My friend Tim Sackett tweeted this question out last week–what’s the Hotel Tonight of jobs?
For the uninitiated, Hotel Tonight is another on-demand app. Similar to Uber but for hotels, it allows you to scan the area you are in or are traveling to in order to pick up a great deal on a hotel at the level you’re looking for–budget, business, luxury, etc. You scan the deals, pick one in your area and bam–it’s done. After registering, the process is as easy as hitting up Uber or Lyft for a ride. I’m more of a Hotwire guy myself, but that’s another story and a personal preference.
But back to the question–what would Hotel Tonight for Jobs, an on-demand app to find a job today, look like?
It’s an interesting proposition, closer in some ways than you might think, but more distant than some would believe. Here are some notes on what this might look like in the future:
1–Any “on-demand” app to find a job is likely tied to the “Daily Pay” trend, where hourly workers have the ability to get paid immediately for work they’ve done. I wrote about this earlier this week, and the ability to get paid daily is the most important aspect of this concept in relation to creating demand from workers. I don’t go to Hotwire unless I need a hotel that night, Uber drivers don’t drive unless they need cash, and broader segments of hourly employees wouldn’t go to Hotel Tonight for Jobs unless they needed cash at the end of the day. The urgency behind “on-demand” would have to rule.
2–The only firms with a chance to do this are huge staffing firms – think Kelly, Manpower, etc. that already broker in hundreds of thousands of temps on a daily basis. They have the candidate database, they have the backend technology, and so on.
A dark horse to provide this type of app would be payroll companies. My friend and the godfather of HR Tech, Bill Kutik, reported to me that Ceridian already has daily pay as part of their quiver and ADP is suggesting they’ll follow suit shortly. A payroll provider with daily pay functionality has made the first step towards being Hotel Tonight for Jobs, with the primary remaining obstacle being the fact they can’t market the service to all prospects in their database since that data belongs to employers, not the payroll providers. Think about that database for this concept, though. Too bad.
3–Single Employers can’t scale enough to make this concept work. As this article mentions, smart companies ARE playing in the daily pay field to retain hourly workers through their own payroll apps, but HotelTonight for Jobs isn’t in the works for single employers. Employers would go to Hotel Tonight for Jobs to gain access to contingent/temp workers, but they really can’t run the service–not enough scale.
4–Vertical integration in this type of app space combines temp jobs with the gig economy, which means the likelihood of an acquisition by one of the big temp staffing firms of a gig economy matching site like Fiverr to make vertical integration and range of opportunity is maximized.
5–Because our hiring processes for full-time employees are what they are, Hotel Tonight for Jobs is not for full-time positions. We can’t hire someone that quick. It’s the temp/gig economy.
There’s a huge temp agency that has a chance to make this work.
Associates at these firms are already trying to make matches with open jobs at these temp firms, and the on-demand app is just another way to do marketing to temp candidates as well as some light matching with opportunities.
People love their on-demand apps. I’d be surprised if Manpower or Kelly didn’t have a separately branded skunkworks on this type of thing already rolling. If they don’t, their executive in charge of new product/service development is probably sleeping.