applications and we found that only those that really wanted the role would pay £10 to apply. We concede that this wasn’t how everyone saw it!
Many have identified the two biggest problems in the recruitment industry today as too many people applying for too many jobs (‘Shotgunning‘) and not enough applicants receiving responses or feedback (‘Freeloading‘). A lot of this is driven by the Internet economy itself which has broken down many barriers for the better but also created expectation whilst failing to manage it. Our response now is to restrict people to applying for a maximum of 3 roles at any one time (and focus ambition) whilst ensuring that all applicants get a response of sorts within 14 days (we have much work to do in this space and are continually open to feedback).
We also want to ensure that we are working with similarly minded companies – ones that want to invest in finding talent and driving UK PLC out of the recession. From now on, we still allow you to sign up for free but offer you a range of options to promote your opportunities to our growing user base of over 10,000 and a partner network that stretches to up to 750,000 (prices from £135 to £750). Through Step, host businesses have access to a wider network of upto 750,000 students and graduates. And for those of you that simply want us to help find you strong candidates, we look forward to hearing from you and will respond to postings within 24 hours to discuss the best course of action (more info here). We are proud of the work that we have done of late and are excited about some of the new things in the pipeline:
* Finding, recruiting and payrolling over 60 graduates to work with UPS at the London 2012 Olympic Games with STEP and their Internship programmes.
* Placing interns and permanent employees in roles at exciting start-ups including Housebites and Fanatix and more traditional companies like Henry Cookson Travel and Claudia Bradby Jewellery.
* Running searches for permanent roles at big names like Purple PR, Badoo and MiH Jeans.
Whilst we remain believers in Freemium business models (from the Financial Times to Spotify), as with internships and work experience, it remains a question of what is free and how much?
Robin Kennedy, Co-founder & CEO, WEXO
Thank you to all our users for their support and patience as we enact the next phase of changes on WEXO. Please keep letting us know what improvements you want us to make.