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Social Media Portal interview with Adam Butwilowski from Bubble Jobs

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 11 October 2012

Social Media Portal interview with Adam Butwilowski from Bubble Jobs

Social Media Portal profiled interview with Adam Butwilowski, managing director at Bubble Jobs on the Bubble Digital Career Portal

Bubble Jobs logoSocial Media Portal (SMP): What do you do there at Bubble Jobs?

Adam Butwilowski (AB): I’m the managing director. I’m the one to blame for coming up with the business idea! What do I do? A bit of everything really... develop the ongoing strategy for Bubble, new business sales, keep everyone happy and motivated, develop strategic partnerships, make the tea and constantly annoy the team with my new ideas for Bubble (on a daily basis!).

SMP: Briefly, tell us about Bubble Jobs (for those that don’t know), what is it and what does the company do?

AB: Bubble Jobs is a niche, online job board for the web, digital, ecommerce and social media markets. We advertise the latest jobs in the sector directly from major global brands, exciting venture backed start-ups, technology businesses and specialist digital recruiters in the UK and Europe.

SMP: Tell us a little about Bubble Jobs’ new portal, what is it called, when did it launch and why was it started?

AB: The new portal is imaginatively called the “Bubble Digital Career Portal” and we just launched it last week. There are a number of reasons behind the idea and why it was started.

We all absolutely love the digital industry and running a job board focussed on the sector you really get absorbed into it and develop a deep insight into what’s going on.

We also know that a job board is only really going to appeal to a small percentage of our industry audience (those at any moment in time who are looking for a new job or hiring talent). So we wanted to create something, which would appeal to a much wider audience whilst still being ‘career’ related. So we’re hoping that the Digital Career Portal will offer something for everyone whether they’re a job seeker or not, a complete newbie or an industry veteran.

Finally we wanted to ‘do our bit’ for the industry. We’re well aware that there’s a shortage of talent in the market so we’re hoping the Digital Career Portal can play a small part in getting the next generation to “think about a career in digital.”

SMP: How long did it take to create and what are its goals?

AB: To be honest, we had the idea quite a while ago. We had lots of team meetings and long days with the flip charts and marker pens. Then we decided to just get on with it, got our heads down and pretty much put together the whole thing inside of two months. We’ve had a bit of help from colleagues and friends of the business to get this put together and it was great to see everyone get on board with the idea.

Our goal is to build an interconnected community of people in digital and to provide a platform and portal which people want to be a part of regardless of their career circumstance. Our job board is there to help job seekers and employers connect, the portal is there for everyone else. Our other main goal is that we really want some great interaction with the portal. We want people to give us their ideas and suggestions about how we can grow and develop the site. I guess my vision is that it becomes “something for the community, built by the community.”

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?

AB: Like I said before, we’re hoping that the Career Portal will offer something for everyone. We’ve got specific areas of the portal aimed at schools, colleges, universities, new starters in the digital industry and industry professionals. We’re building a really useful career resource for anyone connected with digital whether they’re considering their first steps in the industry or if they’re looking to broaden their experience.

SMP: How will you promote the new portal (and how will you make it social)?

AB: We’re determined to promote the portal ‘organically.’ We’re not going to mass advertise it and ram it down people’s throats. The portal is there for those who have an interest. So we’re going to promote it through our existing social media channels, through the job board, or blog and also through partners, events and other channels such as the BIMA D-Day initiative.

Photograph of Adam Butwilowski, managing director at Bubble JobsSMP: What sort of content are you creating for the portal and who will be managing it?

AB: The short answer is lots! There’s a wide variety of content from digital industry guides, presentations and guides showing routes into the digital industry from A-level or University Degree, a university directory showing which universities offer relevant degree courses. We’ve also got loads of interview tips, CV and careers advice as well as career development and training guides and links. We’ve even developed a Digital Career Finder quiz, and that’s just for starters!!

SMP: How did the relationships with the BIMA and The Times Educational Supplement (TES) come about for D-Day and how does that fit in with the new portal?

