A Manchester start-up is looking to transform how companies recruit new staff with its innovative talent-sharing platform.

Final Stage, founded by childhood friends Eddie Lewis and Will Morris, allows unsuccessful candidates to connect with other top companies and has already signed up a string of highly respected partners including Capgemini, Grant Thornton, Bloomberg, Balfour Beatty and tech firms Softcat, FDM Group and TickX.

Lewis told BusinessCloud that the market is moving away from the traditional agency model.

“A lot of companies want to be internal when it comes to recruitment these days. They're asking how to get things in-house,” he said. “Companies don’t want to be paying agencies these days. They want it all done on-site and under their brand.

“One of the problems with agency recruitment is that it's money-driven rather than people-driven. They ask internally ‘how much can you bill this month?’ rather than looking at finding candidates who are right for a particular role.”

Lewis and Morris also run Manchester-based graduate recruitment firm Ali-Quantum. Morris has revealed how watching great candidates walk away after they were turned down for roles which weren’t quite right for them was the inspiration for the new business, which recently went through PwC’s Scale programme.

Having bootstrapped the start-up while they got a team together and built out the technology, they are now looking at angel investment to move Final Stage to the next stage.

“We’re looking to raise £300,000-500,000. We're a bit too early for VCs so we're looking more at angels. We've had a lot of interest,” said Lewis.

“We're looking for investors who've got a bit of experience in the space and can add more value than the money itself.”

The company operates a strict invite-only policy for both companies and candidates to join the network. It operates a software-as-a-service model and charges companies a fee of around £1,000 a month to use its platform, depending on the features it requires.

So far it has focused on entry-level recruitment, but there are plans to allow companies to share both experienced hires and outgoing contractors.

Lewis also hopes to see it develop into an exclusive business networking tool in future.

“We call ourselves a community. If you contribute to the community, you'll get more out of it,” he said. “We're very much looking to open it up as a business networking site rather than just a recruiting site.

“Some of the candidates have already asked to connect with the people who've they've been in their assessment process with. We're looking to take the recruitment process of organisations and put it online.

“We want it to be a destination for top people to be in this network.”

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