Not too long ago I became completely obsessed with chatbots. As everyone who knows me knows, I tend to follow and indulge my obsessions until I either:
- tire myself, to the point that I need a break from everything and everyone
- tire everyone around me, so that they start avoiding me
- a combination of the two, which works best for all of us in the short run.
My obsession with chatbots was not too dissimilar from all my other obsessions over the years and so I started learning (as I don’t have a lot of coding experience) to build and deploy a Messenger bot, which combined two of my passions: bots (which was new), and saving money (which I’ve had since I was a kid — not the coolest thing in the world, I know, but I had a shopping habit I needed to sustain). I even found a cool name for it — Benny — from Benjamin — from Benjamins — from 💵 💵— and if that’s not the coolest thing, I don’t know what is 🤓.
Fast-track to October 2017 when I decided that, after one year from my very first chatbot conference, it was time for me to create my first ‘serious’ chatbot — and here I am, doing just that. After chilling for a few months in my hometown with my parents (an amazing experience), I chose to move to Bali for its incredible weather, brilliant co-working spaces, affordable living costs, and buzzing creativity. I think it’s important to be surrounded by people who do very similar things because starting a business from scratch and without a team can feel quite lonely.
I always wanted to start my own business but getting the timing right is super important— in fact, I believe that getting the timing right is about 70% of your success. Chatbots are only just starting to be taken more seriously by businesses, and it’s only because the early examples of bots weren’t able to do much, but now the technology is *almost* there.
So, what am I building?
It took me a while to get here — to be able to articulate exactly what it is that building. I remember a conversation with my mother a few months ago when I told her that I’m temporarily leaving London to go to Bali and build a new thing with bots that will help improve the recruitment world, and even I felt that I was speaking Klingon(ian)? 😬 I’m bad with pop culture references.
Working for the last 5 years as a recruiter in-house and agency side, I realised that the process could be improved for both the candidate and the employer:
- The candidate perspective
- Candidates almost never have a good time (I would have gone with never but that seemed a bit extreme). Looking for a new job & interviewing is stressful AF, and it’s not helped by the fact that a lot of the times the communication with the recruiter is broken, the salary you’re being offered is lower even than what you’re currently on, you’re expected to jump through hoops to get a job, and so on — and this is only if you even make it to interview.
- Job search & discovery is another area that could use some help — there’s enough catfishing in the dating world (from what I’ve heard 🤭), and it certainly doesn’t help that similar practices are used in recruitment (CV farming by posting fake jobs, etc.).
2. The employer perspective
- I’m yet to meet an in-house recruiter who is not always busy, and that’s because there’s a lot of pressure to find the best possible candidates for their companies. Whether you’re busy looking through hundreds of CVs or sourcing/advertising/coming up with creative ways to attract qualified people, there are certain things that could be automated in the process so that you can focus on giving your candidates the best possible experience.
- The employer brand is hugely important as well, particularly when it’s not just some words on a landing page that mean nothing to the outside world, and that takes time to develop.
- Diverse teams build better products and diversity is still a very important topic. I will write more on this over the next few days because it’s something I care about deeply.
I’m building two chatbots, one for candidates, one for employers, that are able to communicate with each other in order to make the recruitment process better for everyone.
The space is already getting busy, which I think is a positive thing because it shows that there’s a need and the potential to do some super cool things.
So, over the next few months, I’m planning on learning as much as I can (Data Science is complicated as hell 😭), and also building, and trying, and testing, and reading, until I will hopefully (HOPEFULLY OMG 🙌) get to MVP. If you’re reading this and you think there’s something you can contribute, holla at me 😁.