A startup with a new spin on English-language learning, BlaBla EdTech offers a unique way of language acquisition for English-language learners all over the world.
Like many entrepreneurs and founders, BlaBla’s CEO, Angelo Huang, started the company based on his personal experiences. Despite studying English for years in school, Angelo always struggled with speaking English. In his eyes, the reason for this was simple – he didn’t have a chance to immerse himself in the English language or practice speaking.
Years later, Angelo had the opportunity to run a global company based out of the United States. The chance to immerse himself in the language pushed him to improve his English speaking and listening skills.
Angelo realized that he was not the only person in this situation. Like him, many other people were also experiencing the same problem. If it took him so long to perfect the English language, he was sure it was also a problem for others. Many other English language learners don’t live in a native-speaking environment where they can immerse themselves in English.
Out of this realization came BlaBla EdTech.
At less than a year old, and having just graduated from the acclaimed Y Combinator startup accelerator program this summer, BlaBla has already come a long way as an organization. In just a short period of time, they’ve launched their product, accumulated a library of content and monetized their app.
BlaBla offers a new way for people to learn English as a second language. To do so, it combines interactivity with TikTok-style videos from fluent English speakers to help people practice listening and speaking.
BlaBla is a growing company with more than 16 full-time employees and 40-50 content creators around the world. They’re off to a great start, but to become the global leader in second language learning, they have a long way to go yet.
With more than 11,000 visitors to their platform a week (and growing), what BlaBla needs most is more content creators who can create quality, educational content for their users to add to the impressive library of content they’ve already built.
The challenge is in finding the right type of person to create the content that they need. When hiring content creators, BlaBla is looking for a particular kind of person – someone who can create content that will keep viewers engaged while at the same time offering educational content. It takes a special type of person to be able to do this.
When seeking new candidates, BlaBla has set the bar high. For them, its quality over quantity. They don’t necessarily need a large number of content creators – they need quality content creators who are very good at creating short, engaging 1-minute videos that enable people to practice their English. And there needs to be educational value in what people create.
Overwhelmingly, they are looking for skilled candidates who know how to create quality content, as it would be too much of a drain on their time to train people.
Qualifications BlaBla is looking for in an ideal candidate:
- People who already understand the app and what its objective is
- Previous experience as an online tutor is helpful but not required
- Creators who understand the audience
- People that know how to create fun, engaging Youtube-style content
Before finding Teach Away, BlaBla used recruitment platforms like Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter for about half a year. According to Angelo, these platforms yielded mixed results.
Using the generic online job boards, BlaBla was able to get many applications and resumes, but a lot of the people who applied were not a good fit. Job-seekers who use these platforms come from all walks of life. Angelo received applications from all sorts of unqualified applicants – virtually anyone who was looking for a part-time job. On the other hand, some applicants they received were great. Those applicants understood how to communicate with BlaBla’s audience and created good content. Others were just looking to make a quick buck.
Consequently, Angelo and his team had to spend a lot of time and energy finding the right candidate from the massive pile of applications they received.
Once BlaBla found Teach Away’s exclusive network of educators and online teachers, they quickly realized there was no need for them to continue using Ziprecruiter or Glassdoor.
BlaBla signed on for an initial 3-month recruitment subscription with Teach Away. This subscription enabled them to post unlimited jobs on the Teach Away Job Board and redirect applicants to apply through BlaBla’s application platform.
As BlaBla was a new platform unique from other clients, they found they easily stood out from other English language learning companies and as a result got a lot of interest from candidates who wanted to try something different. With BlaBla, teachers wouldn’t have to sit in front of a camera all day and teach kids one-on-one; they had the freedom to create content that users all over the world could access to learn and practice their English skills.
Teach Away has turned out to be an excellent partner for BlaBla as they’ve found a source for the very targeted audience they need. With the candidates they receive from Teach Away, they feel confident that the applicants have the education background that will enable them to engage students and create meaningful educational content. The only thing they have to worry about is whether the teacher candidates they receive have the requisite production skills necessary to create the type and quality of content they’re looking for.
What’s even more important for a fast-growing startup is that they no longer need to spend a lot of time or resources filtering through unqualified applications. The candidates on Teach Away’s platform have the necessary qualifications they’re looking for.
Since they’ve started working with Teach Away, BlaBla has received over 1,000 applicants from Teach Away.
“Teach Away has built a strong reputation among the teaching community,” Angelo said. “They definitely have a lot of great, great talent in their network.”
An important part of BlaBla’s application process is that candidates must submit a sample video so they can assess the candidate’s ability to create content. Approximately 10%-20% of the BlaBla applicants from Teach Away have completed this important step. Of these, Angelo estimates that they’ve interviewed 50% of the applicants and will subsequently hire between 20%-30% of them as BlaBla content creators.
Over the time they’ve worked with us, BlaBla has hired between 40-50 talented content creators, which means nearly 100% of their content creation staff has been sourced through Teach Away!
Angelo is really happy with the quality of applicants that are coming to him through Teach Away. In his business, he can’t just hire candidates who are good at teaching, they also have to be able to perform well on camera. Clearly, he’s finding the right mix in the candidates that he’s receiving from Teach Away.
“With Teach Away, we don’t need to worry about the teaching qualifications of the applicants we receive. We only need to worry if they have a great personality – people want to see the real person behind the camera.”