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Guide wants to make being a job candidate less terrible

Guide, a startup building HR software for job candidates, announced this morning that it has raised an $8 million seed round. First Round and Spero Ventures led the event, which also saw participation from a number of smaller investors.

Guide fits into a larger theme that TechCrunch is tracking regarding the HR world and how startups are busy writing software to shake it up. Last November, Chinese HR tech startup Moka raised $100 million. More recently, Sense raised $50 million, while Darwinbox raised $72 million. And that’s just a sampling; we’ve spilled a lot more ink than that on the matter in the last few quarters.

But while HR tech is often focused on the company — Forma raised this week after building a “discretionary benefits management platform” for human resources teams, for example — Guide is more focused on individuals outside.

There’s no need to get deep into how being a job candidate can be a confusing process. Companies hold all the information, and small internal mixups at a company can make the candidate experience a hot mess. And it’s stressful as hell. We all know this. The question ahead is whether Guide has built something that is materially better for candidates — and whether it will work as a scaled business.

How does Guide work?

TechCrunch spoke with Guide co-founder and CEO Troy Sultan about his company’s product. Guide creates an online hub for job candidates where companies can post videos, documents and links about their team and the role in question. Guide provides a way for companies to better communicate with candidates, essentially, while giving the job-seeker a place where they can see how their interview process is progressing; the startup’s software has a tracker at the top of the candidate view showing what interviews are next, with whom, and about what, meaning that those outside the company have more information about the interview process than is typical.

There’s some neat tech involved. Guide links up with applicant tracking systems, or ATSs, like Greenhouse. Recruiters can “map” different stages of candidate interviews to Guide so that they can work in their ATS and keep candidates current in Guide. The startup’s product also tracks use, giving recruiting staff insight into candidate engagement and other metrics.

The result of the work, Sultan said, is an improved win rate for hiring desired candidates. Given how competitive the market is today for talent, companies may be willing to pay for an edge. How much? Guide starts at around $10,000 per year, which might sound like a lot if you haven’t hired external recruiters to fill roles before. Companies spend a lot of recruiting, so Guide’s price point might not cause potential customers to balk.

Today Guide has roughly a dozen staff and is looking to scale to around 30 by the end of the year. It certainly has the capital now to do so. Let’s see how far Guide can boost its own scale this year.