Leaders’ Insights: Stephen Quinn, Jobbio

29 Oct 2015

Stephen Quinn

Stephen Quinn is the CEO of recruitment platform Jobbio, which he co-founded with his brother John.

Jobbio is used as a recruitment platform by more than 550 companies, including Unilever, Ryanair, Dropbox, Bank of Ireland, Mazars, and Survey Monkey, as well as innovative and rapidly expanding businesses such as AirBnB, Hailo and Brown Bag Films.

The company raised €1m in a funding round earlier this year.

Describe your role and what you do.

I am the CEO of Jobbio, so it is my job to keep the show on the road! I am involved in all aspects of the business, including product, sales, customer experience and marketing. We have teams in London and New York now, so I have to focus on that too. I really have four jobs, strategy, hiring, being available to discuss what the team are doing and making sure there is enough money in the bank to keep going.

How do you prioritise and organise your working life?

I read about this matrix that Dwight Eisenhower, the former president of the US, used to use. It is a box with four sections: important, not important, urgent and not urgent. It helps prioritise or delegate, for example. I am trying to use and stick to that! I also have a notepad with me all the time – pretty old school, but necessary.

What are the biggest challenges facing your business and how are you tackling them?

I am sure everyone says this but when you are trying to grow a company like Jobbio there is a new challenge every day. We are a two-sided marketplace, so we are looking after both talent and brands, we need to acquire brands, then drive their content in order to drive relevant applicants, we are in three countries and we are expanding fast. All the challenges we face are caused by fast growth so I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way. We listen to the team and customers and we try to improve all the time – that’s how to tackle it.

What are the key industry opportunities youre capitalising on?

The shift to mobile is a really important trend for us. I think we always felt like people would be searching, learning about and applying for job opportunities from their mobile. According to Google, there is 61pc year-on-year growth in job search on mobile. Couple that with a fluid job application process and Jobbio is in a great place to be the answer people are looking for in the job search space.

‘I really have four jobs, strategy, hiring, being available to discuss what the team are doing and making sure there is enough money in the bank to keep going’

What set you on the road to where you are in the technology industry?

I think everyone has an idea in them. Something that they think could be a business. The problem is often people don’t do anything about their ideas. This was the one idea I couldn’t let go of. I had to do something about it, I didn’t really have a choice but to try. I spoke to my brother and co-founder John about it. When trying to fix something like recruitment you have to look at it from two perspectives, both applicant and company. I had a lot of ideas around making the talent experience better, John, with his background, had a lot of ideas around the company perspective. We wanted to reimagine recruitment using simple technology – that is where we started.

What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?

The temptation is to say we have made loads, which we have, but I am going to pick just one. I spent too much time worrying about investors. I have a go-to phrase I say to my staff, which I learned off an old boss I had, ‘the only person who can promote you is you’. The same applies to investment, if you are good enough you will not have any trouble raising money. So focus on the business then go tell an honest story about it to investors.

How do you get the best out of your team?

By trusting them. I hire great people who I can give responsibility to. I listen to them, we are always learning how to do things better. I try to lead by example and then challenge them to be the best at what they do. Its great seeing people soar when given the chance, that is probably the best thing about running a business.

STEM sectors receive a lot of criticism for a lack of diversity. What are your thoughts on this and whats needed to effect change?

I just think it needs to be talked about more. More education about what is required in these roles from a much earlier age. You have to change the perception of what it means to be involved in the industry. The STEM sectors are going to be the source of the greatest percentage of jobs in the future years. There is already a shortage of talent in the area in Ireland.

Who is your business hero and why?

I don’t have a single hero I could reference right now. There are so many elements required to make your business a success, and luck is one of them. I have never met a successful person who isn’t extremely hard working.

What books have you read that you would recommend?

I have a generic answer for this I am afraid! I only just finished it and have been meaning to read it for years, Richard Branson’s autobiography. It is very enjoyable and a must-read.

What are the essential tools and resources that get you through the working week?

I live on Slack, everything Google, from Drive to Gmail. Actually the best thing is to step away from your desk every couple of hours and go for a walk around the block. Clears the head and gets you focused.