Social Recruiting: Localbacon Relaunches As Jibe, Raises $875K Seed Round (Invites)

At last year’s TechCrunch50, one of the more intriguing launch startups was localbacon—a job board targeted at recent college graduates which charged 99 cents to apply for a job. The idea was to get the most qualified applicants who were more really serious about the job.

The founders of localbacon took what they learned from operating their site and are now relaunching with a much better idea centered more around social recruiting. In many ways, Jibe is using Facebook Connect to create a LinkedIn for the Facebook set. The new site is called Jibe, and it ties into Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to help people find jobs through their social networks. Jibe is open today in private beta. The first 200 people to enter the code “Techcrunch” will receive an invite.

Jibe also relocated to Dogpatch Labs in New York City, and closed an $875,000 seed round led by Polaris Venture Partners (which runs Dogpatch Labs). Other investors include Lerer Media Ventures, Zelkova Ventures, Jason Calacanis (who is our partner in TechCrunch50), and Josh and Jared Kushner.

On Jibe, job seekers sign in with Facebook Connect. It pulls in their work and education history from their Facebook profile to pre-populate their Jibe profile. They can link their account to LinkedIn and Twitter as well (the service is targeting the 24-and-under crowd, who tend not to have LinkedIn accounts). Then for every job posting, they can see if they are connected to anyone at that company. Jibe allows members to message those people directly to ask for a recommendation or job advice.

Jibe still charges applicants to apply for jobs, but is now using a credit system. Applicants earn credits by linking their Jibe account to their various social networks, broadcasting their job search, sending private messages through the system, or updating their work history profile. They can also buy 500 credits for $5.

Each job listing is ranked based on how many times it’s been viewed, saved, or applied for. The jobs that rank higher turn up at the top of job searches. Employers can post jobs for free, but pay $15 to unlock an applicant’s profile. By unlocking the profile employers get to see the applicant’s name, who else they are connected to in the company, and they can send them a direct message. Candidates whose profile gets unlocked the most appear on a leaderboard

Jibe turns Facebook’s social graph into an internal recruiting graph for each candidate, showing the HR person or hiring manager who else in the company is connected to the candidate. Anyone who refers more than 10 friends for jobs will get their profile highlighted to their employer. Companies can also turn fans on their Facebook page into “job ambassadors.” A corresponding Facebook app will allow employers to put their job listings in their fan pages, where people can apply directly. Jibe is also making this recruiting graph available to college career centers in the hopes that they will use it as a tool to help students apply for jobs.

The current job boards are broken and dying. Injecting social elements into the job search makes much more sense. The best jobs always come through people you know.