At just 26, Shireen Jaffer is busting the paradigm of old-school job recruiting
Story by Shanee Edwards | Photos Courtesy of EDVO
Playa Vista resident and entrepreneur Shireen Jaffer, 26, started her first company when she was just 18-years-old. Born in Pakistan, her family moved to the affluent suburb of Palo Alto, California, when she was a small child. “I had one other South Asian kid in my class whose name was also Shireen!” Says Jaffer with a laugh.
As immigrants new to America, the family struggled to make ends meet. Jaffer, her parents and brother all lived in a one-bedroom apartment. Her lifestyle was very different than that of most of her friends, considering that once, in middle school, she remembers walking into a friend’s house to see her friend’s father casually video chatting with Steve Jobs. That’s when a lightbulb went on.
“For me, it was very clear from a young age that my friends had summer camps they could go to, their parents had connections; they were going to be fine. My mom was working three jobs. I started working when I was 14, so I knew I’d have to find connections myself and work much harder to keep up.”
While attending USC, she founded Skillify, a company that worked with high schools to implement curriculum to help students with career readiness. More recently, however, Jaffer discovered that while those young people were better prepared for the workplace, they still face difficulty navigating the job market once they graduated college.
“They were coming back to me and saying, ‘Shireen, I have everything I’m supposed to have, a Linked-In, I network, I have calls into companies, but this job search process is still a nightmare!’” People told her that recruiters would ghost them, they often didn’t hear back from employers, or they would only get offers from companies whose values didn’t align with the applicants.
Seeing these challenges inspired her and her partners, husband Raaid Hossain, 29, and Daniel Fischer, 29, to create Edvo, a company that guides applicants through the hiring process and connects businesses with the best candidates.
“We essentially dug deeper into why this problem exists,” says Jaffer, “and realized, that for 100 years in this recruiting industry, everything has been about helping companies hire. But no one out there is helping the average candidate by understanding who they are, what kind of lifestyle they want to live, what type of skills and experiences they have and then matching them to opportunities that fit all of those things and helping them through the process. That’s what Edvo does.”
The founders of Edvo recently made the 2020 Forbes 30 under 30: Education list.
When Jaffer isn’t brainstorming new companies, she focuses on creating social events right here in Playa Vista to help create community, something she’s very passionate about. She can also be seen around town playing with her dog Lyla, an eight-year-old chihuahua-terrier mix.
For more info on Edvo, or to find your business’s perfect hire, visit Edvo.com. It’s free.