Over the past few years, one of the hard-hitting issues in politics, conversation, and people’s own realities has been the job market and the difficulty in finding employment. Coupled with that has been a roller coaster ride with gasoline prices and a poor economic state in general. The United States has a $16 trillion problem and one person isn’t going to fix it all.
Let’s take a look back to 2010. Mike Schuler, a long-time Collegeville resident, is a daily newsreader, but over time, he just wasn’t satisfied with what he was getting.
“It just gets old reading about the negative stories in the media – the Wall Street, the housing market, even just the reality TV shows that are just doing no good for anybody,” Schuler said. “So, I just got a sense of saying what’s going on here? If I’m going to contribute energy to something, it’s going to be good, positive energy that’s going to do some good versus just self-promotion and contributing to a bigger problem.”
Schuler said he was tired of being a bystander and being on the sidelines looking at all of these bad things happen. So, he decided to get himself involved in something right in the heart of Collegeville, because that’s where he lived.
By day, Schuler has been in the corporate staffing industry for 14 years, with corporate recruitment, global human relations and technology all in his repertoire. So, it was blatantly obvious to Schuler what he could do with his free time.
“Then I thought, if I recruit for a living and find people jobs for a living, maybe I could create something that helped get people to find some work,” he explained. “One thing led to another and the idea came up to create a website that was a little more streamline and efficient than a Craigslist and is a little more focused on driving the community together.”
Schuler, along with his wife Patti, who has 10 years of corporate HR experience, now operateHometown Job Search, a job search website that is meant to be the easiest way to find jobs in your own backyard, without advertisements leading the way, or jobs halfway across the country flooding the search. The service is completely and 100% free for both prospective employees to search for jobs and employers to post jobs.
Patti is the owner of the company and handles communications, marketing and much of the behind-the-scenes stuff, while Mike operates the site and has been instrumental in trying to get local businesses around the area to give the system a whirl.
“The site is meant to try to hook up the people that are in the community,” Mike said. “If you’re a local florist, pizza shop – a small, professional business of any kind – maybe there are people in your backyard that could work for you. I just figured if they could go to a site that literally when they log in, put their zip code in, then all the jobs that were in their zip code comes up first, then everybody in that community gets first dibs on what’s going on in their community.”
Mike said users can search in California if they want, but when they first go in, the jobs in their backyards are going to come up first. Likewise, it’s free to post.
“It had to be a little different than everything else out there,” he said. “There had to be a differentiator. That differentiator to me is the fact that it is a very efficient functionality, but it’s all free. While Craigslist is great and its free, all you can do is Philadelphia or Reading. It’s very broad.”
A big advantage, according to Mike, is that when employers go in and register, there’s no activation email. As a matter of fact, users will never receive an email from Hometown Job Search unless they send an email first.
“I’m not going to sell your information,” said Mike. “There’s no ulterior motive here. None. It’s free for businesses to use, they can use it how they want it. Residents can go in and find a job.”
From a business perspective, the way it’s intended to make money is through advertising. However, the Schulers didn’t just want to get money from an advertiser. They wanted to make it truly valuable for them, which is why advertising also works by zip code.
Advertisers in a certain zip code automatically get the maximum exposure for their area. Mike said there will be a limited number of advertisements available for each zip code. Advertisers can own that area as long as they pay for it and are entitled to the first right of refusal.
Mostly, the Schulers just want to work on credibility and awareness.
“The concept and the foundation is there,” Mike said. “I just need people to know that it’s there and that they can use it. I want to get across that people can trust this site and there’s no ulterior motive. It’s very clean. I want to keep it clean. I don’t have a Facebook or Twitter icon on there. I want it simplistic because I just want people to know it’s there to use.
“If we get one person a job, then I feel like it was worth it. I had to do something that was valuable to me, as well as the community. It does what I wanted it to do.”
Ultimately, the Schulers want to see this take off on a national level. According to Mike, that’s really pie in the sky for the five-year plan. So, his goal in that timeframe is to see it go viral in the tri-state area, at least.
“People always think you’re trying to get something from them,” Mike said. “Instead of asking why would you use this, I think people should ask why wouldn’t you use this? If I have a job open, why wouldn’t use something free to offer it to my community?”
Overall, Mike just wants to do something that’s greater than himself – a mark of many of our society’s most successful people.
“It really was born out of good intentions,” he concluded. “How many lives can I possibly touch in a really positive manner? Hopefully, people will use it. It’s about the power that lies within each of us to contribute. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to, but if you do, then there’s ways you can.”
Source: Kevin Haslam for the Norristown, PA Patch.