Five local friends have created Zumeo, a job search/social networking site in a two-room office in Booye's house in south Medford. - Bob Pennell

Zumeo: Cool place for hot jobs

What do you get when you cross the social-networking concept behind Facebook and MySpace with the job-searching tools in and

For five young Southern Oregon entrepreneurs, the answer is a dream of global proportions.

Combining technical and marketing skills, seed money, research and a half-year of testing, the group unleashes today. Zumeo (pronounced zoo-mee-oh) connects basic social interaction and networking as well as the opportunity for online interviews and demonstrations.

The start-up team is headed by chief executive Jared Booye, 28; marketing and development vice president Mat Rudisill, 33; lead developer Adam Braly, 21; developer and graphic designer Aaron Miller, 21; and developer Adam Passey, 25.

The challenge Zumeo's creators encountered, says Booye, was harnessing the Web's latest interactive possibilities.

"What better place than human resources is there to actively, intelligently connect a young demographic to jobs?" Booye asks. "At first it was the Web speaking to you. Then somewhere along the line a Web user raised their hand and said 'I want to contribute.' Social networking, blogs followed, allowing the user to become part of the process."

Monster, CareerBuilder and business networker LinkedIn hit the established job seeker with traditional career history and thinking. Zumeo is aimed at the less-traditional Gen Yer, perhaps still in college and maybe a year or two out.

(Generation Y includes those born in the mid- to late 1980s and early 1990s.)

Zumeo's target generation is both self-possessed and technically adroit. Some 97 percent of Gen Yers own a computer, 76 percent use instant messaging and social networking sites, while 75 percent of college students have Facebook accounts.

"We saw a work force that was different from baby boomers and wanted to take advantage of technology they were already using and help them enter the workforce," Booye says.

Neither Monster nor CareerBuilder have social networking features and don't necessarily connect with younger workers.

"Their model fits in with LinkedIn, reaching up but not reaching down," Booye says. "We're image driven and see things differently — there's a big difference between MySpace and LinkedIn. We see attempts at it, but don't see anything really relative in targeting that generation effectively."

Zumeo allows job recruiters to interact with live resumes that can be updated on the fly, Rudisill says.

It also allows employers to promote their business to workers who might otherwise overlook them.

"Our tools give companies a chance not only to promote their jobs, but also their corporate culture and team environment," Rudisill says. "There's an increasing awareness that it's hard to recruit and retain a very me-focused and selfish generation. The studies show they are going to change jobs every two years. They're fickle and you have to sell them on the work place. For them, it's not about coming and getting a paycheck, they have to be sold on this being a good place to work that's enjoyable and has long-term opportunities."

And Gen Yers know their worth with baby boomers heading to retirement.

"They're very aware of their value when it comes to being tech savvy," Rudisill says.

On the flip side of the equation, Zumeo offers plenty of tools for employers looking to expand staffs or capture the best and brightest of the next generation.

CDS Publications President Steve Brown has revamped his firm's hiring process after being part of Zumeo's beta testing the past six months.

"If a business is reaching out to attract those young adults, it's a lot more effective and flexible than a boxy, where you might get 5,000 resumes, but nothing three-dimensional to it," Brown says. "We're a printing technology company, we're growing and we're cool. But it's hard to say 'Come work for a printing company.' "

Although CDS has its own Web page, it doesn't wow college kids.

"My site is staid and static, they'll be there for 30 seconds and gone," Brown says. "We've got to appeal to Gen Yers and this gives me a portal to go out to that group."

After working through the beta period, Brown has decided to do away with paper job applications.

"Everyone now applies through Zumeo," he says. "We'll put a couple of computers in the lobby and have people fill out applications there. We'll get paperless information and a much more three-dimensional view of who they are. We have 350 employees now and we'll be adding 150 to 200 for our peak season."

He's already seen a comparative difference while recruiting managers.

"Right now I'm recruiting two dozen people and have a stack of 50 resumes to thumb through and they're not screened the way I want."

Zumeo sees a clear path to capturing a modest segment of the $15 billion on-line job search industry. The founders have spent $50,000 in seed money thus far and hope to hook up with venture capital this fall. Zumeo will compete at the Bend Venture Conference where angel investors view a series of start-up presentations and then award funding.

"The panel votes on the business models, plan and ideas," Rudisill says. "We're ahead of the curve with a business plan, concept and a clear way to monetize the investment — and we have a working product."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail

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