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Sunday, September 27, 2020

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GrouperEye.com connects graduates with employers

Graduating seniors looking for employment in the rapidly shrinking job market can add GrouperEye.com as another tool for their search.

GrouperEye.com, officially launched Jan. 15, 2009, seeks to increase the contact between students and potential employers. The Web site provides a venue for students to create solutions for actual company problems and gain employment consideration in the process.

Companies can post a specific case on the Web site and students have 40 days to submit a solution. The companies then evaluate and rank the proposals. The winner will receive a $100 prize.

Although employers are not contractually obligated to offer employment to case winners, the process provides students with a chance to network and build a portfolio.

"It is a chance to show companies what you can really do," said David Graham, vice president of marketing for GrouperEye.com.

Graham said the idea behind the Web site came from his friend and fellow Washington & Lee University 2007 graduate, Ted Williams, the founder of GrouperEye.com. After graduation, Williams was talking to a group of 15 recently graduated friends at a party and discovered that only two of them had found meaningful work. The rest were just doing something to get by, Graham said, and the incident made Williams wonder what could be done to improve the system.

The belief statement of GrouperEye.com includes three principals: 1) The system for young people finding meaningful work is broken. 2) The solution is for organizations to meet, talk and collaborate with young people earlier, more often and in creative ways. 3) Young people are valuable.

Often students must either have a 4.0 GPA or a family connection to get a job, Graham said.

"There are a lot of really smart people who fall through the cracks," he said.

Everything on the site, including registration, is free for students. Companies pay $199 for each case they post or $599 for a three-month posting subscription.

At the moment, the Web site is geared toward business and business-related students, Graham said, but added that other areas, such as non-profits, can still use the Web site.

"[Other areas are] somewhere we'd like to move in the future," Graham said. "We're just trying to build momentum and provide a good product for now."

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The site provides cases from both small and large companies. So far, most of the companies have been in the Washington, D.C., area, Graham said, since most of the Web site marketing was done person-to-person. But the site employees are currently talking with a company on the West Coast, and said they were hoping to expand farther.

"We would love to get companies from all over the place," Graham said.

The site will soon have a case from The Washington Post, and currently has six cases open. One current case, posted by GroupTable Marketing, a software company that is designed for student groups, offers the $100 prize and consideration for the director of social media position.

GroupTable Marketing's case goal asks for students to create a way to grow awareness of the company within the college student market. Submissions for this case should be in a one- to two-page marketing plan and a 30-second testimonial video. The case closes May 8, 2009.

Another company, RentCollegeProperties.com, has a case that offers the $100 prize, a possible marketing internship position and a $50 gift card. The case asks students to create a way to increase the number of landlord memberships and free student rental accounts on its Web site.

Submissions for this case should be in the form of a one- to two-page executive summary, a one- to two-page financial analysis and any other brief supporting materials. The case closes May 15, 2009.

Graham said that GrouperEye.com was promoting cases in which students could think creatively.

As of yet, no student has been offered a job through the site, but six cases have been completed. On average, each case has received about five to 10 submissions, which Graham said was higher than they had originally expected.

Graham said that the company's focus was to get the word out among students and companies. The short-term goal for GrouperEye.com is to continue to provide companies with open positions, which he said should help to build up a solid student base.

"We really do believe in the concept," he said, describing his hope that GrouperEye.com would be a place where students would look to during their job search process.

Contact staff writer Jill Cavaliere at jill.cavaliere@richmond.edu

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