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Helping to Build a Platform Connecting Candidates and Companies in a COVID-9 World – Silver Linings
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Plan C Is a Silver Lining in Cloud City

A few months ago we all had a pretty good Plan A, and those of us feeling extra clever had a good Plan B in our collective back pockets.

And then COVID-19 hit. Things are crazy right now for companies and all the good people that make up those companies. Nothing could have prepared us for the fall-out, and all of our Plan A’s and B’s are suddenly woefully inadequate.

Here at Madrona we’ve been working non-stop to support our portfolio company CEOs and HR leaders as they deal with the landfall of new challenges COVID-19 is causing. But it’s not enough, and I’ve been exploring what our greater role can be.

As an HR and TA leader in tech, I’m familiar with the typical open source google sheets typically passed around to communicate talent availabilities and vacancies. We are seeing the start of a mass global talent layoff, coupled with companies that are hiring like crazy. The current system for sharing this is not COVID 19-scalable.

A week ago I created a small task force, and we set out to build a platform to replace the google sheets (like this one https://bit.ly/3dOR6k6) that would be 100% free to the global tech community.

Our mission: To help those affected get back to work as soon as possible.

The team:

  • Madrona Venture Group (myself, Shannon Anderson and Matt Witt)—Seattle’s largest technology startup investor and the producers of the Founded and Funded podcast.
  • Chris Brownridge—who’s been providentially working on exactly the platform we need as a passion project. His Silver Lining platform is like the ultimate matchmaking app between employees and employers and was ready for scaling up to global proportions.
  • Jennie Ellis at Bandwidth (www.bandwidth.team)—Seattle’s most popular recruiting and workforce planning partner for startups. Jennie and Jill (see below) have expertize building and scaling massive teams and have worked through corporate layoffs as HR leaders.
  • Jill Domanico at Skytap—which provides businesses with the capability to run traditional workloads in the public cloud.

Our Plan:

Scale the Silver Lining platform as a not-for-profit, targeted solution that connects candidates and companies. 100% free to everyone. It’s designed so everyone can contribute and benefit. Whether that’s a company forced into layoffs, laid-off employees with great skills, or companies that are hiring and desperately need talent right now.

Why a New Platform Now?

Those of us on our task force are really busy right now. COVID-19 has created more work for us, not less. But we’ve all built careers by focusing on integrity, compassion, and teamwork. And we couldn’t just look away while our friends, neighbors, and casual connections risk losing everything.

We’ve experienced the powerful impact of positive collaboration. We’re curious and persistent learners. And we all believe that Silver Lining is not only a great solution to today’s challenges, but the right thing to do for the sake of our colleagues, entrepreneurs, and country.

How Does it Work?

Companies Who Are Hiring: Use Silver Lining for free. Create a profile and source/contact candidates. Create free unlimited postings and perhaps donate a few dollars to support the effort. (Any extra proceeds will be donated to the WHO Covid-19 Response Fund.) The updated talent dashboard allows for candidate searches by last employee, last job title, location, and job function.

Companies Who Are Laying Off: Use Silver Lining to confidentially submit names and emails of those affected by lay-offs. Once the names are submitted, each candidate will receive an email inviting them to opt in or out. Free of charge. We also have a sample email you can access to forward on to candidates so they know someone has submitted their name.

Companies in Both Scenarios: Use Silver Lining to source/contact candidates and submit names of those being laid off.

Candidates Seeking Work: Submit your profile and preference and then search for jobs. Share your resume, LinkedIn profile, experience level, ideal company size, and desired industry all for free.

Is It Working?

Yes. Candidates are already being approached for work they otherwise wouldn’t have heard of. Employers are discovering incredible talent with immediate availability and are actively interviewing.

We are initially focusing on the Seattle area, with expansions to all US based technology hubs and globally over the next week. Here’s where we’re at:

  • Nearly 2,000 active profiles from companies such as Sonder, Zipcar, Expedia, Bird, and Lyric, and these numbers are growing substantially by the day
  • Companies forced to lay off are submitting their employees to the platform and making a donation to support the service. (Remember, employees opt in before any information is shared on the site)
  • 140 companies have signed on to sourced and reach out to candidates
  • Over 500 live job posts from companies hiring

Are We Done?

No way! As we continue to develop Silver Lining, we are looking at other supportive initiatives for the community, in particular around career coaching, resume writing, and emotional support.

If you are interested in helping out, please contact chris(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)getsilverlining.com.

If you’ve been affected by a layoff (as an employee or a company), check Silver Lining out here. Silver Lining will remain 100% free to use for candidates and employers.