First Post Why I'm building Employbl Published May 1st, 2021

Getting a job can be terrifying for lots of people myself included. There ought to be better free tools available to candidates to help them find work, especially in tech.

Why I'm building Employbl image
Damn fine TV show.

I remember stitting in the Sudo Room in Oakland in about 2013 or so on the floor by myself in a big open room downtown. I had my computer and I thought I needed to learn D3.js. Then I'd get a job and that's what I needed to know to be valuable. To learn D3 I had to know Javascript well. I knew some Javascript but the prospect of really getting into the weeds of the D3 data visualization library to build New York Times level graphics was daunting. Indeed the creator of the D3 data visualization library worked at the New York Times. There didn't seem to be other companies using it, despite it being so cool. I was learning to code, but what did I know? What were all those other coders out there doing?

Employbl is an experiment to catalogue the software and technology industry to the benefit of job seekers. It's a project I'm working on with my co-founder Dipo and started out of my experience learning to code in America, technical recruiting for engineers, devops, digital marketing and design and our combined industry experience in software engineering and landing tech jobs.

When you're a job seeker today you're not presented with nearly the same access to information that employers are privy to. There are structural factors at play here. The employers are the ones paying employees after all aren't they? The employer can set timelines, salary expectations, the interview process and norms. Employers employ third parties, often up to the n-th degree to find and vet candidates. Many of these recruiters are inexperienced professionals that eat up candidate's precious time and energy on opportunites that go nowhere. This can cause additional confusion in the marketplace. People build software and Artificial Intelligence systems to comb the internet finding candidate information. This information about candidates is stored in Applicant Tracking Systems that store resumes, links and skillsets about individuals. Employers have a lot of power in today's hiring market, and really there's nothing wrong with that, privacy concerns and rights over people's personal information and data harvesting aside.

What about on the candidate side? On the candidate side you have "Your network is your net worth". Hiring is an inherently human business. A lot of self reflection is required for job seekers. But let's be honest, for an employer to make a good hire self-reflection is important for them too. What job seekers have to arm them in their job hunts are LinkedIn, AngelList and spreadsheets. There's the open internet and paid sites to get information about jobs and companies but it isn't comprehensive. Instead many of these tools are paid services targeting at Business Development Representatives or built to feed you advertisements. There isn't an index of firmographic data that's filterable and sortable and provides candidates clarity about what's happening in the industry. More so it'd be nice if, as a candidate we had a solution and system for managing job applications. A map would be nice too, not everyone's going to be and wants to be remote work forever.

I think this project is important because I believe in the promise of the internet and open access to firmographic data. Firmographic is one of those fancy words I learned in the course of building this website. Firmographic is data about organizations. I think that for candidates this data should be free and accessible. Thinking back to that time sitting in the Sudo Room I've realized that the right tool, the right information, the right connections can clearly alter one's trajectory. Large parts of society aren't structured in ways to let people live their best lives. That's not cool. Information about jobs and tech companies should be well structured and freely accessible to candidates. It's a labor market and we're here to play.