In this blog, you’ll learn about Indeed Incubator and hear from several employees who have pitched projects. They share what interested them in Incubator and detail their own personal experiences. 

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Indeed is a future-focused company. With new competitors popping up all the time, it’s essential for our survival to stay ahead of the curve. To us, it’s about not being afraid to fail. 

One major way we have fostered and institutionalized innovation at Indeed is through the Indeed Incubator, an initiative to encourage anyone at Indeed to find a better way of doing things. The Incubator created a formalized pipeline where Indeedians can pitch their new product ideas and receive funding and staffing to run the project, in hopes that it could become a full-fledged product.

The Incubator team is not only committed to building next-generation products but also nurturing a culture of intrapreneurship and innovation across all Indeed offices around the world. 

Pioneering Opportunities for Growth

RC Johnson headshot
RC Johnson, Senior Director of Engineering

RC Johnson, Senior Director of Engineering, Indeed Incubator based in Austin, was a part of the original team that helped design and build the Indeed Incubator. He was eager to be involved in creating a team from the ground up that not only focused on new innovations but also partnered with the rest of the organization to ensure the innovations were long-lasting and impactful.

I love getting to explore new product areas that Indeed has never tried before,” says RC, “To me, the exciting part is trying to discover the next “S-curve” to reference “The Innovator’s Dilemma” that Indeed needs to be a part of to stay relevant and to help even more people get jobs. That’s the important part for me, it’s not just the innovation, it’s the innovation on a mission.”

One of the projects he reflected on was Indeed’s Virtual Interviews platform. 

“Until 2020, Indeed was not “in the room” when employers conducted interviews with job seekers. With the Virtual Interviews Platform that the Incubator team has built, we’ve now been in the room for over a million interviews and we’re learning so much more about the candidate experience because of it.”

In addition to Virtual Interviews, RC says two other big wins for Incubator are Hiring Events and Certifications. Hiring Events allow employers to coordinate events, manage event budgets, and interview for multiple roles in one time period either in person or virtually. With Certifications, we index and share certification programs (CNS, CDL, dental hygienist, etc.) so that job seekers can find these programs, validate the quality, and find jobs after completion of the program.

Investing in the Future

Trista Kang, Senior Product Manager in Seattle, joined Incubator because it offered a unique and highly desirable set of circumstances that she’d never seen before anywhere else in the market. Incubator gives Indeedians the chance to bring something new into the world and build it with a unique team. In addition to a financial safety net, there is a culture that rewards learning instead of punishing failure.

Trista Kang Headshot
Trista Kang, Senior Product Manager

“Incubator is evolving how we think about funding,” says Trista, “Previously, Incubator followed a fairly formulaic model of – fund a small team for 3 months, prove out value and continue, or shutdown.  Over time, we’ve been exploring other ways to test in the market, including longer periods of funding, and/or doing a quick experiment to validate an opportunity.” 

 

“It’s allowing us to invest in areas that we wouldn’t necessarily have thought was a good fit for the Incubator model.” 

When Lessons Lead to Wins

Jenny Jiang headshot
Jenny Jiang, Senior UX Designer

Jenny Jiang, Senior UX Designer based in Austin, joined Incubator right before the launch of its first batch of projects. Since joining she has learned many lessons on how to approach solving a problem. 

By working closely with Product Managers, I have learned a lot about how they approach and analyze problems, especially how to leverage quantitative data in order to answer these questions: Are we solving the right problem? How do we know? What data should we measure in order to prove it?” 

With all the knowledge and skills she’s acquired through Incubator she has had quite a few significant wins. 

I helped launch 8 Incubator products from scratch as the sole UX Designer. Target users include job seekers, SMB, and Enterprise employers. Also, 3 products I worked on got successfully acquired by core teams.” 

Jenny is also a part of the team working on the Virtual Interview Platform which hosted 770k interviews in 2021, contributing directly to Indeed’s OKR. 

Solving for Incubator and Beyond

Many of the lessons and skillsets necessary for Incubator correlate to solving any type of problem you are trying to fix yourself. 

Be flexible,” RC advises, “Having a team that’s willing to run fast toward the known problems but willing to pivot when the problem space changes is a real asset to the Incubator, and to Indeed.”

It is important to stay focused and remember what you are trying to solve. 

When building products or features, always focus on the underlying problem, not the solution itself,” says Jenny. 

“When getting stuck, take a step back and think about what is the problem we are trying to solve?”

Incubator has built some of Indeed’s most impactful products and their team is still growing! If you are an independent thinker who thrives in a fast-paced environment, check out some of the open roles Incubator is offering!