Table of Content
  1. When The Journey Began & Our Mission
  2. The Epiphany
  3. The Inspiration
  4. Hello, Jobalaya 2.0!

Why We Started Jobalaya: Product Update, August 2018

We all love discovering new music using Moods and playlists on Spotify. So our team thought, why can’t we do the same for job search?

Four years ago, I was sitting on the bed of my hotel room, staring at my computer wondering what I should type into the search bar.

I was a management consultant who was on the road four days a week. It was a rewarding career, but I was ready to move on. I started contemplating on what my next gig would be. Up to that point, I had been working for big corporations my entire career, so I wanted this next thing to be new. Refreshing. Something I love.

Perhaps a smaller company where I can expand my skill sets? An exciting startup with a mission I can identify with sounds good. Would be even better if the team has strong women to be my role models. And I would still like to travel a bit for work.

So there I was, staring at my computer with absolutely no idea how to search for these companies of my dreams.

When The Journey Began & Our Mission

When my co-founders and I started Jobalaya, we were particularly interested in the inefficiency resulted from “stereotypes” in recruitment, e.g. employers who pass on great candidates whose resumes lack big brands, or job seekers who choose not to apply for high-potential companies that are lesser-known.

We really want to change this so that we can level the playing field for everyone. In our minds, helping the job market rely less on stereotypes can empower people to make career-related decisions that are true to themselves rather than mere resume-builders.

Our team made this our mission. We’ve been building a referral-based product trying to achieve this goal for the past year, and that’s when we noticed something from our users.

The Epiphany

It turns out, not everyone knows exactly what they are looking for in their job search.

Basically, people face the same problem I did years ago in that hotel room.

Even though these people can’t tell you exactly what they’re looking, they usually have a few “softer” criteria that can guide their job search, such as company missions, teams, cultures, or work environments. This is especially prominent for career switchers, fresh grads, under-represented minorities, or international talent, because these people often don’t have strong networks established in their target job markets yet.

Using these non-conventional criteria to search for jobs is a huge hassle. It involves a lot of aimless search online (Google “environmental-friendly companies”), joggling around multiple websites (search engines, online news, company websites, job search sites, company review sites…), luck (overheard someone next table mentioning a company at dinner), and time wasted.

So we thought, there’s gotta be a better way to help people discover companies they love in a more intuitive way.

The Inspiration

Looking at the job sites currently in the market, we realized that the reason why they fail to address this need is because most of them are built on the concept of “targeted search”. If you know what you’re searching for, we’ll find it for you as quickly and accurately as possible.

But for people who don’t know exactly what they’re searching for yet, what they need is to “explore”.

We found our inspiration in many other spaces: Spotify for music, Pinterest for images, Medium for content, and so on.

We all love discovering new music using Moods and playlists on Spotify. Why can’t we do the same for job search? 💡

Hello, Jobalaya 2.0!

In July 2018, we decided to pivot and launch Jobalaya 2.0 – a job search platform that helps top talent discover small tech companies by things they actually care about.

Our goal is to give our users an exploration-oriented job search experience. Jobalaya 2.0 includes features like:

  • 🏷️ Preference Tags: Use preference tags to discover and filter companies, e.g. “pet-friendly”, “social good”, or “female leadership”
  • 📃 User-Built Lists: Browse lists generated by your peer to see which companies are popular among other job seekers
    & 💖 Collect Your Favorites: Other than storing these companies for later review, you’ll let them know that you’re interested in them
  • *👍 Upfront Reference Checks: We think leaving reference checks until the very end of the recruiting process is a waste, since references are often the best indicator of whether to hire someone or not. We let you provide reference checks upfront – as part of your application – so recruiters take the feedback from your advocates into consideration

>> Check Out Jobalaya 2.0

Jobalaya 2.0 doesn’t just help job seekers explore. With our focus on smaller tech companies, we’re also trying to help the smaller tech firms to gain visibility among the Apples, Facebooks, and Ubers of the tech world. Recruiters at these smaller firms can even access passive candidates who’ve shown interests in them, which is a dream come true for us small giants! If you’re a recruiter or a founder, check out Jobalaya for Business to learn more.


We’d love to hear from you about Jobalaya 2.0! As a matter of fact, we just launched on Product Hunt today! If you have any feedback, comment, or question, please join the discussion on Product Hunt and let us know!

Ellie Chang
Ellie is the founder and CEO of Jobalaya. She is an ex-consultant and a veteran working with multiple Fortune 500 companies. Ellie received an MBA from Michigan Ross.