My Remote IT Recruitment Platform Reached $15K/Month In Just 3 Months

Pavel Podkorytov
Founder, Talent Service
$15K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
6
Employees
Talent Service
from San Francisco
started January 2022
$15,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
6
Employees
3.06M
alexa rank
973
followers
5
followers
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My Remote IT Recruitment Platform Reached $15K/Month In Just 3 Months

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi everyone! My name is Pavel Podkorytov, and I am the founder of TalentService - a revolutionary developer-focused platform for employer assessment and remote recruitment. It is a platform that uses an innovative approach of reversed recruitment of IT talents: it's not the talents who have to prove to the companies their competencies and ability to fit in the company, but the recruiters who now need to prove to the talents that their culture and working environment of their company are suitable for the IT talent that they are recruiting.

In 3 months after the startup launch in January 2022, almost 3500 IT talents have started using the platform, 400 companies have answered the questionnaire via IT talents' links, and 282 vacancies were published on the platform.

The geography of talents comprises CIS, Eastern Europe, and India. Three of the top markets where job openings come from are the US, Germany, and the UK.

talent-service

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I have more than 11 years in IT talent acquisition. I launched my first IT company in 2011. At the time, I felt that there was a huge demand for mobile development, but also a sizable shortage of mobile developers. We organized courses at universities to retrain students from traditional areas to mobile development. Since that time I have been involved in the organization of educational programs in several universities including Stanford, Münster, and Wien, and over 7000 students have participated in those programs.

As part of these programs, we were also helping the students with employment. Based on the extensive communication with companies and IT talents I concluded that the main problem in recruitment is that IT specialists after getting hired are often not feeling happy, they don't stay at the same company for a long time, they change their workplaces very frequently which is both not-efficient and expensive, and neither employers nor talents benefit from it. This is still happening because the companies keep searching for the talents to "fit them in" We, we on the contrary suggest searching for the companies that could be a perfect match for the talents.

In September 2021, I joined Future Talents - a collaboration project between the University of Münster, Stanford University, and Vienna University of Technology under the mentorship of SAP created to conduct analytical research on the global IT talent shortage and prepare a product for advanced hiring.

The "Aha" moment occurred to me in November 2021 when I was talking to a Java developer in SAP and asked him about the most annoying thing for him in the recruitment process. He said: "Let me show you the messages I receive on LinkedIn". I was shocked to see hundreds of messages (sometimes not even personalized) from recruiters offering him interviews and test assignments. This IT specialist had no idea how to find his way through this mess. It was that moment when I realized that a middle-level IT specialist receives on average 10-15 messages from recruiters per week.

In December 2021, we made a trial questionnaire in a Google form and asked 30 IT talents to send it to the recruiters. We needed to test if the employers respond positively to this new kind of testing system. Surprisingly, 80% of recruiters answered that this was a positive experience for them and because the demand for IT personnel was too high, they would prefer to know the needs and the demands of the IT specialist before the hiring process is completed.

Put your idea into practice as soon as you can, don't wait, and don't think too long otherwise, you can miss the opportunity.

As for the talents, the platform allows them to evaluate and compare the offers from different companies on one dashboard arranged according to the talent's preferences, and like it.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

In the first stage, we gathered data and opinions from potential customers - IT talents and companies - to deeper understand the needs and requirements of both sides and build the image of our future client. We asked the talents about the questions they usually get during interviews, and the amount of time they spend on interviews. If it was 2 hours, we wanted to bring it down to 2 min.

We asked the companies about the process of recruitment, the platforms that they use to find talents, and the cost of using such platforms. Our goal was to provide the best solution: reduce the time for IT talents and minimize the cost for recruiters, and of course, make the overall process easier for both sides.

We made the prototype from a Google form, and when it proved itself well, we started building the software.

Based on a research of matching models built by experts from the three universities, we have developed a special methodology that allows us to assess the company and the talent based on 4 features:

  • team,
  • processes in the company,
  • tasks that are given the talent, and
  • motivation.

