Online job portal offers employers a twofer
WorkingCouples.com is simplifying the job search for two.
WorkingCouples.com, a micro-niche job search portal, has been connecting job-seeking couples, partners or friends with employers specifically hiring two-member teams since 2006.
Owned and operated by a Grand Rapids couple, the job search platform seeks to provide employment opportunities for couples by narrowing search results.
As an online employment search engine, WorkingCouples.com allows both potential employee candidates and employers to post information related to contact information, résumés and job listings to the website. Differing from other players in the industry such as Monster and Career Builder, WorkingCouples.com caters specifically to a couple or two-member team looking to work together, matching them with employers who understand the niche market.
Lee Ashworth, founder and president of WorkingCouples.com, said the idea developed from personal experience when he and his wife were looking for new positions after working as innkeepers in Northern Michigan.
“It was like a needle in a haystack. We were looking for two people as opposed to one,” said Ashworth. “We started the website back at the beginning of 2006, thinking maybe there would be other couples in the same boat, and as it turns out there were. I had all my little sources and secrets for how I would find these jobs and then I would just compile them into one place so other people wouldn’t have to through the same process.”
Upon developing the website with his wife, Robin, the online platform quickly drew interest from other people looking for two-person employment. While recognizing there was a need for the service, Ashworth said they didn’t know to what degree it was needed or how much interest it would garner from employers, as well.
“Our idea was to try to help other couples looking for work because that is where we were, but as it turns out, it is just as hard for employers looking to hire a couple. They had the same issue,” said Ashworth.
“It just grew and grew, and a few years into it … we stopped working elsewhere and started focusing on this enterprise solely. Each year it just seems to keep growing. We get more couples, of course, who are interested, and we encounter more employers.”
WorkingCouples.com has had approximately 40,000 user registrations and currently has more than 1,800 registered employers representing a variety of industries. Some of the specific job categories include domestic couple positions, maintenance, management, ranch-farm, live-in caregivers, innkeepers and property managers.
The employers are based in a number of geographic regions, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and Mexico.
“Over the years of doing this, we have developed relationships with employers who know and understand that it is such a fine, specific and narrow niche — that we have these thousands of couples that are seeking work specifically as a couple or a team, matched up with employers who are specifically looking to hire couples,” said Ashworth. “It is kind of a match made in heaven. It is niche-y on both sides.”
Initially a free service, the online platform currently incorporates a paid subscription for both employers and job seekers offering unrestricted access to additional features and information. For prospective employees, a paid subscription includes access to employer contact information, résumé posting and forum access for $5 a month, or $12 on a quarterly basis.
“When we started offering the paid subscriptions, we were viewing it as a screening process. If you are no longer looking for a job, you are going to cancel it because it is just money you are spending for no reason,” said Ashworth. “If you are a member of a free site, it can get really bloated with people who aren’t really actively seeking work.”
Although employers can register at no cost with WorkingCouples.com, a paid job posting guarantees increased visibility and exposure by remaining at the top of sections and lists. The premium or featured job posting is also included in an email list sent out to couples actively interested in finding employment — approximately 16,000 registered job-seeking members.
As WorkingCouples.com continues to grow, Ashworth said the company is in the process of redesigning the programming and infrastructure of the site to increase functionality. He hopes a re-launch will take place in the next couple of months.
With a vast majority of jobs not only enabling two individuals to work together, but also providing housing, Ashworth said WorkingCouples.com’s micro-niche is very specialized.
“There are a lot of other niche job site portals out there, but the focus of ours isn’t necessarily on a particular industry; it is all about a team or a couple,” said Ashworth. “We keep growing. … Anecdotally, hearing from couples and employers, it seems to be a great service and doing what it was intended to do. We are very happy with how things are going.”