In the third installment of our Small Business Saturday Spotlight series, we interviewed Paul Chittenden of Jobkaster, a map-based job search site. The beta version is up right now, but Paul plans on officially launching in March with more jobs and an enhanced user interface.
Keep an eye out for his innovative product, and read on for his thoughts and advice on starting your own business. If you’re job-searching, check out our list of the ten best cities for job-seekers and our Cost of Living Calculator!
NerdWallet (NW): What does Jobkaster do? What problems are you trying to solve through your business?
Paul Chittenden (PC): “JobKaster is a hyper-local job search app, or to put it more simply, a map-based job search. We’ve flipped the traditional list-based offering of other job boards and found a way that is both useful and more intuitive for the end user. Using Google Maps as a base, we show our users the exact location of jobs so that they can pick where they want to work.
For recruiters, we offer a simple solution to find local candidates by showing qualified candidates that are close to the area of employment.
We’re trying to solve two problems:
First, we want to help people find jobs closer to home so they can spend more time with their family, more time on fitness, more time with friends, or doing anything that they love.
Second, we saw a huge gap in recruiting software for small businesses. Small businesses can’t afford to spend $300 for a job posting on the typical job board. We are offering a low-cost alternative for them to find qualified local employees.”
NW: What is your mission? What inspired you to create Jobkaster?
PC: “Our mission is to help locals find local jobs.
We wanted to simplify the job search to its most basic parts, but also do it in an innovative way.
The job board industry hasn’t changed much since the first job board was launched in 1992. It was basically, “provide a list, and let people search through the myriad of jobs.” If you want to find a local job, you had to search by zip code, but most job boards aren’t driven by location and give suboptimal results.
We’re committed to changing the way people search for jobs. We give job seekers a way to visually see jobs in their vicinity, and provide them with filters to weed out the jobs that they don’t want. Soon, we’ll be able to show job seekers the jobs they are qualified for (based on their skills), and will have a higher chance of getting an interview due to being pre-qualified.”
NW: Tell me a bit about yourself and how you ended up with this idea.
PC: “Actually, Ravi Budhu (JobKaster’s original Founder) had been developing JobKaster at the same time I founded a competing service. A mutual friend introduced us, and we quickly partnered and starting building a team together.
For me, the idea came from a very lucrative job offer that I ended up turning down. I live in Houston. Not only is the traffic horrible, but the city is so spread out. Even though the job paid 50% more than what I was already getting, the drive would have been horrendous. Since my wife worked on one side of town, job location was a really important factor because one of us would be stuck in an hour and a half commute both ways.
There is a real estate site in Houston, HAR.com, which has a map based home search that I love. I use it at least once a week even though I’m not even looking for a house. I thought, “Why is nobody doing this with jobs?” For me, this is where the idea was born.”
NW: How do you think Jobkaster will change the way small business do their hiring, and how people find jobs?
PC: “Small businesses are our main focus. Our job search is being built specifically to help small businesses find qualified local employees.
Most small businesses are still relying on newspaper ads, “Now Hiring” signs in their windows, or their own website.
Here are the problems I see with that:
- Newspaper ads are getting increasingly expensive!
- Window signs – You are relying on people walking by your store to know you are hiring.
- Business websites – This is good for people that are actively searching and want to work for you. But their are so many potential hires that are more than qualified that don’t even know about you.
We aim to be the central place that locals go looking for work. If you want a shorter commute, we’ve got you covered. If you have issues with transportation, we’ve got you covered. If you live in an urban area and want to be able to walk or ride a bike to work, we can help with that too. Another thing small businesses lack is a system to track applicants. We are building a simple applicant tracking system in which small businesses can utilize to manage candidates and their hiring processes. In time, we’ll be an all in one system to simplify the hiring process for small businesses.”
NW: What makes Jobkaster different than websites like Craigslist?
PC: “Three things. First, our map-based interface makes it easy for job seekers to find job near their home. Secondly, we offer the only local recruiting solution of its kind for hiring managers and recruiters alike. Third, our applicant tracking system will help small businesses manage their recruiting process.
Craigslist is awesome. Its simplicity is part of its genius. Simplicity is also its problem. Craigslist isn’t evolving.
With its bulletin board style job posting system, your job posting is pushed down the bottom of the page and onto the following pages rather quickly. This happens especially in big cities, where location plays an even more important role. You can get a decent amount of inquiries in the short time that your post is visible, but for optimal results you would have to post your job multiple times throughout the day.
With JobKaster, your job posting will be live for 30 days. It’s always visible, and we do our best to make it safe for users and posters.
We think the JobKaster platform will provide much more value to our job seekers and job posters over services such as Craigslist.”