Big List of Start-Ups Trying to Make Recruiters Obsolete

Andrew Zarick
3 min readMar 9, 2016


Part of what we do through Digital DUMBO is connect forward-thinking companies with active/passive jobseekers and digital talent through in-person events.

In doing so, I’ve started paying attention to emerging start-ups working to disrupt the traditional staffing market and the contingency fee pricing model that comes with it. For a bit of context, traditional recruitment firms typically receive an 18–25% commission of the first-year salary of successfully placed hires. For freelance placements, staffing firms typically markup the hourly rate anywhere from 40–150%.

In fairness to staffing firms, it can take a ton of work, a lot of manpower, and multiple months to find the right candidate. Sometimes they do earn their keep. However, for small, cash strapped companies (and big ones too!) it can be incredibly tough to justify coughing up an additional 18–25% for a new hire.

Over the past year or so I’ve identified several start-ups that are building new platforms that are attempting to vet talent at scale and, in most cases, have completely moved away from the contingency fee pricing model. Most are subscription-based.

Below is the list…

(PS: It’d be awesome if you shared any other platforms you’ve come across! Also, let me know if you’ve had success hiring talent on any of the below.) — Submit a project to Crew and they handpick professionals from their vetted community to connect you with. Crew takes a % of the final negotiated project fee.

Working Not Working — See which freelancers are currently available or not available. WNW charges a monthly membership fee to access the platform.

Underdog Jobs — reviews and ranks applicants and sends hand-picked candidate batches to companies via email and via its platform. Companies pay a monthly subscription fee.

HireArt — HireArt matches talented sales and customer service people
with forward-thinking companies. Companies pay a monthly subscription.

Planted — Planted helps start-ups find the best junior, non-technical talent by partnering with top universities and entrepreneurship-focused organizations. Talent is fully vetted for employers.

LiquidTalent — LiquidTalent provides warm introductions to vetted developers, designers and the best companies through your social connections. Companies can also speak with talent on the phone and text via the platform.

WhiteTruffle — WhiteTruffle matches technical talent with the right positions through machine learning. Companies tell WhiteTruffle which candidates they like and WhiteTruffle makes the introduction. The process is completely anonymous until an introduction is made. — Dribbble is a community of designers sharing screenshots of their work, process, and projects. Dribbble Teams allows companies to share jobs with the community. Teams pay an annual fee.

Happie — Hippie is an online speed-recruiting experience connecting sales talent with companies through video interviews.

Vettery — Vettery takes the connects employers and talent through a curated marketplace of vetted candidates.

Elevator — Elevator is the world’s first team-based hiring platform. Talent can assemble the best colleagues they’ve worked with and receive full-time job offers together (acqui-hire?).

ExecThread — ExecThread is a selective network of successful executives
confidentially sharing job leads with one another. Executives have to be referred to the community for access.

SwitchApp — Switch has built a Tinder-like interface for connecting talent to employers. If there’s a match, talent can chat with employers instantly.

Know of others? Post ‘em!



Andrew Zarick

CEO & Founder, Digital DUMBO. Entrepreneur, Community builder in real life, Digital Marketer, Event/Experiential Producer.