Legal Blog

A Conversation with Daniel Freedman, Chief Strategy Officer at Apploi – Part 2

Click here for part 1 Reinventing how applicants find jobs and organizations find talent in the employment ecosystem Daniel FreedmanDaniel Freedman is the chief strategy officer and head of business development at Apploi, a networking platform that connects job-seeking professionals with recruiters at burgeoning organizations. The app allows applicants to fill out one profile that remains in the cloud and can be accessed from any device, while interviewers can set customized questions, add video and audio, and score candidates’ responses, thereby filtering qualified applicants from the rest of the pool. Apploi is used by thousands organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, local governments, nonprofits, and a host of small and mid-sized businesses. It has been featured in ABC News, The New York Times, and Mashable. Last year, the White House recognized the company as an American Innovator. Has anything surprised you about the modern job market?| One of the big things I started learning when I started focusing on the job space is that you’ve got around 25 million Americans without regular Internet or computer access. Those people are limited right now to about a 30-minute window to use a computer at a public library, or a workforce center if they’re able to get there. And then then there’s another 30 million Americans who have smartphones, but no computers. But most companies have job sites that aren’t mobile-friendly or take too long for people to go through. So, one of the biggest problems for people today is just even applying for a job. What we focus on doing is expanding access. We’ve built a network of public kiosks across Baltimore and across the country. We’re in job centers, libraries, community centers. We’re here in Baltimore, everywhere from the Catholic charities—we’re working with the associated black charities, we’re working with the associated Jewish Federation, different non-profits—and it has really been an amazing community reaction. What our kiosks do is give people an easy access to the job market. It takes about two to three minutes to apply for a job, and it brings the opportunities to where people are. What we also do is we have hand-held kiosks with our street teams and community teams, which go to where people are. People don’t even have to come into a job center, which for some people can be a barrier, because if it’s going to cost you $2.50 on a bus every time you want to go, that’s five dollars a day and that can add up quickly if you’re on the poverty line. So, bringing opportunities to where people are, and increasing the odds of them being able to get those jobs can really make an impact in the community. What kinds of companies do you work with? Apploi has got more than 5600 companies working with it across the country. That ranges from Fortune 500 companies right through to small businesses, because the challenge is the same whether you’re a company that can afford multiple recruiters or you’re your own business owner and are doing the hiring yourself. It takes a lot of time to go through resumé after resumé, and you’re missing out on people. So, we have a lot of small businesses using us as well. Baltimore was one of the first cities we focused on, and a big part of that was because of the partnership and the support of the mayor’s office, and the library system. Free libraries showed they understood the benefits that Apploi could bring. So already, across Maryland, we’ve got a lot of businesses who are using us and really seeing the benefits of Apploi. How is technology changing the way people apply for jobs? The biggest shift that we are seeing right now is that everything is going mobile-first. You look at especially young people and millennials: people order a car on their phone, they find love on their phone, they order their food on their phone. Jobs is the one area where they’ve not yet been able to really do it on the phone, and now that’s what Apploi is leading. I think, increasingly, you’ll see that there’s a decline in computer ownership. Everything’s being done on a smartphone and that will only increase. In places like Africa where we’ve started focusing with the United Nations, they’re almost skipping out the desktop and going straight to mobile. And now, we see with Apple and the Apple Watch, it’s getting even smaller, so unless companies are mobile first and focused in that way, they’re going to be out of touch with the next generation coming through. Could you describe the benefits of Apploi for applicants? I think in a very different way with Apploi you really see the impact of how you’re helping people. Just to give you one story from a gentleman who is probably only about 15 miles from here: He’d been previously applying for a job as a janitor, and when I met him I asked him, “Is this what you want to be doing?” He looked to me like I’m an idiot and said, “Of course I don’t want to be a janitor.” I said, “But then why are you applying for job as a janitor?” So, he gave me his story, which, to simplify it: he’d dropped out of school, he got into trouble, he spent a bit of time in jail, and then for the last several years he struggled to get into the job market because every day that you’re out of work it is harder to get in. People never even call you in for an interview; they just look at you having nothing on your resume. And so people told him he had to be realistic and apply for a job as a janitor. So, I asked him, “What would you want to be doing?” And he said, well, he would love to do something in electronics. I said, “Why electronics?” He t said “Well, I’d taken a workforce course in it and I’m really good at it. Any friend or anyone I know who has something broken, whether it’s an alarm clock or phone, they bring it to me and I fix it.” He then uses our platform to take pictures of what he’s done, to record how he thinks about it. Now, to that local electronics shop, he’s not someone with no electronic experience—he’s with all the right experience. And that’s really why the White House, why the mayor’s office here in Baltimore, the library system and entities around the country, have been so supportive of what we’re doing at Apploi: because we’re not telling businesses to expand access and give people opportunities for social good. Yes, you’re doing social good, but do it because you’re really getting the best people and talent you otherwise would never have considered. Businesses are now hiring, and the benefit for them is they’re seeing lower turnover because turns out these are better quality people. So it’s a unique way where you can have a social impact but it is in line with the private goods, the private interest. Looking ahead, what’s your vision for the future? The vision for Apploi is that Apploi will be what LinkedIn is for the top 20% of the job market for the other 80% of the job market.

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