Big Startup on Campus

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On a sunny day in June, a week when newly minted college graduates are taking their first steps into real life, my QuadJobs co-founders Betsy O’Reilly and Andra Newman have just returned from the NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) conference in Chicago, where they’ve connected with higher education and Career Service professionals from around the country. We’re catching up at our office, steps away from Greenwich Avenue, eating lunch around the ping-pong table that’s served as a communal desk since we launched QuadJobs in October 2014. On the walls surrounding us hang brightly colored University pennants—in our early days, Betsy made a habit of hanging one each time a new college joined the QuadJobs platform. It was a great day when we realized we’d run out of wall space.

Talk to any college Career Services or Financial Aid administrator, and they’ll tell you how critical it is that their students find opportunities to work during school, how desperately both the income and experience is needed. Two-thirds of college students in this country receive financial aid, and a high percenbtage also graduate with student debt. They need to work during school, but 20 hours a week at Starbucks—and other traditional part-time jobs—can be tough to swing when a student has clinicals, exam periods, or soccer games. That’s why we started QuadJobs, an online and mobile platform connecting students to local jobs that fit into whatever free time they have.

teamphotoWell, that was one reason we started the business. The other was admittedly more self-serving: As busy parents, we wanted to tap into the army of college helpers living right in our community, but found this was surprisingly hard to do. Maybe you’ve had the same wish: You’re sending out 300 holiday cards, and would love to hire an NYU student to manage the task and save you a few hours. Or you’re having a party and there are errands to run, food to prep, drinks to serve—if only you could hire a Barnard kid for a few hours. As you pack the family car for the Hamptons, you think about how your kids would want a fun college student to swim, play, and ride bikes with—and you’d love to go out to dinner with friends. QuadJobs is the easy way to find the ideal college helper for any job, and at $35 per year for unlimited posts, it’s indisputably a deal.

And of course, it’s a great resource for businesses, too, in search of talented interns, graphic designers, social media experts, and extra hands to unpack boxes during a move.     

BRIDIE CLARK LOVERRO: QuadJobs is approaching its second anniversary. Betsy, what’s the most memorable job you’ve seen posted on the site?

BETSY O’REILLY: I liked the recent post from a Greenwich family looking for a QuadJobber to drive a beloved stuffed animal to Tribeca. Friends must have visited for the weekend and left the toy behind, and clearly it was very missed! They had 10-15 students apply for that job within hours.

BCL: Andra, what about you?

ANDRA NEWMAN: All the jobs that the three of us would have jumped at in college: Ski weekends, helping get kids in skis and on the mountain; mother’s helper jobs in Nantucket or the Hamptons or Spain; temp work at hot startups and well-established companies. But the best thing about QuadJobs is that no jobs are too small. You have a couch to move—post it and it’s done. We’ve had people use QuadJobbers to organize photos into albums, or teach their parents how to use their new iPhones.

BCL: We call Andra, who headed recruitment for J.Crew and ran her own executive search firm, our “ace in the hole.” How did your previous career prepare you to start QuadJobs? 

AN: Well, my background has been useful in terms of building a solid team of tech developers, marketing ambassadors, and staff.  And successful recruiting is all about matching two sets of needs. That’s how we approach working with colleges [who provide the platform to their students for an annual fee]. We listen to what Career Services need, what Financial Aid needs, what their particular challenges are—and then we work with that. Our partnerships are not one-size-fits-all.

BCL: Our whole team hero-worships Betsy, our CEO. Bets, you were a Managing Director at Deutsche Bank, with 18 years of experience in investment banking. What drew you to start QuadJobs? 

BO: I was involved in recruitment at Deutsche Bank, and we’d receive thousands of glittering, impressive resumes for just a handful of entry-level openings. Hiring a student out of college can be a guessing game—just because a student’s interned at high-profile companies doesn’t mean they’ll prove to be a strong full-time hire. So I saw the value in quantifying a student’s professional work ethic during college, and capturing that important piece of the puzzle. QuadJobs tracks every job a student takes and gathers performance reviews from employers, which are then visible as “instant references” to the next potential employer. These reviews and ratings are very meaningful. A student who shows up on time, is professional, courteous, hardworking… I want to see that student succeed. The cream rises to the top very quickly on QuadJobs and it’s exciting to watch that kind of meritocracy in action.

BCL: What’s next for QuadJobs?

BO: More partnerships with colleges around the country. Career Services and Financial Aid are using QuadJobs to manage all the on-demand jobs around campus that frankly, they don’t have time to think about. And our platform transforms these odd jobs into something real for students, a track record of job performance and experience that they can take into interviews.  It levels the playing field for athletes and busy students who wouldn’t otherwise have time to work during the academic year.

AN: And we’re all eagerly awaiting the launch of our app, which will allow employers to post and award jobs on the go.

BCL: Which colleges in NYC have students using the platform?

AN: Columbia, Barnard, FIT, Fordham, NYU, and the New School are our primary colleges in the city, but we’re always growing.