An Interview with Charlie Johnson from BrighterBox


BrighterBox makes recruiting graduates super easy for busy startups, creative and tech companies – with a focus on the London market.

With a typical hiring requirement in the startup world being for someone who can “start yesterday”, BrighterBox use intuitive technology to sort through academics and experience, and a human touch to verify soft skills and motivations – meaning they can turn around a pre-screened shortlist of closely matched candidates at the drop of a hat (*drops hat*).

What does the business do?

We connect bright, ambitious graduate talent with companies who need support in their commercial, analytics, operations or design teams. There’s nowhere more diverse than London, so we’re working hard to help companies embrace that diversity rather than hiring through their friends and family.

What were your inspirations for setting it up?

When I was studying in London, I saw all my course mates and friends were gaining work experience or internships through family friends or contacts – and wanted to do something about bridging that gap. I tried to set up a business when I was a uni – Grab a Grad (terrible name!) – and got knocked back by the banks and law firms I spoke to about helping them with attracting graduate talent.

Times have changed; roughly 50% of UK graduates want to work for a startup or smaller business now that’s about a quarter of a million each year – significantly more than when I graduated – yet there was no online space that cherry-picked these types of jobs and shouted about all the incredible opportunities for emerging talent at growing businesses.

How does the business run?

Recruitment is a more complicated industry to fully disrupt (through tech) than meets the eye – especially at entry level, where there are so many emotional factors at play (and fires to put out) – so we played around with a business model that would shift perceptions of recruitment a little. Instead of a hefty upfront fee, our back-weighted approach means employers pay a small monthly fee on a pay-as-you-go basis, with the excess coming 6-months down the line. The employer gets help with cash flow and can essentially trial someone for 6 months without a heavy financial risk up front. Startups seem to love it.
Charlie is the founder of London’s leading graduate recruitment agency for startups, BrighterBox. When he’s not on the phone, you can find him on Linkedin here or see what life’s like on BrighterBox’s Instagram here.