GradeHeads.com is about helping excellent students find excellent jobs, employers find excellent candidates and hopefully, changing a little bit of the world in the process.


      Rico Frianeza
President and Founder

The search for the right job candidate is, to some significant degree, a guessing game. The job market is loaded with stories of employers ending up with good resume writers or good interviewees. Odds are they end up with both, since a good resume is the gateway to an interview. Some of these candidates do become great and successful employees. Sadly, however, many good resume writers and good interviewees are just that, and employers have to carry the ramifications of these hires showing up as their "real working selves."

Resumes are self-reported and, thus, contain embellishments, omissions, half-truths, twist of truths, and sometimes, outright lies. The abundance of online resume writing tips and job interview coaching, although well-intentioned, contributes to this dilemma, at least to the embellishments and omissions part.

Another implication of the resume-based job market is that real excellent and high-potential candidates are immersed in the same pool as the average and mediocre candidates. Since they don’t have the “qualification insecurities” that the average candidates may have, high-potential candidates do not tend to embellish their resumes as much as the average candidates. Result: high-potential candidates and average candidates are in the same playing level in the eyes of the prospective employer.

This job board is based on the premise that employers are seeking job candidates that are qualified, professionally and culturally fit, and have potential for success. In short, they want candidates who can deliver on their promises as expressed in their resumes and interviews. Actually, this is not a new premise. Companies have always had this premise inherent in their hiring objectives. However, they have to rely on the job market’s only available first-base decision tool – the resume.

Why the school transcript?

GradeHeads.com does not aim to eliminate resumes as a hiring decision tool. Instead, we’re supplementing it with another decision tool, and a more objective one – the school grades transcript. Today, the transcript is a much underutilized decision tool. In fact, it is hardly even utilized for making hiring decisions. It is used mainly as “proof of attendance” and “background check” item after the hiring decision is made.

Gradeheads presents the transcript as a decision tool, that is, prospective employers get to actually review them and make hiring decisions off of them, side by side with the resume. But unlike the self-reported resume, the transcript objectively reveals measured competency areas. In terms of the decision process, a course subject with a grade bears as much weight, if not more, as a work history bullet point without a grade. Also, the “soft skills” that employers are trying to hone into during job interviews, such as communication, team playership, etc. may be tangibly indicated in the grades as well.

Additionally, the norm in today’s job screening process is to ask candidates to list a few references in their resumes or job applications. Of course, embellishments and half-truths are also the norm in the employer-reference communication since candidates have already pre-selected (and most likely, pre-communicated with) these references. With the school transcript, on the other hand, prospective employers have the luxury of having 30 to 40 professional references already included in it. These professors and teachers have already expressed their opinion about the candidate, all summed up in one number or letter. And these are not pre-selected opinions. These are real, objective opinions about how the candidate did in the competency tests, in the daily/weekly task assignments, and in most cases, communication, team participation and other work ethic-like traits, which are virtually the same traits that employers use when evaluating employee performance.

Why the exclusivity to candidates with 3.5 or above GPA?

As stated above, we’re about helping excellent students, and current job seekers who were excellent students, find the excellent jobs they deserve. Because of the way the job market organically evolved, we believe that that excellent students and former excellent students are now a “disadvantaged class” and we’re here to take affirmative action to get them elevated to more visibility.

People who strived to do great in their school endeavor are more likely to do the same in any endeavor. Now, detractors will refute this statement with anecdotes and even published stories of school dropouts and average-to-low-GPA folks who became more than successful in their fields, with some even becoming industry icons. Although these stories are true, statistically speaking, these are the anomalies, not the norm. The statistical correlation for great-performing workers are closer with the great-performing students.

It is not easy to get good grades. It takes hard work and perseverance. Even though some of this perseverance come in the form of cramming, people with excellent grades recognize and fully understand the importance of delivering results. Not just any results. But results that exceed expectations of those who are expecting. Excellent grades are a tangible reflection of character and work ethic that far exceeds whatever testimony employers get when they consult with the people references provided in the resume.

It is unfortunate that many career advice sites minimize the importance of school performance in the job market. They use the hype and romanticism of published stories of individuals who became icons of certain businesses and industries. These stories tell of visionaries who are far bigger than the educational institutions they once attended, and that these institutions cannot contain their greatness, using this as the rationale for poor school performance. If you’re an employer, you have to ask yourself this question and be honest with your answer: Would you hire a visionary or an excellent employee? Or to express this question more romantically: Would you hire Steve Jobs as your employee?

Well, let’s say you would rather hire a visionary than an excellent worker. It is still a statistical fact that there are more visionaries and industry leaders in the 3.5 and above GPA segment, than there are in the ones below. Still, the existence of visionaries and industry leaders in the lower GPA class is still an anomaly.

Now let’s take this conversation to something bigger – our education system. People and leaders of this great country have expressed anxiety over our educational system not producing the right candidates for available jobs, and paint a bleak picture of degrading standards and results relative to other countries. This is despite the per-capita expenditure we spend on education being among the highest in the world. We should ask ourselves how much value we really put in our education. Yes, we expressed this value in rhetoric and even tangibly, in actual budget allocation. Yet, the results we get is not reflective of this expressed value.

Here’s why I think this is. Our employment system is decoupled from our education system. We ask our students to study hard, put lots of money, even borrowed money, in their education. And then come employment time, we ignore education. Well, not completely ignore, as we do ask if they completed the degree requirements or not. But we do ignore actual school performance, and focus more on self-reported previous job performance. It’s quite like planting the seedlings for rice, cultivating them, nourishing them with advanced irrigation system, but come harvest time, we choose to buy wheat instead from another farmer. The perceived value and costs during the planting and cultivating do not translate to realized value at harvest time. The value is there but something is missing – a “value switch” – to allow this value to flow from planting thru harvest.

Our grander vision here in GradeHeads is to change the job market such that job seekers are competing for available job positions not only on the basis of their previous job performance, but also on the basis of their school performance. Significantly more on the basis of their school performance. If people who land better jobs are those who did better in school, imagine how that would impact students’ attitude toward school. The use of school performance as a criteria in the hiring decision is the “value switch” that I mentioned above. Now I’m not just talking about finishing and earning degrees. I’m talking about earning excellent grades regardless of degree level. Even at the vocational level, grades will be a factor. Think of the impact this will bring to our educational system, to our society.

Why are the job postings free?

The major players in the job board industry may charge upwards of $300 for a single job posting for one month depending on location. What do prospecting employers get for this? A clutter. They have to go through a pile of assorted resumes hoping to find the diamond in the rough. They may ultimately find the right candidate but not without resume de-cluttering. GradeHeads intend to correct the job board economy by charging employers at the point where value really change hands. The job postings are free but a $10 flat fee is charged when employers order the complete candidate profile. Employers may view partial profiles of candidates who’ve responded to job posts or via scouting, make their candidate pool-narrowing decisions and then order the complete profile of the best job candidates, which include the school transcripts, the resume, and any other documents of achievement. To begin with, the candidate pool is already narrowed as GradeHeads only accept membership from students and former students who possess 3.5 GPA or higher. Prospecting employers can even narrow this down when viewing partial candidate profiles, which contain job history and school history summaries, among other candidate info. And they only spend their hiring dollars on these narrowed-down pool of candidates, the cream of the crop.

To summarize, GradeHeads.com is about helping excellent students find excellent jobs, employers find excellent candidates and hopefully, changing a little bit of the world in the process.