Interview with Richard Hanson, co-founder of Jobable.com
Before I started working on Jobable with my co-founder Luke Byrne, I spent 10 years recruiting for investment banks. I saw that my team would spend a significant amount of time manually screening through hundreds of CVs for certain types of position. It was so inefficient that I really wanted to find a way to tell which candidates in any given talent pool were the most relevant applicants, so that time and attention could immediately be focused on them.
Why is Jobable needed ? What makes you different from other HR / recruitment platforms?
The recruitment process can be frustrating on both sides. Job seekers are often faced with information overload on platforms that do very little to guide their job search. For employers, the problem is often application overload. Jobable really works to enhance both sides of the marketplace by helping job seekers search and select the most relevant jobs for them, whilst enabling employers to source and screen all of their applicants and quickly identify the most relevant candidates.
Tell us about the experience building the platform (how long did it take, did you outsource/build in-house and any learnings to share)
At the beginning of 2014, when Luke and I first started working on the idea for Jobable, we decided to outsource the development of the product. This was a big mistake and we learnt a lot from the experience. For the past 18 months, all of our product including our scoring algorithm has been developed in-house.
What are some of the biggest challenges you encountered so far?
There are challenges every single day. Executing efficiently matters so much as a start-up and we have to make sure we have the right product roadmap and deliver on it. We have a great team, which makes any challenge easier to overcome, but so many decisions have to get made that often you wish that you were blessed with hindsight because you might have done something in a different way if only you had foreseen the next problem! Life isn’t like that though so it’s really important to stick together as a team, keep communicating and talking problems through in order to find solutions.
What is your most memorable story from running Jobable ?
I have so many that i’m probably going to save them for a book! If I was going to pick out a single moment, it’s probably a party that I had at my apartment to celebrate launching Jobable.com as a jobs board. The whole team along with wives and girlfriends were there and we spent about 2 minutes talking about what a great achievement it was to launch the board and spent the rest of the time playing PS4, doing a cheese tasting and trying to build a house of cards. Maybe that’s not the most insightful story, but when you are going in to battle every day with a group of people who are helping you achieve great things, it’s really good to be able to sit back, relax a little and enjoy each others company away from writing code, running product sessions and building databases.
You started out as Hiring Screen and became Jobable. Can you tell us the story about the change of name ?
We spent 18 months in stealth development working to create our scoring algorithm. During that time, we used the name Hiring Screen. When it came to launching the jobs board, we realised that the name Hiring Screen didn’t really reflect what the product had become. One simple other reason was that people were struggling to actually say the name Hiring Screen. Jobable is short, easy to remember and reflects what our mission is all about - Jobs.
Did you raise funds to launch Jobable or was it self-funded?
Luke and I financed Jobable ourselves for a year. After we had our MVP (minimum viable product), we raised a seed round of USD800k from angel investors based in Europe and Asia.
What do you think of Hong Kong’s Startup Scene?
It’s certainly gaining momentum. With so many accelerators, co-working spaces and funding schemes set up in the past few years, there’s a real buzz around startups in Hong Kong right now. The investment landscape seems to be slowly changing too. Companies are getting access to capital far more efficiently than perhaps might have been possible in the past which can only be a good thing. There is a lot more that can be done but we are moving in the right direction.
What’s next for Jobable?
Our aim is to push into the emerging markets like the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand where we can take advantage of the massive growth in smartphone usage and the growing middle class.
What are 3 things you want consumers to remember about your company?
We are user focused, data focused and all about helping people find work that maximises their individual potential.
by Ludivine Lombard Taverne