FranklinMarch 6, 2013
Cranbrook student looks to help businesses, charities
By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer
FRANKLIN — Wake up, go to school, interview candidates for entry-level positions at major corporations, do homework, go to bed.
It’s all in a day’s work for 17-year-old Alec Chapman, of Franklin.
The Cranbrook High School junior may not have his diploma yet, but he’s already making a name for himself with businesses around metro Detroit. As founder of the nonprofit Headhunter for a Cause, Chapman is commissioned by busy companies to seek out exceptional candidates for positions they need filled.
The idea of promoting available jobs, sifting through stacks of résumés for entry-level positions, choosing the most qualified submissions and then pre-interviewing the most promising candidates might sound daunting to some, but for Chapman, the task is a labor of love.
“It takes up a lot of free time. This and school is basically how I spend my week, but I really enjoy doing it. I would consider this one of my hobbies,” he said.
Chapman started the venture in August 2012 after he heard some of his mentors in business discussing how hard it was to find quality people to fill basic positions within their company.
“Unemployment was so high, and at the same time, companies couldn’t find entry-level employees. It didn’t make any sense to me,” he said.
The problem, he found, was that employers didn’t have the time to devote to hiring new workers, since few companies have positions totally dedicated to hiring. Enter Chapman.
“The people that hire people have other jobs, and they have to take time away from their other duties to hire people. By coming to me, it gives them back that time,” he said.
The process starts when companies sign on with Chapman and present him with a job description. He posts the position on Michigan Talent Bank and other online job search websites and waits for the applications to start rolling in.
“I narrow them down, pre-interview them, decide on candidates that would be qualified and would be a good fit for the company, and I set up an interview date (with the employer),” he said.
It’s been just over six months and he’s placed 11 employees, with more positions expected to be filled soon. He’s also brought on two volunteers to help place even more workers.
Of course Chapman’s services aren’t free, and that’s where things get interesting. Once a position is filled, Headhunter for a Cause asks employers to donate 50 hours of pay to one of Chapman’s designated charities, including the American Red Cross, the National Military Family Association and DrugFree.org, among others.
“First, I like helping my community. That’s one thing that’s very important to me,” he said of why he created the nonprofit. “Second, companies trust me more than if they were going to just directly pay me.”
Chapman said he’s pleased with his nonprofit’s success thus far, but not as pleased as his proud dad, Jerry Chapman.
“At the end of the day, he constantly keeps surprising me,” said Jerry Chapman, explaining that he’s most impressed with his son’s foresight to keep Headhunter for a Cause moving forward.
“He doesn’t really talk about what he sort of does, but he constantly makes everything more and more efficient. Like, prior to thinking about having volunteers, he created a system so he could support having volunteers with training so he wouldn’t frustrate them,” he said. “Forget all the being proud and how interesting it is and how I have a 17-year-old kid interested in helping people — it’s pretty impressive.”
As Chapman prepares to wrap up high school, he said he’s not sure which college he’d like to attend; though he knows, wherever he enrolls, he’d like to study business. He’s also not sure how long he plans on continuing Headhunter for a Cause, but he hopes to keep going as long as he can. When you can combine helping people find jobs, serving the business industry and benefiting some worthy charities, that’s an equation Chapman said will always add up.
“I don’t know how long it will last. I can’t see that far into the future. I want to develop it, get more clients and so on. And one day, I may monetize it, but there will always be that charitable aspect,” he said.
To learn more about Headhunter for a Cause, visit www.headhunterforacause.com.