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Jon Silber, CEO Purple Squirrel

No More 'Black Holes' Purple Squirrel is a Platform for Connecting With Employees Who Can Refer Job Candidates Into Their Company Directly.

Jon Silber, Co-founder and CEO, Purple Squirrel TotalPicture interviewJon Silber

"Job boards are made for companies. Purple Squirrel is made for people." Jon Silber, CEO of Purple Squirrel, ex Googler.

Here's Jon Silber's LinkedIn introduction:

The job search is broken. So we fixed it.

If you're currently looking for a job, or if you want to help your company recruit great people, join our growing platform

Also, if you have ideas for improving the overall efficiency of the hiring process, I would love to hear your thoughts. No idea is too small. My email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

On Jon's LinkedIn profile, you'll also find a link to an article he wrote titled Why I Left Google to Help People Land their Dream Job. Here's the opening paragraph:

"If you've ever tried to get a job at Google, then you know that it's tough. It's no surprise since around 3 million people apply to join the company each year, and I found it out firsthand when I tried to get a job there. Initially, I tried applying on a job board but was met with only automated emails. I felt I was qualified for the job, so I wised up, reached out to everyone I knew, and finally found a friend of a friend to provide an employee referral. I had a job three weeks later. The fundamental lesson wasn't lost on me: it's all about who you know, so if you don't have a great network, you'll miss out on many potential opportunities."

Joining me today for a Career Strategy podcast on TotalPicture is the CEO of Purple Squirrel, Jon Silber.

Amen. In the 12 years I've been doing this podcast, I've heard the same thing, over and over from experts like Gerry Crispin of CareerXroads, whose annual Source of Hire Surveys always showed referrals high up in the rankings. Gerry's advice, "Never, ever, apply for a job again without having a referral. Someone in the company that can hand your resume to a hiring manager." If you've been working for five or ten years and have cultivated your network that may be doable, but what if you're right out of college, or in your first job? That's where Purple Squirrel can help turbocharge your job search by connecting you with an employee within one of your targeted companies willing to hear your pitch.

And that's exactly what it is. A pitch. You better be well prepared with a compelling story to sell yourself, and your qualifications.


  • Joining me today for a Career Strategy podcast on TotalPicture is the CEO of Purple Squirrel, Jon Silber.
  • Jon, welcome to show. I've read the opening paragraph from your article, Why I Left Google to Help People Land their Dream Job. I'd like you to expand upon that. Let's start with you telling us about your background -- where were you before you joined Google?
  • What were you working on at Google, and why did you leave what you referred to as your 'dream job'?
  • So tell us about Purple Squirrel. What was your pitch to investors?
  • How do you find and attract employees (whom you refer to as advocates), to participate in Purple Squirrel?
  • Of course a lot of the motivation for many of the employees is their companies have referral programs which often pay generous bonuses and other perks, am I right?
  • What do employers think about this? And how is it managed? Can anybody within a company act as an advocate on your network?
  • What is the process for a company to sign-up with Purple Squirrel?
  • Is there a cost involved for companies to join and participate?
  • Do you function as a job board? Do you have open reqs posted on your site?
  • Are you working with any of the job boards or other companies in the TA technology space?
  • You write, "Our goal at the company is to democratize the job search." As you know, Jon, there's a big push for diversity with Fortune 500 companies. Are you able to address this, along with issues relating to bias?
  • So now from a candidate's perspective. You actually charge the job seeker to set-up a referral interview. How much does it cost and how does it work?
  • Why charge the job seeker?
  • What advice do you have for candidates? As I stated in my intro, they need to be well prepared. How should they prep for their 30 minute referral session with the advocate?
  • What happens at the end of the referral session?
  • I'm assuming these are phone interviews - video is not involved, is that correct?
  • What if someone is interested in working for a company not currently in your network? Is there any way for them to try and make that connection?
  • That said, You have some awesome companies participating with Purple Squirrel - like Facebook, Tesla, Deloitte, Blackrock, Amazon... are most of the jobs and employees tech related?
  • It seems that most of the companies and opportunities are based on the West Coast, where you're located. How do you plan on scaling up and expanding your footprint?
Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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