“I wish people would just tell us on Twitter when they’re available.” That bit of conversation turned into Available, a minimalist job board that works entirely through a Twitter bot.

Where We Started

We like to work with a roster of Vancouver’s best and, having been freelancers ourselves, we saw an opportunity to better connect job seekers and recruiters. In addition to that, we wanted to increase visibility and searchability of jobs and specialists by posting in a space that people already use: Twitter.

What We Did

We designed a minimalist job board without the clutter of traditional classifieds; seekers and posters publish everything via the same 140 character Twitter posts that people see every day.

The website we create, Available, collects those tweets in order to connect talent with opportunity. Job seekers tweet “Available” to @HeyAvailable and recruiters tweet “Hiring”. The website takes care of the rest, and you can see for yourself at HeyAvailable.com

Since you can’t have a product without some marketing, we commissioned a marketing plan and hired a freelance content specialist to implement it.

The Results

Currently 300-400 people a week in our tight-knit design and technology community stop by the site to see what’s new, and about the same number follow to see updates about postings, as well as the retweets and local tech and design happenings gathered by our freelance content writer.

As we talked with people using Available, we often heard of a need not so much for jobs, but for the kind of guidance that you see happening in communities with a healthy mentoring culture. The main barrier in mentoring is finding the time, much more so than the willingness to give back. So we created spot mentoring as a new category on Available. This pushed the simple binary hiring/looking for work model to a new place, but it held up well and was well received.

Services Used

Collaborators

Technology

Project Snapshots

So how exactly does this work?

Let’s say you’re an independent casting your net for some work. You’d just tell @HeyAvailable that you’re, well, Available, what you can do and link to a portfolio. For example, local Drupal expert Richard was first to try it out by tweeting:

@HeyAvailable Available 5 hours a week (one hour a day) for “#Drupal office hours”. Got a question? Come on by, I have answers! http://justagwailo.com/

Available put him at the top of the list of people looking for work:

Ricahrd is cool so he was the first to use Available

And true to our original use case, we needed to hire someone for some Rails coding. We tweeted:

@HeyAvailable Hiring: Intermediate #Rails developer who can get by in #PHP and #Javascript. DM to get in contact.

And that turned into:

Ricahrd is cool so he was the first to use Available

With just one tweet Available puts you in the list of people looking for work. Hashtags are interpreted as skills or specialities, and the link as a portfolio. Made a mistake? Just do it again and we’ll overwrite what was there.

The simplicity of the interaction is core to what makes Available work. We’ve recently begun thinking about how to extend the model, and have begun dabbling in automated recommendations for brands that serve specific areas and have web-friendly clientele.