You’re not going to use this app.

ipply logoWhy? Because it’s targeting very small businesses. Historically, this is a market that recruiting technology vendors fear to tread. But, like a honey badger, ipply “don’t care.”

“ATS’ have written small businesses off,” said Thad Price, Jobs2Careers’ VP of product. “We think that state of mind opens the door for us to pursue a tremendous opportunity.”

Maybe. Small businesses – think dry cleaners, smoothie shops, and the mom-and-pop burger joint – are not only an incredibly tough nut to crack, but they cost too much for most recruiting technology companies to worry about. Vendors don’t want to put sales resources toward a company that might only hire three people a year.

Ipply is no different in that regard. “We won’t commit salespeople to call on small businesses,” said Price. However, they may just have a way to make this free app to pay off if ipply ends up being a loss leader for Jobs2Careers. If J2C is good at anything, it’s data. Their business model of knowing what to pay for traffic, and making sure that cost is lower than what employers pay for job seeker clicks keeps the company in the black.

“Once they get it integrated with Jobs2Careers applicants, I think their clients will appreciate being able to sift through and sort candidates,” said industry veteran Chris Russell, managing director of RecTech Media. “If they execute well, it will help J2C strengthen its brand.”

Knowing how to read the tea leaves means ipply imagines a world where small business customers are motivated to upgrade their job openings to Jobs2Careers when they fail to get results. Imagine an ipply customer getting a notice that basically says, “This job is underperforming. Click here to boost your job on Jobs2Careers.”

How ipply works.

Small businesses download ipply on Android or iOS for free. Through the registration process, users connect an email address to their ipply account. Email addresses are limited to personal addresses like Gmail and Yahoo, and the service only works if clients connect via email address that is also used to post jobs to Craigslist.

After completing the registration and integration process, ipply’s secret sauce goes to work. A bot goes through your email and looks for confirmation and reply emails from Craigslist. From that data, the app can create a profile of job postings and applicants.

ipply app

“We’re not reliant on Craigslist, or spidering Craigslist,” said Price. This is smart, since Craigslist usually takes issue with such activities.

The app also touts a simple screening tool that requires candidates to fill out basic questions that might filter out those who don’t have a car, for example, if the job requires having wheels. After applying, candidates receive a follow-up message that asks them to click a link and answer the screening questions.

The questionnaire landing page is mobile-friendly, and the service doesn’t require candidates to download a native app on their phone. Ipply says this process “completely eliminates common spam and unlikely candidates.”

Voilà, right? Small businesses now have an easy, free way to manage candidates through the jobs they already post on Craigslist. Not so fast. Because now ipply needs to get the word out to a traditionally elusive target market. But if ipply isn’t willing to commit sales folks to pounding the pavement and calling on the local ice cream shop, then how do they plan on connecting with prospects?

“We’ll be focusing on education through partnerships,” said Price. “We’ll connect with state and local Chambers of Commerce to get the word out about our service and how small businesses can benefit from hiring smarter.” Price also said the company will be targeting prospects via digital media, like Facebook ads.

Overall, ipply is a noble effort to help small businesses track and screen candidates in our everything-mobile world. I have no doubt small business owners who are already comfortable using digital marketing platforms will find ipply a solid addition to their tool chest.

I fear scaling this solution is going to prove incredibly difficult, however. My experience will small businesses is they shut-off anything that requires learning a new skill or potentially adding time to their already-busy life. For most, throwing an ad up on Craigslist and going through emails is comfortable. It’s not broken.

As a result, a solution like ipply is probably fixing a problem that doesn’t exist for most small business owners.

About the Author

joel-cheesman-headshotJoel 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 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.