Cofounder Polina Montano explains Job Today’s short-term recruitment solution for the understaffed & unemployed
It’s midweek and an employee has suddenly quit. For an office that is now a secretary short, this is an inconvenience. For a bakery that has just lost a baker, it’s an emergency.
In the retail and hospitality industries, where the employee turnover rate is 70 percent, this scenario is surprisingly common, leaving business owners racing to fill positions before the next shift.
Short-term hiring presents a uniquely urgent challenge for blue-collar companies whose profits depend on operations. Until recently, their options were limited to a sign in the window or a series of frantic phone calls.
“How was it possible in a world where we can order a pizza online, book a taxi online or find a date online, that a businesses owner who needs staff cannot reach out to them immediately? Why is it so complicated?” asked Polina Montano, Cofounder and COO of Job Today.
“We needed to remove the friction from the process and enable people to connect quickly and easily.”
Having experienced these challenges firsthand while running a chain of Shell stations, Montano raised the issue to her friend and experienced venture capitalist Eugene Mizin, Job Today Cofounder and CEO, who was then working for Mangrove Capital Partners.
“At social occasions I would always take the opportunity to torture Eugene with some of my best business ideas of the week, and he would take a few minutes to give me five valid reasons for why they wouldn’t work,” Montano said.
The Job Today concept was a different story. With an untapped market of blue-collar hiring, they were both instantly convinced of the idea’s merit and it materialized quickly. Even after a year and a half of growth, its core principles remain unchanged.
“We needed to remove the friction from the process and enable people to connect quickly and easily. It’s all built around direct conversation between the business owners and the jobseekers,” she added.
“Our only competitors were the sign in the window, the stack of CVs on the desk or the ad in the newspaper.”
Having recently received $20 million in series B funding, in addition to $10 million from the first round, the startup has won over investors and users alike.
Currently present in the UK and Spain, Job Today is a mobile social hiring app that fills jobs within 24 hours, a bold claim that is backed by evidence. Over 1,000 new positions are posted each day by 150,000 companies, and around 2 million jobseekers use the platform.
This level of efficient, high-speed hiring stems from a simplified process that focuses on what really matters to business owners.
“We don’t believe a CV can really reflect a person. It’s also about personality and personal fit. I want a photo, recent experience, where the applicant is located, and after that I just want to engage in a conversation,” Montano said.
A business owner can post a job opening, skim vital applicant details, chat with jobseekers and schedule interviews, all in a matter of minutes while on the go. Applicants are drawn by the short response times and the vast supply of retail and hospitality positions that traditionally remain offline.
Even in the UK, a notoriously competitive market, business owners can expect to hear back from at least 20 candidates within 10 to 15 minutes of posting a vacancy.
“Once you believe in something, back it up with a plan and go for it.”
“Our only competitors were the sign in the window, the stack of CVs on the desk or the ad in the newspaper,” Montano said. “We’re just brining this hidden inventory online and making it visible to the right people.”
She attributes their rapid success to having found the perfect cofounder and solid team early on. Mizin’s vast experience working with successful tech companies, such as eBay, Skype and AOL, made him uniquely qualified to develop the product and lead Job Today down the right strategic path.
When the company was founded in 2014, both cofounders were already based in Luxembourg and came to lux future lab in search of an innovation hub where they would be surrounded by like-minded startups.
“It’s always reassuring to see other similar people, crazy entrepreneurs. Also, in many cases we work with team members who fly in from different countries so the location in Luxembourg City is easily accessible,” Montano noted.
The cofounders’ ambitions for the company have been global since day one. In five years from now Job Today intends to be the world’s most popular social hiring platform for blue-collar jobs.
For now, it will continue strengthening its presence in existing markets while expanding across Europe, with an eventual launch in the US projected for 2017. In the UK, where it is rapidly gaining traction, the company has introduced a paid version.
While remaining focused on growth, Job Today aims to build a true social community for jobseekers, as well as expand its filtering and matching capabilities.
When it comes to seeking investors, Montano would remind startups that it is a two-way street: “It’s not only about money. You want to make sure that investors share the same vision and that they bring the right knowledge, experience and network because as an entrepreneur you have to learn a lot in so little time.”
Her advice to others in search of their own success stories is simple: “It’s really important not to do things half way. Once you believe in something, back it up with a plan and go for it.”