It’s hard to know what’s happening inside a company. Those best-places-to-work lists are helpful, but what’s great for one person might not be so great for another.
The Muse, a content-rich recruitment site whose growth depends on its ability to match job seekers and companies, knows well the challenge of getting the “full story.” Though it counts more than 500 companies as clients, and though it sends videographers into many of these companies’ offices in an attempt to capture their look and feel and fit, learning what these businesses are truly like — compared with the perception they project to the world — is challenging.
It has been until now, anyway. The Muse is hoping to tackle that problem with Brand Amper, a three-year-old Chicago-based startup whose tools enable companies to collect data like employee sentiment by inviting employees to tell stories, including through a Mad Libs-like web app.
The Muse just acquired the company to produce both internal and external insights from companies. Hiring customers of The Muse will, for example, be able to use some of Brand Amper’s tools (rebranded as BrandBuilder, for now) to generate insights that they might want to use for their own marketing activities. (You can imagine what some of these might look like: “Our employees love our commitment to progress on climate change!”)
Meanwhile, The Muse be using some of the insights it derives from the product to better inform job seekers. As co-founder and CEO Kathryn Minshew describes, The Muse isn’t looking for “gotcha information. We are looking for attributes that aren’t in themselves good or bad but provide more insight into whether a company is a fit for an individual and vice versa.”
Pointing to that New York Times expose in 2015 of Amazon’s bruising culture — a piece that sparked widespread debate over how much work is reasonable for employees — Minshew says she’s been told that “applications to Amazon actual increased.” The reason, she adds, is that “certain people are attracted to particular work environments.” What The Muse is trying to wring out of employees, she continues, is ultimately less feedback of the “I love this place” variety, and more “this place is hard-charging” or “this place is very individualistic versus collaborative.”
The Muse isn’t offering many specifics about the transaction, but Minschew says its acquisition of Brand Amper, which was bootstrapped, was a cash deal. She says, too, that Brand Amper’s two co-founders, Lisa Cervenka and Jason Seiden, will join the company for at least some stretch of time.
The deal represents the first tech acquisition for The Muse.
Pictured: right to left, Minshew and her co-founder, Alex Cavoulacos.