SEATTLE - It's a job fair with a twist.
Wednesday Seattle became the first city outside the Bay Area to try out a new concept in matching job seekers with startup companies.
Drinks were flowing and people were mingling.
Was it happy hour at the Copper Cart Cafe and Lounge in Belltown?
Nope. It was a job fair, and not just any job fair.
The party host is a company called Jobnob, whose job it is to play matchmaker, bringing together skilled workers with startups who need the help.
"The startups are really trying to pitch the job seekers and get them onboard and the job seekers are pitching their skills," said Jobnob co-founder Julie Greenberg.
Thirty-year-old Chris Ingrao was there looking to get a leg up at a startup. He lost his job with Microsoft about a month ago, and he was among the hundreds hearing the minute-long pitch from companies before a more formal meet-and-greet.
"I'm not full-time employed at the moment so I thought I might as well keep the skills from getting stagnant and look for career growth," said Ingrao.
This is the first event of its kind in Western Washington where it's all about creating a relaxed atmosphere. Jobnob has hosted similar parties in the Bay Area and word is getting around. Universities, including the University of Washington, are getting on board now to promote the events to their alumni.
Chris Ingrao hopes he'll soon be able to toast his own success by landing a job. That would be one happy hour, indeed.
"I don't see this as an opportunity where something has to happen right now with this, but gaining the connections and being able to evaluate that down the road is pretty much a great start," he said.
250 people attended the Jobnob event Wednesday afternoon, along with 40 companies. It is free to job seekers and employers pay $20 to participate.