As someone who has dallied in the job market, and is consistently spammed by recruiters, I was well aware of the frustrations of both looking and finding quality jobs. But when I tried to address these issues head on, I couldn’t find a way to keep my personal information from spammy recruiters or to find the quality job opportunities.
Alcamine is a job search platform that puts the job seeker in charge by filtering through the spam and sending special opportunities to their inbox each week. In addition, it only shows users the jobs they want to see so they don’t have to wade through irrelevant or spam emails.
I wanted to create a way that kept users' personal information safe and secure. With this in mind, I built Alcamine to allow users to create a unique email address and input their job search preferences. From there, they are able to add that email address to their portfolio, resume, Github, job boards, and anywhere else they are likely to get contacted by recruiters, taking their personal email out of it. When an opportunity comes into their inbox, Alcamine scores it based on what they have listed they are looking for and delivers an email once a week with the best opportunities.
Once users find a job they're interested in they can take it offline. Alcamine only helps you organize the search and to send additional opportunities from our partners we think you'll like. Starting the conversation with the recruiter is from the user's personal email address to maintain privacy.
Marketing this product had more challenges than anticipated because it was tough to nail down the core value proposition. Was it a special inbox? A job aggregation platform? A job board scraper? A recruiting tool? Ultimately, we landed on making it an inbox first tool after conducting research within the community and based on our own experiences as developers that get bombarded by recruiter emails all the time.
Being inbox first gave us a unique ability to pivot the product into various ways and to deliver on our ultimate vision of making the job search inbound for job seekers.
Creating an email service is something I had never attempted before. There were a lot of unique challenges like ensuring email names are unique, ensuring deliverability, and scaling.
There are two frontend applications: the landing page and the web application. The landing page is built with Gatsby, React, and Styled Components. The web application is built with React, Typescript, Apollo GraphQL, Styled Components, Firebase Auth, Jest, and Ant-Design.
For these quick hitting apps, I traditionally choose Firebase to hit the ground running fast, but chose a more traditional infrastructure here to get closer to the metal. As Alcamine scales, it will need a message queue, granular control over the DB, autoscaling, and machine learning. To accomplish this, I went with Hasura, Postgres, Node, and AWS Lambda.
To handle deployments I served the frontend from Netlify to allow us to have nice CI integration with Github and to manage branch deploys + A/B testing. The server was deployed in AWS onto Fargate, ECS, and RDS with horizontal autoscaling. All of the code was housed in a monorepo to encourage reusability between every facet of the application which has sped up development time and stability by a lot.
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