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Hour.ly Lets Employers Interview Potential Temp Hires With Browser Based Video Chat

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Hour.ly, a New York City startup that matches temporary job seekers and freelancers with prospective gigs and employers online, unveiled two new features and partnerships on Tuesday with Trufina and Tinychat.

Co-founded by Brooke and Lynn Dixon (Left to right, in image below), Hour.ly has been in pre-revenue, beta mode since September 2010. The bootstrapped company’s newest site features should have it generating and sharing revenue in the second quarter of 2011.

Through its partnership with Trufina, Hour.ly will allow temporary job seekers to pay for and run their own identity and criminal background checks, so that employers won’t have to, and so that hiring decisions won’t be delayed. Hour.ly will also enable employers to conduct an in-browser video chat interview with job seekers — through its partnership with Tinychat — rather than requiring them to download and use a service like Skype or Jabber.

Lynn Dixon, EVP of sales and business development at Hour.ly, explained that her company’s early market research found a large number of temporary job seekers online — for example substitue teachers, barristas and cooks who might not require use of this technology at work — do not have existing accounts with (or even familiarity with) standalone video chat services.

Hour.ly started with a focus on temp hiring needs within the hospitality industry, inspired by Ms. Dixon who holds a culinary degree, and worked for a celebrity chef of the NYC fine dining scene, Daniel Boulud, after spending years in media and technology business development.

Among Hour.ly’s 10,000 active users today, she said, 8 percent are employers. Users can create a profile to apply for and get automatically matched with jobs on other sites with listings like Craigslist, or Indeed. Ms. Dixon reported that the greatest demand for qualified workers via Hour.ly, however, is split between tech and web design, hospitality and retail.

Brooke Dixon, the company’s chief technology and executive officer (and Lynn Dixon’s husband) noted that recent economic trends have driven people to seek temporary employment, yet existing job sites [ranging from Monster and CareerBuilder, to Mediabistro and Simply Hired] have not adapted to the quick sales cycle and price sensitivity of this market.

Hour.ly lets job seekers and employers build “dynamic work profiles” and job listings for free. Through Hour.ly, workers and potential employers get matched automatically, based on their location, availability within a range of time, keywords, multiple job functions that a worker would be willing and able to do, rate of pay, and experience.