Brian Kearns, the founder of the new startup HipHire, wants to make it easier for small businesses to hire terrific part-time workers.
The HipHire website, which will have a soft launch later this month, will act as a matchmaking service for jobseekers and companies with open positions.
There’s a crying need for a better solution when it comes to part-time hiring. As he was researching the world of part-time work, Kearns discovered that many companies will experience turnover of 40 to 50 percent among the part-timers they hired during the previous 90 days.
“Most of the time,” Kearns said, “the business owners accepted that was the kind of turnover they should expect.”
Kearns, however, believes that HipHire can reduce turnover while eliminating a lot of the frustrations that business owners have with traditional jobs websites.
Where Did HipHire Come From?
Kearns is no stranger to Kansas City’s small business community. He was a co-founder of Pro Athlete Inc., a highly successful Northland e-commerce company that specializes in baseball and softball bats and gloves. One of his last major responsibilities there was human resources, including hiring.
When he left the company a few years ago, Kearns enrolled in a Kauffman FastTrac course with the basic idea for HipHire—and got strong, positive feedback. That encouragement led him to continue refining the concept and ultimately hire Cremalab, a local design and development firm, to build the site.
What Makes HipHire Different?
HipHire won’t display listings of open positions, the way that sites like Careerbuilder.com or Monster.com do.
Rather, jobseekers will fill out an online form that asks them about their preferred times to work, commute times and other information. If someone is a good fit for a position that a company needs to fill, HipHire will email both the jobseeker and the business and give each party the opportunity to contact the other.
(The company, however, won’t see the jobseeker’s name or picture until the hiring officer agrees to meet that person. It’s Kearns’ way of reducing bias in the hiring process.)
There are no listing fees for HipHire. The startup will get paid only when a company hires someone through its website. The fee is only a few dollars.
And unlike the big corporate jobs websites, the emphasis will be on speed, which is a huge factor when filling part-time positions.
Kearns plans to launch with about 50 local companies, which will have the opportunity to be part of HipHire’s Founders Club. Going forward, Kearns will offer this group special discounts and early access to new features on HipHire’s platform.
The site’s ideal customer is a smaller business, one that has more than five employees, but fewer than 50. These are companies that probably lack a full-time HR director, which means the owner or other high-ranking managers—folks who don’t have a ton of time—are responsible for hiring. Most of the positions will be blue collar, with some white-collar positions: food service, retail and office administration, for example.
In five years, Kearns wants HipHire to be active in 100 markets. The company’s long-range plan calls for an expansion to a second market after about six months.
Kearns believes that his site has the potential to do just that. He’s worked hard to make HipHire as useful to hiring companies as possible.
“I tried to put on my business hat,” he said, “and remove all those things that are frustrating.”