AB: We became aware of the D-Day initiative and thought it was very much in line with our ambitions for the portal. So, I picked up the phone and we got talking with the team at BIMA and they’ve been really supportive. The work that BIMA and the TES are putting into the D-Day initiative is all focussed on getting the next generation of school leavers to consider a career in digital and that’s exactly what we’re trying to achieve with areas of the portal.

SMP: How are you going to maximise those relationships?

AB: We’ve shared a load of content and provided the TES with collateral for their teacher’s resources on the TES website. We’re all going to be promoting each other’s efforts via social media, our blog and other online channels in the run up to the event so it’s a real collaborative effort. We’re looking forward to it.

SMP: What are the low moments of what you have been doing so far (regarding the new portal)?

AB: Actually, I don’t think we’ve had any low moments as such. Maybe right at the start when we realised how much we had to do on top of the hectic days we have running the Bubble Jobs job board and the fact that there were going to be some long nights ahead. The lure of free pizza definitely helped though!

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far (regarding the new portal)?

AB: Seeing it all come together so quickly and, of course when we got the Digital Career Finder Quiz up and running. Testing that out on friends and colleagues was a lot of fun!

SMP: What do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities (for the new portal and recruitment in general)?

AB: I think the biggest challenge for the portal will be growing the user engagement levels with the site. I think there’s always a lot of cynicism around recruitment. There are a lot of job boards and recruiters selling their wares and trying to capture job seeker information so there’s always likely to be some wariness about ‘yet another’ site dealing with careers.

I think we’ve done our best to show that this is simply going to be a great, free to use, no strings attached resource for users but I think we’ll still need to break down some barriers with people. It’s always going to be a challenge to get people to buy into what you’re doing and particularly to keep coming back and contributing to the ongoing development and growth of a community portal like this.

In a funny way, the challenges also represent the opportunities. If we achieve the kind of user interaction and engagement we’re looking for I think the portal could genuinely become one of the best resources out there for the sector. I mean if we can get people talking about digital, contributing ideas and content and if we can play a small part in attracting some new blood into the industry, even a few, then I think it will have been a great success.

SMP: What are the next moves for Bubble Jobs new portal and especially in terms of social media?

AB: To be honest, the next moves for the portal are going to be all about Social Media. I think our Social Media Manager Anna is going to be pretty busy over the next few weeks.

We’re looking to engage with our target audience through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, promote the idea and get people talking. We’re looking at a Pinterest strategy and there’s a YouTube initiative we’re pushing out in the next few weeks. The whole idea behind the portal is that we want it to be social, not like a forum, but a place where people of all experience levels in digital, (including none) can engage and find genuinely useful information that will help them with their career no matter what level they’re at.

SMP: What are considered the top digital skills sets that people need now?

AB: Ooh, putting me on the spot there!

I would say web development and web design skills are definitely up there. There’s a huge demand for programmers across all languages especially Java and HTML, and if you’ve built up proficiency in some of the more niche languages then you’re likely to be in demand. Digital Marketing, (any discipline) is also huge and certainly one of the most popular job groups we advertise on the Bubble Jobs website. On top of that apps development, (Android & iOS), user interface, usability and games development skills have been trending significantly in terms of demand over the last few months. It’s not really a surprise given the continued rise in smartphone usage and mobile computing.

SMP: Why are digital skill sets so important for people and how can they indentify them?

AB: The digital sector is only going to grow. We’re never going to go backwards from where we are today, that’s just the way the world is. Just look at the number of smartphones and tablet devices out there.

They’re all serving a single purpose, which is to enable us to consume more and more information more of the time. And now with ultra fast internet speeds we’re seeing huge growth in video on demand, apps which enhance your live TV viewing experience, in game betting etc. At the heart of all this is digital and the demand for people with skills to help keep pushing the boundaries is only going to increase.

