Welcome to the Inside Job Boards and Recruitment Marketplaces podcast. I'm Stephen Rothberg, the founder of College Recruiter Job search site at College Recruiter. We believe that every student in recent grad deserves a great career.
And I'm Peter Zollman, founding Principle of the AIM Group, the leading global business intelligence service for marketplaces and classified advertising companies. We consult with recruitment marketplaces, companies and publish AIM group, recruitment intelligence, and a free weekly digest. We also host the annual Global Rec Buzz Conference.
This is the podcast for you to learn more about how to create, manage, and work with general niche and aggregator job boards and recruitment marketplaces.
Well, we have a really special episode of the Inside Job Boards and Recruitment Marketplaces podcast today. And I think by the end of it, you'll understand what I mean. Two big things. One is that my awesome and fantastic and illustrious co-host Peter Zollman of AIM Group is unable to join us today. I think he's probably soaking up some sun down in Florida. I'm here in Minnesota. There might be sun, but it's not exactly the kind of weather that we wanna be outside in. It feels like it's about minus 187 out, but that's my problem, not yours. More importantly is the guests that we have today. I had the pleasure of hearing him deliver a presentation at the at Aim Group's Rec Buzz Amsterdam conference in September. And it was just, it was so fantastic. I knew that we needed to have him on the show before I introduced him.
And before we get into the interview, though, I think that a ten second clip of the sound that millions of his fellow Ukrainians have had to listen to day after day since February 24th, will really bring home the importance of what we're about to discuss. I wanna ask for apologies in advance for what will be an unpleasant sound. You're going to hear air raid the sound of air raid sirens. It's a sound that none of us should ever have to hear, and it's a sound that millions of Ukrainians have been hearing day in, day out since Russia invaded Ukraine back on February 24th.
All right, well, thank you. And I, again, I, my apologies if that was disturbing to any, but it is a sound that Ukrainians are having to deal with, and that hopefully they won't have, they won't be very, very soon when they win this war. Today's guest is Roman Perko, the co-founder of jubal. Jubal is an international job search website used daily by millions of people in 69 countries, not used by millions of people, but daily by millions of people. For those who aren't familiar, it is almost always ranked in the top five or six job search sites globally for traffic. Roman, welcome to the Inside job boards and Recruitment Marketplaces podcast.
Hi, Steven. Thank you. Thank you for invitation.
Yeah. And thank you for joining us. So, before we get into the, the meat of the discussion, maybe you can give listeners who don't know you, who don't know ju like a, a brief background. Like, who are you, what is Juul and, and how is it different than other job boards?
Sure. Student think you know, yeah. My name is Roman and I'm absolutely classic IT guy. Physical, mathematical high school winner in program in competition, Studi in ki, but a technical university. It the best tech university in Ukraine, like m a t in United States. I was a well skilled programmer when I went to university. So after six months of studying, I realized that it's too easy for me. So I found, I found my field jobs as a software engineer. And after one year or working, I decided to run my own business. I was 19 years old. But I was an ambition and was stupid enough not to be afraid, <laugh> to run my own business with $2,000 in my pockets. And first that I made, I took window paint drew some pictures of my future software, and went to the biggest pharmaceutical factory in Ukraine called d.
At that time, I, I wait like 100 kilograms. I bought good suit. So it was quite hard to understand that time. Only 18 years old. I say to general manager, look it's your future software. It's like this pains in Windows thoses Yeah. For managing your marketing team. If you agreed, I need six months, and please give me 50% of prepayment, and you'll get the best software error. Now it is impossible to believe. But he agreed. And that is how I started my first company to soft B2B business that sells expensive software solution for managing marketing team in companies. I run this business for five years and eventually sold it to the strategic buyer. This my, some background. Yeah. in parallel with in parallel with my running of my first business my friend Huge came to me and said Roman, let's build services that aggregate news.
I have never read the news, really. And I offered to him create a CV search aggregator, because I spent tons of times to, for search stuff. He like this idea. And we started to Jule in first day in first day. So it was CV and job search aggregator. We had no ambition to build a great company in 69 countries. We just wanted to create valuable service for our users. And that is what we did. We create that you call JU is a Google, but like for drop search aggregators at scrap drop in one website.
So did you take the name? You kind of, it's a play on the word Google, right? It's, it's Google, but for jobs. And so Google is that? Yeah. Yeah. You could, you could've gone with Jule, but it doesn't have the same, it doesn't have the same ring to it.
<Laugh>, Steven, you're totally right. First, our name was Jule. We, yeah, it was, we bought domain ju and we draw all our design, like for Jule for days before start, for we show this our website to our friends and said, guys, what do you think about the name? And one, my friend said, why? It's a job. So you search, search service for job let's it be Dral, not Dral. And we said, wow, it's a great idea. Jule <laugh>. And we redesign a website, we bought New Domain, and we start Dral, not a Dral.
And, and, and you just gave like 65% of the stock to that friend. I, I, I trust, right? Or at least you bought it a beer one, one of the other
More, more we said big sense <laugh>.
