Gareth Peterson, Managing Director at Caroo, shares what a week is like in his working life.
Manchester-based recruitment start-up, Caroo, is a platform that uses algorithms to identify, match and notify candidates about roles that suit their skills and experience across a variety of head office job opportunities.
! – This piece was written before the UK went into lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.
I’m a member of the 5am club. Not because that’s what makes you successful. Oh no, I’m up at that time because I have small children tap dancing on my head. I hit the gym and then I’m home, showered, I volley the kids out the door…sorry, I mean say bye to the kids, and I’m in the office by 7:30am. The day always starts with answering 17,000 emails, catching up with investors, and pouring coffee into my eyeballs. The team begin to arrive any time from 8am, so I do a quick brief on the focus of the day and detail my whereabouts in case they need me.
Our focus at the moment is signing up businesses to use the platform. Today I’m meeting with JoinTheDots to film a testimonial on why they are using Caroo and how they found the process so that we can share it on our website and social platforms.
We love a bit of guerilla marketing, so it’s time to meet with Dan from Offended.marketing to plan our next crazy stunt. This week is #ProjectPicker, a stunt where we’re going to hire a cherry picker, and lift our staff up to the windows of offices with signs that say ‘Fed up of working here? Download Caroo.’ Will we get arrested? Who knows?
Once all that’s planned, it’s back to the office to deliver some team training. Our team is expanding rapidly, so it’s really important we take the time to make sure the approach is working well.
Lunch time – been and gone and not even noticed – have an egg and some spinach because despite how busy I am, I don’t want to end up looking like a melted wheelie bin.
The remainder of the afternoon is booked with future businesses looking to find out more about Caroo. Calls, demos, more calls, more demos, a bit of checking LinkedIn to respond to messages and recent comments, then more calls.
7pm – Arrive home to eat with the other half and spend some time with the kids knowing full well once their little heads hit the pillow I’ll be back on the mobile and laptop.
Again, my morning starts with gym, emails, investors, home, shower, launch the kids out of the window…sorry, say bye to the kids, tram with the lady who shouts at her handbag at the front, and then to the office.
I start the working day by checking the numbers (and I check these probably 2 – 3 times per hour, every hour) to see how we’re performing on acquisition. Like my granddad always said, “It’s no use building an amazing brand if the product’s crap.” He also used to say, “Slugs are just homeless snails,” but I was never sure I believed him.
By 8:15 the team is starting to get in. I’m currently spending time supporting my new colleagues in getting up to speed on everything, but we’ve hired self-starters and, to be honest, they’ve got it already. They’re excelling in their roles and I’m mega excited about what 2020 looks like.
We also have an excellent product development team, so once we’ve caught up in the morning everyone gets to work.
We’re product obsessed so feedback from existing and new users is critical. Daily, we’re speaking to dozens of users and trying to understand where we can improve the platform and user experience.
I spend a lot of time working on the product. In the past two years, we’ve completely rebuilt the full backend platform three times and in 10 months carried out 29 major releases of our native apps and countless releases of our employer platform. We’re now redesigning our website ready for the launch of the paid-for-service, so this afternoon is spent focusing on this.
Usual start. Not gonna repeat it again, because you’ll fall asleep. I’m a bit excited because today it’s time to focus on our guerrilla marketing stunts.
We’ve become known for our wacky and weird PR activity, and the content we create off the back of it. Are they fun to produce? No. In fact, I’ve never been more uncomfortable than I have doing this form of marketing. We like to push the boundaries, shall we say?
We’ve filled offices with rescue dogs, put 3000 parking tickets on cars (that were actually. Today we’re planting cherry pickers in front of well-known co-working and shared office spaces around Manchester, and elevating the platforms to 20m above sea-level holding up signs that inform people of our services, “Looking for decent staff? Search Caroo” and “Fed up working here? Search Caroo”. I’ll be honest with you – I’m terrified.
Wow – well that was horrendous. Bad news, I’m still shaking from the heights. Good news, we didn’t get arrested. Time for home, food, emails, and bed.
Leg day at the gym today – pure pain therefore a definite requirement to sit down for a bit this morning. Last time I needed to sit down this much, I’d gotten drunk and sat on one of my kid’s toys. After a busy day out of the office yesterday, it’s time to catch up on product checks, updates with the team and updating the investors.
Film footage is being edited so working with Dan and his team to get the video and social media sound bites right along with the content. Pretty weird seeing myself 20 feet in the air, outside Manchester’s offices. I look like some guerrilla marketing peeping Tom.
The afternoon is spent briefing the team at ThisIsDigital on the plan to launch #ProjectPicker as well as catching up on the various social campaigns we have running.
The remainder of the afternoon and evening is spent reviewing and testing new product features, looking at audience data and where we can improve, as well as using our own platform to engage with users. I think I’ve spoken to close to several hundred app users which I think is pretty good going given we’ve got over 18,000 accounts in total.
For the final time this week the alarm is set for 5am and I head to the gym. During my gym session, I’m probably more focused on exchanging messages about the business with our investors than the actual work out. I call this, ‘thumb day’.
Home. Shower. Hoodie on. Realise pants are on backwards. Put pants on forwards. Realise they’re not even pants and I’ve actually put my wife’s jumper on my legs. Wonder if I can pass it off as a new fashion trend. Decide I can’t and change into actual pants. Say bye to the family and head into the office. Coffee on and I’m ready.
Numbers session this morning – reviewing highlights of the week as well as any challenges.
Then, I pop over to Liverpool to catch up with the dev team at Apposing.
Back to the office – went crazy and grabbed a bit of lunch – first time this week! Smashed it! Another helping of coffee is well appreciated.
As usual, a sudden hit of creativity strikes me so catching up with my PR consultant and Dan to plan some future activity. Sessions like this really excite me. I love seeing our brand being discussed on social media and then having talent managers contact me and say, “when are you bringing me a pie and filling my office with dogs?” Shows that there’s method to our madness and it works.
Bit of down time with the team. A few games of pool allow me to catch up with everyone – check in with them – see if they’re ok and then build up a plan of what we need to work on next week.
Then it’s home on time to spend a bit of time with the kids. It’s been a long, long week. And truth be told, I’ll be working as usual at the weekend. I didn’t choose the startup life. The startup life chose me.