The Internet-based system allows firms to search for candidates globally. The site’s database of candidate profiles, job descriptions, questionnaires, specifications, offers and postings are translated into English, French and Japanese.
Companies can fill out specific job descriptions and skill requirements by completing a multiple choice questionnaire designed for the fashion industry. The site then sorts through its database of candidate profiles (also entered by completing a questionnaire) and ranks the top candidates in order of relevancy.
“The relevancy matching does away with sorting through hundreds of resumes and ranks the top four or five candidates. It’s a huge timesaver,” said Pierre Sernet, chief executive officer of BeThe1.com’s U.S. unit. “In essence, it provides the same services as a recruiter, but without the fees.”
The questionnaires were created by the site’s founders, all of whom have significant experience in fashion.
“Who better to create these than the people who have done it countless times and made countless hires,” said Francois Bouyer, the company’s chairman and a former senior executive at LVMH. “They actually ask the things I would ask. Our database does the nitty-gritty work and eliminates unqualified candidates. The computer takes a lot of information and condenses it, making room for a pragmatic, useful, user-friendly experience.”
Clearly, the more detailed the job questionnaire each company fills out, the more sophisticated and targeted their results will be.
“Matching skill sets is our key,” said Bouyer.
Once the potential employer finds a candidate to consider, Bethe1 e-mails the candidate to request permission to send contact information to the employer. Otherwise, all profiles are kept confidential in order to protect each individual’s privacy.
“So far, we’ve been fortunate in getting tremendous responses on the candidate registration sites and positive feedback,” said Sernet. “People see the value of registering profiles instead of just cutting and pasting resumes.”
The fee incurred by companies searching for new employees is $270 per job ad. Posting of profiles by candidates is free.
As an unlimited amount of space is available electronically, candidates can also paste art work, sketches, clips, photographs or any additional type of art or graphics that might showcase their abilities. The site also offers additional online tests for further screening. They can test for office and technology, foreign language proficiency and other skills that are industry or job-specific. These cost between $20 and $180. References and academic credential checks are also available. By late spring, the site plans to offer e-learning courses that are both generic and industry-specific, in areas like computer, language, retail services or textiles.
BeThe1.com was founded by Bouyer with Marie Laure Tine, formerly a principal consultant for executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, and Philippe Gil, formerly of CEGOS, a European training services company.
Firms that have already signed on for recruiting services and that are also advertising on the site include Bally, The Gap, Clarins, Kenzo, Lancel and Guerlain.
BeThe1.com expects to hit $10 million in sales by 2003, relying mainly on job ads for revenue.
Even though this might seem like a risky time to launch an Internet site given the shaky economy and dot-com meltdown, the company’s executives are optimistic.
“With people taking cost-cutting measures in order to become more financially efficient, ours is a smart and efficient alternative to traditional headhunters, which typically charge between 15 and 30 percent of a new hire’s annual salary,” said Sernet.