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With the job market the way it is, people—especially young people—can use all the help they can get. There are over 40 million people in America who are in their 20s and this generation of workers is the most educated yet. So why can’t they settle into their careers?

Many agencies have popped up trying to answer this question, and I spoke to the CEO of one that stood out in particular. Brill Street helps match talented professionals with companies seeking them out.

I spoke to CEO Kevin Carlson about the inspiration behind the company and why the business idea is so brilliant.

In your words, what is Brill Street?

Brill Street helps Gen Y professionals find meaningful work in their chosen career field. On one hand, we work with Gen Y-friendly companies to meet their sourcing and recruiting needs. On the other hand, we are very problem-solution driven in that we work with companies to address their needs in respect to Gen Y employees.



What was the inspiration?

Gen Y, or those born between 1980 and 2000, wasn’t only the inspiration; they are also where the workforce is heading. Currently, Gen Y is the largest segment of the workforce. As we move into the future, Baby Boomers will continue to retire and because Gen X has a smaller population to begin with, they can’t fill that void. If you want to continue to grow your workforce, you are going to have to embrace Gen Y. It’s adapt or die.

Who is your primary audience?

Our philosophy is to hire based on attitude, willingness and capabilities. So our candidates are primarily new or recent graduates, and in particular, those who may be underemployed in some capacity.

We work with companies who fall into one of two categories: those who are already Gen Y-focused and are doing it well and those who are looking to improve their Gen Y culture.

How has business been doing since you started?

Brill Street was founded in 2006. I joined in October 2012, just over seven months ago, and it’s been full speed ahead. We’ve been gaining business and market recognition.

A great example is the Top 50 program, which we took to new heights this year. The day after it was released we had some big name companies knocking on our door, asking how they could be on the list for 2013.



What has your biggest failure been with Brill Street?

A previous initiative was to invest heavily in developing proprietary technology that did not pay back or deliver the value expected. This was prior to my joining, but it was a big hurdle for the company to cross.

What has your biggest success been?

The re-launch of the Top 50 Employer for Gen Y Emerging Talent program. The resulting marketplace interest and success was extremely positive.

What about your service is unique that your competitors can't offer?

There are a lot of “Gen Y specialists” out there. What makes us different is that we have gone to Gen Y and asked what they are looking for in the workplace. All of our information is statistically significant and valid data from Gen Y across the nation. 

Why the name?

It was a play on words. In British English, “brill” is short for “brilliant.” Brill Street is a place where smart things happen.

What advice would you give entrepreneurs just starting out?

Two things: In a start-up environment, alignment of interests and collaboration are critical to success. Everyone needs to recognize they are on the same team, in the same boat. As a leader, you can’t allow your team to grind themselves up.

A marketplace-driven strategy is essential to success. Are you chasing the rocks down the hill or pushing them up the hill?



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