Skillar, an early-stage UCD student venture, has developed a new app 'Quik' app to accelerate the part-time recruitment process. Quik enables employers to advertise part-time jobs, shortlist applicants who apply through the app and validate their work experience

Mobile phones have changed people’s expectations. As consumers, we demand our products to deliver right now. People do not wait a long time to hail taxis anymore; they Hailo them. People do not call a takeaway from an old crumpled menu; they Just Eat. People will never spend a long time looking for a part-time job again; they will get them Quik.

Quik by Skillar is aiming to accelerate the part-time recruitment process. Think back to the days when you were looking for a part-time job. If you were lucky, you had a connection and got a job stress-free. However, like most people, you probably prepared your CV, printed it off and walked aimlessly from shop to shop, handing it in and then hoping for a call back.

This same approach has been used for decades and Quik is here to change this. Why can you not submit your application online? Why can you not complete training online?

Quik aims to provide a platform where employers can post part-time job vacancies and interested candidates can apply using their Quik profile. This profile lists a candidate’s experience, which, once validated, enables candidates to start applying for jobs.

Using an algorithm, applicants are ranked and shortlisted for employers, who then choose who to interview. Quik fast-tracks applicants to the most important part of the recruitment process, which is the interview stage.

Behind Skillar is Andrew Desmond, who has just completed a master’s degree in digital innovation at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School; Stephen Jones, who has just completed a degree in chemical engineering at University College Dublin (UCD); and myself, Laurence McNally. I am studying for a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at UCD.

It is this unique combination of innovation and engineering that lead to the creation of Quik.

Stephen and I have been friends from a young age as we grew up in the same town and became great friends with Andrew in first year at college. It does not feel like we are working on a start-up; it feels like three friends having fun trying to solve the problems of the part-time recruitment process.

Getting hired in the digital age

The idea to accelerate the part-time recruitment process came from our own pain of having to travel over 200km to work a weekend job whilst at university.

The problem is getting hired. The process has not progressed into the digital age. Businesses are always short staffed, but looking for new staff takes a lot of effort and if they are only going to work for one semester, it is not worth the investment of time. Quik wants to make the recruitment process simple for both the employer and the potential employee.

Skillar recently won the 2016 UCD Startup Stars entrepreneurship programme. This programme has been developed by NovaUCD, UCD Innovation Academy and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School to provide a framework and support for UCD undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to work together to develop and grow start-up companies.

Quik by Skillar is currently at the feasibility phase and we plan to use our UCD Startup Stars prize-fund to further develop our product. Our aim is that Quik will be a more attractive and faster solution than traditional CVs and online applications for employers who are seeking part-time staff and individuals who are seeking part-time jobs.

The next step is getting a developer on board; we are already in talks with several experienced developers and want to find the one that is the best fit for the team.

The UCD Startup Stars Programme has been a fantastic experience. The four-week mentoring programme at NovaUCD was very intense with teams constantly reworking their ideas and pitching them twice a week. The workshops were very professional and run under the experienced guidance of Mary Cronin (CEO of ThousandSeeds and founder of Lean Startup Dublin).

There was a lot to take out of the programme. Our fundamental learning was focusing on the problem and talking to customers. Questions we constantly asked ourselves were, “What problem is the problem we are solving?” and “Who will pay for this problem to be solved?”

Andrew, who has an undergraduate degree in commerce, was more familiar with many concepts that were part of the workshops. Stephen and I were unfamiliar with many of these concepts, coming from an engineering background, but we were able to get up to speed quickly.

UCD Startup Stars

We were delighted to win the 2016 UCD Startup Stars competition as the standard was extremely high. We pitched last, so we were understandably nervous after sitting through five other great presentations.

Looking to the future, Andrew and Stephen have both started full-time jobs this month and I will return to UCD to complete my final year. We have every aspiration to continue developing Quik in the future and have already made our first move since finishing the programme at NovaUCD by searching for a software developer.

Our end goal is that anyone can move away to college, live abroad for the summer, go travelling and never worry about getting a job – they will just get one Quik. Plus, no business will ever be under staffed as they will be able to hire their employees Quik.

The sponsors of UCD Startup Stars Programme are AIB, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, Local Enterprise Office–Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Xilinx.

Laurence McNally, co-founder, Skillar and masters of mechanical engineering student at University College Dublin O'RiordanTechapp,jobs,NovaUCD,software,UCD
Mobile phones have changed people’s expectations. As consumers, we demand our products to deliver right now. People do not wait a long time to hail taxis anymore; they Hailo them. People do not call a takeaway from an old crumpled menu; they Just Eat. People will never spend a...