<Laugh>. Well, yeah. Jule to me would be, it would kind of, I would picture a clown at a circus tossing balls in the air. It kind of would remind me of ju of juggle more than more than Google. So. Well, you have a good friend that he, he he saved you
<Laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, first our logo wasn't like a rabbit, like today, it was like a Google, it's a color, like a Google color. Yeah. only after two months general manager from Google and Ukraine called to us and said, guys, let's go to the, to the beer, not just to the beer. And we came to the bar and said, guys, you Google, no, you don't want to suit results. You know, it's quite d please remove, remove color of logo. It's no problem with the name, but the color is quite a little bit yeah.
Yeah. The bus, the bus, the line of business is not that confusing. The name is rhymes, but it's not that confusing. But when you also start to use our colors, people are gonna think that that, that Jule is, is part of Google. So
Yeah. That, that was gracious of, of that person to to basically say, you know what? I think we poke, we could have a problem here. Let's, let's prevent the problem rather than, rather than calling their lawyers on you. So yeah, that's, that's a good, good approach. So, speaking about some of the issues in, in the past, let's, let's flash forward to February 24th. It was the day that Russia invaded Ukraine according to what a lot of us think of now. But, but you know, the war has actually been going on for years. This is just a, a different phase of it. And, but on February 24th, when, when Russia started the current invasion, one of the things that I think that listeners will be interested to know is how your leadership team at Jubal sprang into action. Safeguarded employees safeguarded the business. So maybe talk a little bit about, you know, what did juul's business look like immediately before and then immediately after the most, the most recent invasion?
Yeah. Yeah, sure. Before 20 1st of February, we were start 71 markets. We were super fragmented, so the biggest market was only like 8% in revenue. 60% of our market was Europe. 25% for our market was in North America. We had more than 500 employees. And 95 percent of percent, 95% were located in Ukraine. We run our business online from the first day, much earlier than other companies did. After we have never met our clients in person. Some of them paid really millions of to us, and we even never speak to them on the online communication. So yeah, it was convenient to have all people in one place, in one country. One part of our, our culture is transparency. So we had a huge open space office, 3000 square meters of open space eight meters high in the area tile factory.
We had real parking site in our office with a beautiful trees benches. We had basketball hall in office, gym showers, et cetera. I and my team, this office very much, much but after Covid from January 21 yeah, we decided to be fully remote, not fully, but a remote first company. So we yeah, we still, we still had this office, but 80% of our employees work from coal and years ago. Yeah. and today I realized that decision to be a remote host company save, save our, our business because we today, we fully decentralized and we can run the business even in the first week of the invasion when the panic was at speak. If speak about first day, first use the war. Yeah. We use Slack in our communications, so I can for sure construct the first day of the war.
And we discuss with our team what we did right and what we did wrong on the first day to, to, to teach from this learning. First day, year five, I am Russian made, growing hundreds of blasts in all cities. The invasion begins unimaginable things become a reality. In less than, in less than three hours, we send message to all our employees, forget about your job. Save your lives. Your life is the only things that matter right now. At nine o'clock the first day, yeah, at nine o'clock, we raid the rescue team to help our employees get to the safe spots. Simultaneously, our rescue team tries to find the safe place for themselves, because it's at the same time when they try to help other employees find safe place, they sits in the basement near ki four hours after invasion.
It was nine, nine o'clock, yeah, nine o'clock we decided to shut down to markets. Russia and Del and Russia was top two market in terms of revenue and top one market. In terms of profitability. It was a hard decision cause invasion started in our country four hours ago. We are in complete uncertainty about our future for sure. We understand that we need money to support our employees, to support our country, but we realize that there is no room for negotiations. We can bring value and make a business in the country that kills people. At two o'clock, at two o'clock, we pay salary for all our employees. Our shift financial officer, manager manage this process from the broken car on, from ki he and his family couldn't escape from the city, do a car breakdown at the, at the day, but he did his jobs.
Next we set up a video call for all, all employees. We have no answers about our future, but we wanna be together in this challenging time. In the evening we start different project to tell the world truth about the war. We are on top 1000 sites worldwide, and we, that we must use our weight to draw attention to Ukraine. Cause it is very important that people in people, not government even, but people support Ukraine. Cause this people make difference to the government and then government to help Ukraine. So we use all our email databases all our audience to tell story about Ukraine, that Russia kills people. Here at the first day of the work, we decided to, to pay full salary to any employee who will serve in the Army today.
Five five employees serve in Ukrainian army. And this usual guys that's not military guys, it's like developers senior sales managers. They have a little no experience. Why is it this is not something who, who, who have special education, but they decided to go to, to army and to save our, our country in the first day. We last but least think that in the first day, we create a sustainability fund for our employees. Any employers employees can ask money for any reason if he or she need, for example, buy wheelchair for family or pay for a new house, or pay for drive to total a safe spot. That was our first day o o of the walk.
We'll be back right after this break. Welcome back to the inside job boards and recruitment marketplaces podcast.
