When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March of 2020, the recruitment industry was among the hardest hit. Initially you may think of agencies, in-house recruiting teams — but the tech side was hit just as hard. Martyn Redstone had spent the past few years developing a real niche for himself as a specialist chatbot consultant for the recruitment and staffing industry. He has years of experience working with a variety of different recruitment businesses and talent acquisition teams to help them create the best possible conversational chatbot strategy.
“When this all fell through, I had to take a step back and work out what to do. I have a family that needs a roof over their head and I need income to keep that there.”
But as the first economic shutdown commenced in March, Redstone was quickly without any work, contracts or opportunities. “It was a very frustrating time, as I had just decided to move away from one contract that I had and start a new one offered”, he says in an interview. “When this all fell through, I had to take a step back and work out what to do. I have a family that needs a roof over their head and I need income to keep that there.”
Job hunting: mission impossible
While the speculation started about how long we’d all be in a COVID-related mess — Redstone knew that the situation was likely here to stay longer than just a few months. “Unfortunately, I was right”, he says. “When the economic shutdowns happen and people stop recruiting, the first budget that gets cut is the recruitment budget. So, with no prospect of securing any income in the recruitment industry, I felt like it might be a good time to pivot into the chatbot and conversational AI industry.”
“I couldn’t get my head around that this was going to obviously be a high growth area in response to the pandemic, but it was almost impossible to find a job to apply for.”
So Redstone pivoted — but to no avail. “I did what everybody would – I immediately started scanning the job boards, networking on LinkedIn and other proactive activity to find my next role”, he says. “And guess what I came up with – not much! I had a few interviews here and there, or maybe some exploratory calls but nothing else really. I couldn’t get my head around that this was going to obviously be a high growth area in response to the pandemic, but it was almost impossible to find a job to apply for.”
A new objective in life
That’s why and when Redstone decided to add a new objective to his life plan: set up a service to help others find a job in chatbots and conversational AI. “I didn’t really know where to start – I have built recruitment technology products and solutions before, but never a job board”, he says. “But I knew that I wanted to make this resource and I knew that I wanted to give something back to a burgeoning community of professionals that I was enjoying collaborating with. So, in June 2020 I set about trying to create something cool.”
“I knew that I wanted to give something back to a burgeoning community of professionals.”
The birth of bot-jobs.com
And thus bot-jobs.com was born. “If you are an employer that wants to advertise, then you can simply go to bot-jobs.com and hit the ‘post a job’ button. Complete all the details there and that’s about it. Jobseekers can come to the site to find jobs relating to chatbots and conversational AI – that’s not just conversation designers – that’s sales, marketing, recruitment, software development, product management, business analysis and conversation design. If there’s another category that an employer wants adding, that can be added pretty quickly.”
“There is an opportunity to make the experience a better both employer and applicant, build a community around it, monetise it in some way and, of course, add some conversational AI.”
For now, bot-jobs.com is still free for both jobseekers and employers. As it continues to grow in its visitor count (up to about 1,000), Redstone is still thinking about where he wants to go with it. “Right now, I built as a free resource for employers to get in front of relevant candidates, who are looking for jobs in this burgeoning industry”, he says. “However, there is certainly an opportunity to make the experience a better one for both employer and applicant, build a community around it, monetise it in some way and, of course, add some conversational AI.” For now though, Redstone is happy to keep it like it ‘as is’. “I’m just happy to give something back.”
Want to hear more from Martyn?
Martyn Redstone will be one of the keynote speakers at Demo_Day Europe, hosted by our partners over at Recruitment Tech. On Thursday 15th April the first edition of the online event will take place, where tech suppliers introduce themselves and demonstrate their solutions. Register for free here.