We’re sitting down with RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP) participants to learn their stories, find what inspires them and share with the community.
BlueRecruit is the online job matching platform that’s made for blue collar workers. Founder & CEO, Rich Camacho, was inspired to create the company after hearing about the frustrations his father-in-law had with hiring skilled laborers. He now leads the three-man dream team that runs this thriving organization. In a previous life, Rich served in the Army as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot and is passionate about connecting veterans with job opportunities. Rich is optimistic, realistic and straightforward. We shared a fascinating conversation about growing a talent acquisition company during a time of economic crisis.
Q: What does BlueRecruit do in a nutshell?
A: We are creating a platform to connect America’s blue collar skilled laborers with companies looking for their talent.
Q: What inspired you to start this company?
A: Before BlueRecruit, I was in talent acquisition for four years. I was an executive at a recruiting firm that helped veterans break into corporate America. I had a lot of exposure to HR talent acquisition, but what really opened my eyes to the problem was when my father-in-law, Joe, called me up one day saying, “Tell me what i did wrong.” He told me he was trying to hire auto painters for his auto shop in Florida. He went to Indeed, created a job post and received about 80 resumes – all from HOUSE painters. As he’s asking me what he did wrong, I tell him, “nothing.” Indeed did exactly what it was supposed to do. It connected you with resumes using its algorithm based on keywords and location. Unfortunately, that algorithm isn’t ideal when seeking out skilled labor.
After that experience, I remember thinking, there’s got to be a better way to connect skilled laborers to companies that need talent. And frankly, it’s not resumes. Blue collar jobs on average require four times the number of hard skills as white collar roles and yet there is not a single platform that matches companies with talent based on experience and certifications.
My colleague, Matt Smith, always says we created the match.com for blue collar workers. I kind of hate it when he says that, but it’s true. It’s a platform that matches workers with companies looking for people with their specific skills and attributes.
Q: What’s your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?
A: Just Wednesday, I got a phone call from a job seeker who used our platform, telling me he had just gotten a job offer. He’d been unemployed for two months because of coronavirus and then tried the platform and got a job in a few days. He was ecstatic. I have no idea who this person is, I don’t know if he has a family or what his situation is, but I do know he has had no income for two months. And I think it’s so cool that I get to play a part in rebuilding someone’s life and help them move forward, particularly for the large population of blue collar workers who may now be finding themselves out of a job amidst coronavirus.
Tools like LinkedIn are amazing of course, but how many welders are on LInkedIn? According to my father-in-law, the vast majority of people they hire comes from someone just driving up to the shop and asking for work. Many skilled laborers stay at the same job for years and years because they have no idea how to go about looking for another job. That’s changing now.
Perhaps even more than that, though, I’m most excited about hiring my own people and doing the same for them.
Q: Do you have any mentors or role models that have inspired you while you’ve been building your business?
A: Our best mentors thus far have been through the CED mentorship program. We started that program in January or February and it has been invaluable.
I also admire Ken Langone, who helped finance Home Depot in the early days. I read his book, I Love Capitalism. In it he shares his concept of setting up a business so that as many people as possible could one day retire comfortably. Under his model, even a store associate can one day retire as a millionaire because they helped grow the business. I love that concept, that with sweat, literally anyone can work their way up.
Q: Any advice for entrepreneurs?
A: Everything takes longer than you think- raising money, designing a marketing campaign, building a website… Everything takes longer and costs more than you think. Just be prepared for that. But things work out. Sometimes an investment company comes in at just the right moment as you’re about to run out of money and saves the day.