Years, years from now, I think there'll be business schools in different areas of the world that, that will use what Jule did in, in the, in the first days of the, of the war as, as a lesson in, in how you take care of your people. And it's, there definitely have been other businesses similar to that. I, I I, we, we talk with Mike Woodrow of Aspen Tech Labs, and they also had a significant number of employees in Ukraine, and they also did an, an admirable job of, of taking care of, of their people. And something that I just want to emphasize before we go to the next question, Roman, is that you, you mentioned that you know, Juul being one of the highest traffic sites in the world, not just job boards, but just websites, period. Yeah. That you recognized that you had the ability to communicate to ordinary people all around the world, what was happening so that they could then put pressure onto their governments to support Ukraine.
And, and that is vi correct. So for, for listeners, whether, whether you have a direct role to play, whether you've donated money, whether you have friends or family in Ukraine, whatever. If, if you contact your, your politicians local state, provincial, national and let them know how important it is to, to you that they fully support Ukraine's efforts, it makes a massive difference. I'm fortunate enough to know a number of, of politicians in the us Congress people, US Senators, and it is amazing how much of an impact ordinary people can have on their decisions. They listen to them more, actually, much more than, than than lobbyists. You know, when an ordinary person comes up to street and, and is passionate about an issue, it, it really stands out to them. So, I'll, I'll stop yammering so that we can <laugh> get to get to the, the final question be before the end of, of, of the interview.
I wish we had four hours, but, but we don't. So let's look forward. Roman you know, as, as we're recording this episode Ukraine has, has continued to make just really amazing advancements. It, it, the consensus among world experts, everything I've seen is, it's a matter of when and not if Ukraine will win this war. We all hope it's gonna be over soon, like, you know, weeks, maybe a couple of months. But regardless of when that happens there's gonna come this time after the war. And what do you see in Juul's future, in, in the, say two or three years after the war ends? For
Sure, first year, we will celebrate our victory every day. It's 100%. Frankly, if you speak about future after two months of war I say to my team, next wars, next war, guys I want Ukraine in this war tomorrow. But we don't know how long it can be. Imagine that the war will not end in our lifetime. Should we do what we are doing. If Anne say, yes, please build our strategy and plan without reference or ending war. And yeah. So today we have no, in our strategy and plan reference that we will do that. When war ends, no, we run what we are doing with no reference to the war. War is the most terrible thing that I saw in my life. We have no other option except in the war, because it is war light against dark future, against past the kind against a and why it always dark.
I couldn't agree more with you. And, and thank you for, for saying it so well. Well, Roman I am hopeful that you and I will again be in the same room at the same time. AIM Group has their, their neck Next Rec Buzz conference scheduled for April in Berlin. That's not all that far. From, from where you're at, I'm hopeful that in the near future that I'll be able to, to celebrate with you in, in Keve and, and toast the success, not just of your team. That's, that's important, but much more so your, your countrymen.
Yeah, I dream about it. I dream about it.
So you know, as, as a closing note for listeners who want to help Ukrainian citizens with humanitarian assistance I set up a GoFundMe with my new friend Andrew Sko from Relocate dot me in the spring. And we've raised tens of thousands of dollars. What happens is that mostly people in the West, but not totally donate money to the GoFundMe. I send a hundred percent of that by PayPal to Andrew. And then Andrew uses a hundred percent of that to purchase sleeping bags, water, food thermal underwear medical supplies basically things that a lot of civilians in Ukraine need simply to get through the day and, and with the winter that, that's upon us. So if anybody is looking as for a way to where they can help Ukraine directly, shoot me an email, I'll send you a link to the, to the GoFundMe and, and together, we'll, we'll make a bit of a difference. My email is steven s t e v e n college recruiter.com. And Roman, for listeners who wanna learn more about you about Jule how would you like them to do that?
You know, Steven, that you said before, it's very important for us, and you said that ordinary people wins this life. We are really thank you for asking money that really help to, to us to Ukraine, to ordinary people. But it's, that you mention is important that you can push your governments because it's important. Yes. Governments help help us Ukraine. So I, I want to say thank you to you and to our listener. If you wanna know more about ju or me, please just, just Google <laugh> and you just, just Google.
Just google it and do not expect the logo to look similar.
Well, Roman, thank you so much for, for sharing some of your story and that of Jule and, and to helping the listeners better understand the sacrifices that Ukrainians have been forced to make and what they, and, and what, what many of them are, are choosing, like some of your coworkers have chose that chose to that chose to enlist. Admirable. you're, you're a great people. Slava, Ukraine,
<Laugh>, thank you.
Inside job boards and recruitment marketplaces is a co-production of Evergreen Podcasts College recruiter and the AIM Group.
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Special thanks to our producer and engineer, Ian Douglas. I'm your host, Peter Oman of the AIM Group, the leading global consultancy in the field of marketplaces and classified advertising. Find out more about our reports on recruitment marketplaces, job boards and classifieds, including our new recruitment marketplaces annual at aim group.com/reports.
I'm your host, Steven Rothberg of job search site college recruiter. Each year we help more than 12 million candidates find great new jobs. Our customers are primarily Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and other employers who hire at scale and advertise their jobs with us. You can reach me at [email protected]