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Job Website Targets Elite Colleges

By James S. Davis, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard students concerned with their post-college careers can turn to a new website that promises a 75 percent chance of getting a job.

SquareJobs, a five-month-old job placement arm of the networking site TheSquare.com, offers the same services as other well-known job search sites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com, but limits membership to students and alumni from 40 elite universities, including Harvard.

The site claims it has “one of the most prestigious, highly-sought after pools of job applicants anywhere.” According to spokeswoman Elizabeth Arnold, SquareJobs’ 75 percent hire rate means that three out of every four people who post resumes on the site receive job offers.

Arnold contrasted this rate of hire with that of the well-known site Monster.com, which she claimed has a hiring rate of only 3 to 4 percent. A search of Monster.com did not turn up a hire rate.

Mark Mehler, coauthor of CareerXroads, a guidebook on career-themed websites, said he doubts the validity of the SquareJobs figures. “You can say any numbers you want, but show me the measures behind it,” he said.

Mehler said that in light of the low hiring rates that other internet job board companies achieve, it was unlikely that SquareJobs, a newcomer to the field, could see so much success.

Unless the site distorts the measures it uses or deals with an extremely small number of applications, Mehler said he doesn’t believe the claims. “I don’t think they can back it up,” he said.

Arnold declined to reveal the number of resume submissions from applicants or job postings by employers that SquareJobs has received, but said that the job board’s resume base is currently growing by 10 percent each month.

Arnold attributed the 75 percent hire rate to “where we draw our employers from, our community.” Graduates of the 40 eligible schools are apt to look for new hires among the alumni of their own alma maters as well as graduates of similarly top-tier schools, she said.

Besides the hiring rate, the SquareJobs site also asserts that “the majority of our applicants receive interviews, with nearly half of positions being filled by TheSquare members.”

Harvard Office of Career Services (OCS) director William Wright-Swadel echoed some of the concerns of industry maven Mehler. “There often is a difference between the claims these organizations make and their willingness to put out data,” said Wright-Swadel. He noted, however, that he was unfamiliar with SquareJobs.

Applicants to SquareJobs must first become members of TheSquare.com, a competitor of thefacebook.com and Friendster with membership limited to the 40 elite schools.

Wright-Swadel reflected on the problems inherent in combining a social site like TheSquare and a job board. “I’m not sure people are necessarily going to be good at both those things,” he said.

—Staff writer James C. Davis can be reached at jcdavis@fas.harvard.edu.

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