The most memorable email I’ve ever received from Jonathan Duarte was delivered in 2009. It essentially said he was leaving the U.S., pushing pause on his relatively successful job site, GoJobs, laying off his employees and moving his family to southeast Asia. He’d be gone, he added, until the economic downturn, later dubbed The Great Recession, subsided and companies started hiring again.
“I’m old enough to remember the dotcom crash,” he told me. “Online job sites are screwed for the next 2-3 years because hiring is going to dry up. I’ll be in paradise with my family till things go back to normal. Duarte has been back in the business for awhile, but he’s kept his distance from launching anything until now.
GoJobs is still serving up jobs, backfilled by ZipRecruiter, but it’s more of a placeholder while Duarte pursues more progressive opportunities. His latest startup looks to leverage the billion people currently using Facebook Messenger while hopping on the chatbot craze.
The result is GoBe, a conversational chatbot that helps job seekers find, view, and apply to jobs directly within Facebook Messenger. The download and the service is free to job seekers.
“GoBe is a potential ground-breaking solution for both employers and job seekers,” said Duarte, officially co-founder and CEO of GoHire, Inc. “Messaging has one of the highest engagement and response rates, making it a perfect platform for employers who recruit in high-volume, time-dependent, and mobile-first environments. What’s missing are the tools for employers and recruiters to leverage messaging platforms.”
As a job seeker, GoBe works similarly to other chatbots on Facebook Messenger. Maybe you’ve plugged into one that tells you the weather or updates sports scores. After a user launches the app, GoBe says, “Hi Joel! I’m GoBe, the GoJobs bot. I’m new to helping people find jobs but my creators have been doing this for +20 years. Are you ready to start a job search?”
After confirming, a user is asked to confirm their zip code, then put in a keyword. GoBe answers with a horizontal list of job postings. Users swipe until they find a desirable job and click. GoBe then takes users to the site that hosts the job.
Unfortunately, this last piece is hit-or-miss. Sometimes a job listings isn’t so mobile-friendly. And even if reading the job is responsive, applying may not be. This, of course, is historically the major hurdle with mobile apps. Traditional apply just doesn’t work that well in most cases.
A handful of companies such as Mya, Olivia or ipply are looking to bridge the gap between an on-the-go world and a stuck-in-the-mud corporate process. The smart money is on progress, but it’ll take awhile. Will consumers wait long enough however?
Getting jobs posted natively on GoBe mobile-first platform is the ultimate goal, but that’s a tough challenge. Even trailblazers like Jobr still rely on web postings to populate their mobile app, and it’s a negative experience for many job seekers. Duarte is hoping the change that.
“We just built a feature that will allow specific URLs to be submitted to GoBe,” Duarte said. “This way, GoBe can respond specifically regarding that job posting, with either more information, a job application, or pre-screening. Essentially we push the candidate to a mobile messaging platform to talk about the job, the job requirements, and the ability to apply, directing from within messaging.”
GoBe will soon be available in cross-platform versions, for text/SMS, Slack, Skype, and others. GoBe can also be customized for individual brands for employer corporate career sites.
About the Author
Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead.
He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an iOS app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is the father of two children and lives in Indianapolis. Yes, he’s on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can hire him too.