How can people identify them? If you’re talking about how people can identify the digital skills they might have themselves, I think a lot of it comes down to aptitude. That’s why I also believe it’s really important to look to the next generation, the ones just starting out in their secondary school studies. This generation has been born into and is growing up with digital, (5 year-olds can send emails on iPhones and know their way around a Sky remote control!) They can pick up the latest technology quickly because they’re growing up with it and they’re the ones who will have the aptitude and ability to quickly figure out which particular area of technology they’re most comfortable with.

If you’re talking about employers and recruiters who are looking for digital skills, I think they actually have quite an advantage over those recruiting for other disciplines. With the digital industry so geared around accessibility of content, for most digital positions it’s easy to ask and get real time examples of people’s work. If you’re hiring for a Social Media Manager ask them for their social media accounts to see how they used social to promote their current employer. If you’re after a Graphic Designer or Web Developer take a look at a portfolio of their work or website links. In the digital space it’s much more difficult to ‘blag’ how good you are!!

SMP: How can they nurture these digital skill sets and what might barriers be (or be perceived to be)?

AB: Depending on what specific area of digital someone is focussing on there’s a number of ways in which people can nurture their skills. If someone’s a budding social media manager then they could keep up to date with the latest social media platforms and experiment with them to see what kind of engagement they can generate.

For example, they could do a project for a local school, business or community site and see if they can use social media to promote an event or project. Ambitious developers or designers could build a few websites for themselves or friends or create a simple mobile app and publish it, (there’s a plethora of free tools out there).

I guess the bottom line is that the digital sector offers a host of opportunities to take something you’re really interested in, experiment with it and create something tangible out of it at the end. That gives people the opportunity to say, “Hey look what I can do!”

SMP: What are your top tips for job seekers to realise their digital potential?

AB replies with:

  • Be creative – there are literally thousands of opportunities out there. There’s new avenues opening up all the time so think about what you enjoy doing, think about how you could develop that into something that you could make a career out of.
  • Be determined – don’t let anyone bring you down. Those that say your idea is crazy don’t have the imagination or the personal drive to do it themselves.
  • Research – This industry is moving so quickly and technology is developing at an unbelievable pace. Keep up to date with trends and show that you’re on the ball.
  • Find a niche – and stick to it. Although there are thousands of opportunities out there what employers want is experience. The advantage of the digital sector is that due the fast paced nature of the sector, you may only need a relatively few years compared to other industries. Experience in this market is a premium commodity so use that to your advantage.
  • Don’t be afraid to go on your own – the digital industry is synonymous with entrepreneurism. There are new start-ups springing up every day, even in a recession. Digital businesses are where the investment is so if you have a great idea, run with it... Zuckerberg did!

SMP: Is there anything else you’d like to add (and about the new portal)?

AB: Just one thing. We really hope that people embrace what we’re trying to do here. We want anyone with an interest in digital to pop on over, take a look and get involved. The idea wasn’t to have a complete package at launch; in fact, we just wanted to provide a starting point. The real value in the portal will be if we can develop an interconnected community, which is contributing ideas to the benefit of everyone.

SMP: Best way to contact you and Bubble Jobs new careers portal?

Facebook -

Twitter - @BubbleJobs

LinkedIn – Digital Careers Group

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

AB: Whilst I’d love to say Eggs Benedict (my favourite), it was Bran Flakes ☹

SMP: What’s the last good thing that you did for someone?

: Helped someone find a job.

SMP: How many hours to you work a week?

: As corny as it sounds it really is 24/7 when you run your own business.

SMP: If you weren’t running (or working on) Bubble Jobs what would you be doing?

AB: Working on a nature reserve looking after wild turtles or dolphins or running a beach bar somewhere in the tropics… or both!

SMP: What was you first ever job (and give it a score of 10, 10 being great)

AB: Pub cellar inspector for a brewery during my university holidays (amazing how much free beer I got) 10/10.

SMP: When and where did you go on your last holiday?

AB: Canal boat in Milton Keynes area with friends... great laugh!

SMP: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

AB: Appreciate how lucky I am to have an office to come to (cheesy but true).

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

AB: Invisibility – can you imagine the fly on the wall conversations you could be a part of?

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