We talked to Dylan Buckleyon about how DirectlyApply helps people land their dream job and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Dylan Buckley: Thankfully, relatively well! I am originally from New Zealand, and all my immediate family still live there. While it hasn’t necessarily been easy, comparably, New Zealand has fared a lot better than the rest of the world.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded DirectlyApply?
Dylan Buckley: From a relatively young age, I enjoyed taking toys apart, figuring out how they worked, and then putting them back together. So when I discovered that you could also do a similar thing with computers and with the internet, I immediately began to try and teach myself to code. Although I built quite a few websites and web apps while in high school, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a software engineer, so I decided to embark on an Economics degree at the University of Victoria in Wellington. As my father was born in the UK, I benefit from having a British passport, so upon completing my degree, I decided to travel to London and took the first job I was offered, which happened to be in a recruitment firm. Recruitment is a fascinating industry but can suffer from a somewhat less-than-favorable reputation at times. Thankfully, the firm I worked for took their practice incredibly seriously, but I soon noticed some underlying issues in the industry at large, which I felt could be improved upon.
After spending three years in London, I decided to break from recruitment and spent some time in New Zealand before deciding what to do next. After several discussions with my now-co-founder (who I had met while working in recruitment), we started to get pretty excited about building a tool that would solve several issues we had come across within the recruitment industry. I jumped back on a plane to London, and DirectlyApply was born.
How does DirectlyApply innovate?
Dylan Buckley: DirectlyApply is a job discovery platform with the mission of finding the right job for everyone. This might not sound like a unique endeavor. Still, over the past ten years, the job board/aggregator industry has predominantly adopted a Pay-Per-Click business model, which has led to a deterioration in the job seeker experience. To put it bluntly, most job sites generate revenue from job seekers clicking on job posts. Unfortunately, the desire to drive more clicks comes directly at the expense of the individuals searching for jobs (as well as employers looking to hire them). The job board’s focus moves away from trying to help people find the right job and encourage them to click on as many job posts as possible.
So when we built DirectlyApply, we wanted to make it the best possible experience for job seekers. As the name implies, we wanted to present our users with those roles we knew they could directly apply to, so we removed all posts from recruitment agencies (which often don’t have real jobs behind them but are used to harvest resumés) and focused incredibly hard on removing duplicate posts, fake posts and scam posts, all of which plague the job aggregator industry. We also realized that most job seekers searched for jobs on their phones, so we optimized our mobile use site. As part of this, we recognized how important the site’s speed was for our users, and now we can say DirectlyApply is the fastest job board in the world.
As well as technological improvements, we wanted to help our users by giving them other, more practical tools, so we built a free resumé creator and a free job tracker tool that allows users to track all their job applications, no matter what site they are on! We also decided to adopt a more community-led approach to our platform and built a free tool that allows employers to check for unconscious bias in their job descriptions.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Dylan Buckley: Coronavirus has had a huge impact on the entire job market, and while many jobs have been lost, many others have also been created. Our mission has always been to put real jobs at companies that are actively hiring in front of people, so when coronavirus hit, we tripled down on our efforts towards this.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Dylan Buckley: Yes, we have had to forgo some lucrative revenue sources as we felt working with these types of partners would be detrimental to our users’ experience. Although it is hard to give up any income source when you are just starting as a business, we believe focusing on the job seeker experience is key to our continued growth.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Dylan Buckley: I remind myself to focus on the end goal and that there will always be bumps along the way.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Dylan Buckley: At the established end of the industry, our competitors are sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Monster, and Careerbuilder. While we can’t always compete with them on size, our constant focus on putting the job seeker first allows us to outperform them in many areas.
Your final thoughts?
Dylan Buckley: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me and for allowing me to discuss DirectlyApply.