Technical skills are the least important here, and they will be checked at the very end of the hiring process.

After registration on our platform, every talent gets a personal link and can send it to all the recruiters that are bombarding him or her with job offers. Since the process of recruitment is "reversed", we interview the companies according to the desires of the talents and then display their responses on the talent's dashboard organized according to the level of matching.

We give recommendations to the talent, then we see if the talent chose that company or not, and then we track how long he stays there. Within several months we check with the company and the talent about their experience and if the expectations of both sides built from the first match have been fulfilled during the time of them working together.

The matching model gets confirmation, and the algorithm is classified as successful in the machine learning system.

The two competitive advantages of our platform are:

The system generates new offers. The company creates an offer for a particular employee and then after some time, if not taken, it shows the same offer to a different employee who has similar job requirements. This is new on the market.

Trust-hiring. You as a talent don't waste time on interviews with companies that have different values and cultures that you would like to have. Instead, after the careful filtration done by our platform, you will come to an interview being sure that you are at the right place.

talent-service

Describe the process of launching the business.

It was our goal to create a product that reflected reality – it is talents who choose employers today. We wanted to provide them with an assessment tool that would guarantee maximum matching. Within the first weeks, we welcomed our first IT talents to the platform. In nine weeks after the platform was launched, we had 1000 talents on our database.

In September 2021, we launched a joint project with Stanford University known as Future Talents. Together with the students involved, it seeks a solution to the shortage of future talent. Students presented the idea of reverse trust recruitment, which would involve AI-based assessment of employers instead of talents to better match them.

After quickly putting together a no-code MVP on a Google Form without involving developers, we began to strongly believe in it. Job seekers sent this assessment test to companies that bombarded them with job offers. A dozen in-demand talents were found by our team, and they began submitting them to recruiters. It seemed like a reasonable idea to them.

Recruiters started filling out this form, which we didn't have confidence in at first, and big threads appeared on Twitter and Facebook saying "wow, what a cool idea, the applicant sent me for testing, this is something completely different" and a wave arose that gave us confidence in our idea.

Our marketing mistake was to rely on our opinion rather than testing. We took our initial decisions based on “I think so”, then did an A/B test and got completely different results.

After that, we invested in developers who started developing our platform. Within the first two months, we established a company assessment center. In April, we launched the job catalog. By the end of month six, we will create a job seekers directory. In months 7 and 8, we will create a recommendation system for employers and talents. We have very positive statistics - each active talent brings about 30 employers to our platform.

As for the website, the domain name One Click Hiring was selected, bought, and nearly started development, but we realized there was already oneclickhiring.com. Therefore, we changed the name. As PR activities were already underway, all press releases had to be changed immediately. In addition to talentservice.io, we also bought talentservice.ai and added the platform to it. Users were directed to the product's homepage from talentservice.io. Next, we bought talentservice.com and migrated there.

We financed TalentService entirely out of our funds. The biggest lesson I learned from the process of launching is that it’s always better to test the idea out before you put your money into it and move forward.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

In our business, we have two core audiences: companies and talents. Each target audience needs a defined marketing strategy. The first step we consider when building a marketing strategy is customer development. Custdev interviews are one of the most powerful tools in marketing! Before even launching an idea we interviewed 50+ developers and companies to deeply understand their needs and deliver the best product for their needs.

As for the advertising, we use an omnichannel approach to attract talents from all around the world: we combine Facebook Ads, Google Ads, TikTok Ads, and social media marketing to get leads, then walk them to the landing page which is full of relevant content and retain them through a set of useful emails.

Talent Service is a very flexible company, we constantly try different hypotheses and are not afraid of controversial ideas (for example, welcome immigrant developers at the airports holding banners with TalentService QR codes).

talent-service

talent-service

As for the numbers, 2022 is a good year for our business: since January we enriched our talents database with over 10,000 talents with an average CPL of $1,8. In the near future, we plan to increase the advertising budget to $50,000 per month and get 50,000 talents in our database.

