Throughout the evolution of business practices, there has been a noticeable shift in what attributes a recruiter looks for in a candidate. Instead of solely focusing on tangible skills and traits, personality had begun to play a huge role in the recruiting process.
Sparrows, a start-up in Palo Alto, California, has recognized and fully embodied this shift. The company’s mission is to “humanize your professional life” through a profile that includes more than just a person’s skill set or work experience. Users can highlight their music tastes, favorite movies and shows, an interesting factoid, the countries they have visited, and many other traits that are normally left out of a professional profile. The purpose of this profile is for recruiters to be able to see a holistic and complete view of an individual.
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Bailey Maybray, who is the current Growth Marketing Intern for Sparrows. Maybray is a junior Marketing and Management student at New York University, and offered much insight on the company.
Q: What is Sparrows and what is its mission?
Maybray: Sparrows is a venture capital-backed firm based in Palo Alto, California, although we have employees from all over the world. We want to humanize people’s professional lives by including not only what they’ve done, but what makes them them. Often times, we forget the person behind the resume and Sparrows wants to change that. Our profiles provide a 360-degree view of who you are, including your music tastes, personal aspirations, and even the kind of video games you play. After all, we are so much more than the work we do.
Q: Who is founder of the company?
Maybray: Pankaj Shah is our CEO & Founder. He’s also the CEO of Finches, a global collective of thought leaders in early-stage technology. He’s incredibly passionate about Sparrows’ mission and I feel his ambition even through Zoom meetings. He collaborates with everyone within the start-up and encourages employees at all levels, including interns, to take initiative and start their own projects.
Q: What are the main benefits to using Sparrows (as opposed to other professional profile sites)?
Maybray: Sparrows not only shows recruiters who you are outside of work but also places emphasis on it. As an example, most of us ended up with a lot of free time at home when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Did you learn how to bake? Did you pick up and learn how to play the saxophone? Unlike other sites, anything you’re passionate about can be and should be included in your Sparrows profile. Moreover, if you’re applying for a job using a Sparrows profile and the recruiter sees you also learned how to bake during quarantine, then there’s automatically a match that would’ve been left out of a resume. All people, regardless of what work they do, are looking for connections. The old adage of finding recruiters who went to your school or finding executives with one LinkedIn connection you barely know only creates surface-level relationships. As working professionals, we should dig deeper and a Sparrows profile lets job seekers and recruiters immediately develop more meaningful connections.
Q: What appeal does Sparrows have to potential employers?
Maybray: Potential employers are primarily looking for hard and soft skills. A resume and really any professional profile showcases your technical abilities and what you literally can do. Soft skills are much more qualitative and job seekers often prioritize hard skills over them because there’s this stereotype that your personality comes second to what you can do. That isn’t the case anymore. Increasingly, employers want to see who you are in conjunction with what you do. Sure, if you can code a website in three hours, that’s great, but if your boss can’t hold a meaningful conversation with you, then it doesn’t really matter what you can do. A Sparrows profile wants to bridge this disconnect and let personality shine through on a job application. Employers want to see this information, it helps candidates shine, and it makes hunting for a job more meaningful. Everybody wins with a Sparrows profile!
Q: Where do you see the future of Sparrows heading?
Maybray: I strongly believe Sparrows represents the future of networking and applying to jobs. I think we tend to get caught up in this idea that employers really don’t care about what you do outside of work but that’s the only place where a genuine connection can be made. Very few people consider their job as the core of who they are as a person. When I made my Sparrows profile, it felt relaxing to include the kind of artists I’m listen to because music is a big part of my life. But that would’ve never made it onto my resume because, I assumed, recruiters didn’t care. Sparrows acknowledges that yes, employers DO care about your personality and your application should include these parts of your life.
Q: Why should students create a Sparrows profile?
Maybray: In today’s saturated job market, we need to stand out from the crowd as much as possible. Nowadays, a resume alone just won’t cut it. Even a cover letter fails to capture the essence of who you are. A Sparrows profile is the only way to let your personality shine through in conjunction with your past experience. Not only that, but it gives recruiters an opportunity to find meaningful connections. If you both listen to Beyoncé, which a Sparrows profile will show, the recruiter already likes you. If you both play Animal Crossing, you can strike up a really fun conversation with an employer. The opportunities are truly endless and signing up takes only a few minutes.
Q: Are there any special opportunities Sparrows is offering?
Maybray: We currently are offering a $1,000 scholarship contest. Anyone who signs up, makes a Sparrows profile, and completes a few additional steps by December 31st is elligible to be entered! You can find more information here: https://www.sparrows.co/scholarship.
To find out more information about Sparrows or to create a profile, please visit: https://www.sparrows.co/about.