Talents who have already signed up receive reminders about new entries/interest from the company. By constantly bringing talent to the product, we guarantee a loyal base of users. Also, we plan to send a mailing list out in the near future with a selection of relevant vacancies for specific developers.

Additionally, we are developing a community of our talents on social networks and messengers. Currently, we are developing a community on Telegram, and we will then extend it to Facebook - create a chat with the latest technology news, memes, discussions, and, of course, current job openings.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Although TalentService.com as a platform is not yet monetized, its recruiting component (where we act similarly to a recruiting agency) is profitable.

Our CPL equals $1,8. The subscriber cost is $7,4 for talents and free for companies. The monthly traffic on our website Talentservice.com is around 9,500 visits, with an average time of 3,5 min.

Our goal is to reach 50,000 IT talents by the end of summer 2022. In 10 years from now, we are planning to become the new reversed LinkedIn and make an IPO. We started from developers, now - project managers, and designers, and we are planning to expand to other fields.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The biggest mistake that I made was not to launch the service sooner. Our project's success was enhanced by the trend toward a shortage of IT specialists, and most importantly, this trend is not going to slow down and will only strengthen in the near future. Another force outside of our control that may have contributed to the positive results is the current state of instability in Europe, which has resulted in several high-caliber talents searching for new opportunities.

Our marketing mistake was to rely on our opinion rather than testing. We took our initial decisions based on “I think so”, then did an A/B test and got completely different results.

It was difficult to predict how to set up advertising messages so that they wouldn't be blocked. Managing ad cabinets was not intuitive, despite appearing easy at the beginning.

The best decision we made was to collaborate with the universities – the University of Münster, Stanford University, and Vienna University of Technology. Every morning, project participants submit mini-reports, which we assemble into a general report. The dynamics of all indicators are used to monitor how each area (marketing, product, customer development) is developing. We benefit a lot from this habit when it comes to our work.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We use Jira, Miro and Slack platforms to manage the team. Every week we hold a demo, where everybody gets to know about our progress.

As for marketing we use Webflow to build websites, Pitch to create beautiful presentations, Mailchimp and SendPulse for email marketing.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

As for the books, the ones we’ve read a lot and use every day as a team are Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers ​​by Alexander Osterwalder and Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel. As for other resources, I enjoy reading The Information.

The first book allows you to tackle your idea from a structural and critical perspective. You get a clear picture of what you do, for whom, how, and where you will spend the money. Using it, you can formulate your idea, to add texture to your dream. It is a guide to achieving your dreams.

A second book emphasizes the importance of wanting more in terms of the size of your ambitions and the quality of your ideas. Reminding you that the world doesn't need another wheel, but something revolutionary that will reshape the industry. The book plays with your ambitions.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Put your idea into practice as soon as you can, don't wait, and don't think too long otherwise you can miss the opportunity. I have seen many people lose out on a quick start to their dreams.

The best tip I can give is not to waste too many resources at once. We didn't hire developers for the first few months, we tapped our team. Use the available tools to build a prototype so that you can quickly test the product and fix any bugs as soon as they appear.

Another mistake rookie startups make is limiting themselves to feedback from only their closest friends and relatives. You know, there is a book called The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick. Having such a narrow circle of people will limit your ability to understand your product more completely, so I think you should expand it.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are currently looking for an Account Manager/Business Delivery Manager. It is a paid full-time position, and responsibilities include:

  • Meeting with clients and explaining our services, quotations for resources, and the amount of time it will take to find candidates during the first meeting.
  • Gathering information about the client's company, projects, rates, and soft skills needed.
  • Coordination of the contract, NDA, and recruitment timeline with the client.
  • Communication of the requirements to the HR and Tech Lead.
  • Overseeing the flow of supplies and ensuring a healthy, timely, and profitable relationship with the customer.

The resumes can be sent to [email protected].

Where can we go to learn more?

My personal accounts:

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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Pavel Podkorytov, Founder of Talent Service
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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