Every now and then, I stumble across an idea so cool and so intuitive that I can’t help but feature it. Below you’ll find an interview with Sean Fahey, Canadian entrepreneur, founder of Vidcruiter and a very cool story indeed.
Dave Choate: Can you tell me a little bit about how Vidcruiter got started?
Sean Fahey: Well, I used to have a retail company before this. In the recession, we really got affected, so I needed to reevaluate what I was doing. I started working for an insurance company for a brief amount of time. They wanted me to recruit for them.
I started out not really knowing much about that side of the equation. It only took me a little time to see how inefficient it was. My background was, I studied a lot of workflow management, process management, and I see everything as a process. I saw a process that needed to be cleaned up. What I saw was a tool to help with my recruiting.
The insurance company wanted me to recruit 200 people. There was no rush, but If I was doing it faster, I would’ve made a lot more money. So I thought, “there has to be a tool I can set up where people will sort of interview and screen themselves, and I can interview the most qualified applicants.”
I didn’t really find any. I thought, “Geez, there’s an opportunity here for me to start a business.” I had run my company with a good friend who was a technology guy and we had all kinds of really high-tech stuff, so I was using a lot of the most advanced technology out there. (Vidcruiter was born.)
So we started working with recruiters, got a lot of good feedback. There are a couple of variations on what we do that have been out there for a little bit of time. They’re doing it differently than what they’re doing. They’re still saving companies time. There’s a handful of competitors and they have some pretty clients. Wal-Mart is doing this, and some other big companies.
We by coincidence…we’re more focused on a saas (software as a service) model. Becauase of our technical background, we’re able to bring the table maybe more technical things that maybe those companies aren’t bringing. They’re just targeting it in a different way, and we feel the way we’re targeting it is a better way.
We have a more encompassing solution than what they have. Another one of our advantages is that we’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of different things and try a lot of different things, and we’ve actually changed our business model a few times. At first, I didn’t really understand human resources all that much, and that was a big learning curve for me.
HR is not a big profit center, companies don’t usually spend a lot of money in HR. Even if you’re bringing a lot to the table, it’s just not something most companies spend a lot of money on. We had to re-evaluate our sales strategy, and we changed to a much more favorable for HR departments.
Dave Choate: If I’m an HR department, or I’m an applicant, how does this process work for me? Can you kind of walk me through it?
Sean Fahey: Well, you’re either sent from a link from the job board or you go directly through the recruiter. It depends on the type of position we’re talking about, there’s two different scenarios.
The applicant is either interviewing themselves by either typing their responses or responding by webcam. The recruiter…you show up on Monday morning, and maybe 30 or 100 people have interviewed themselves, which normally you would have had to do manually. The amount of time savings in getting that information is huge. Some applicants screen themselves out automatically. In 1-2 minutes (by reviewing interview and Vidcruiter metrics), you can tell they’re not qualified. You’ve saving a whole bunch of time.
When you save that time, you get the focus now on quality. In the normal hiring process, you might get 100 resumes. You get it down to five finalists, or you might not have enough time to do that. Now it’s like you can get to hone in on those five people, and you can really focus on those five people. You spend three to four more times focusing on that group than you currently do, if not more.
I know companies lose tons of money if they hire the wrong person and train the wrong person.
Dave Choate: Do you believe this is the future of the hiring process, or is it something that’s going to evolve with time?
Sean Fahey: This is the future of hiring, there’s no doubt in my mind.
Dave Choate: Do you see this evolving in say the next couple of years, or is this the big thing?
Sean Fahey: There’s always that social media piece. Right now, you’re using your job board, you’re screening applicants, filtering them, screening them, you have a whole bunch of them and they go through the hiring process. I do notice a lot of people talking about social HR.
They’ve been predicting job boards are going to disappear for a long time, and they’re still here. I think there is a focus on finding more and more efficiencies in the hiring process, and that’s where we’re banking on. This is as close as I’ve gotten to predicting the future.
People don’t like change. Your’e changing their process a little bit. They’re not thinking in terms of “how can I make my job better,” it’s thinking “I don’t want to lose my job.” There is some resistance. I thought when we were going to start it was going to be easy and everyone was going to be on board….but there’s a lot of resistance there. That’s one of the reasons we changed our business model and introduced the free trial. How do you say no to something that is free?
That is the reason that this is…I don’t think it’s going to be suddenly “boom,” everybody’s jumping onto the bandwagon. It’s going to be a slower process. We’re looking to build a long-term business.
We’re in the long haul. We’ve built a strategy that works for that. We are changing our strategy to look for affiliates, in the form of recruiters, to help us expand our market share.
There’s always that social media, so our position is…you’re using your job board, you’re screening applicants, filtering them, screening them, you have a whole bunch of thetm and they go through the hiring process. I notice a lot of people talking about social HR.
Dave Choate: Just a sort of wrapup question here. You’re an entrepreneur yourself and a business owner, and you’ve got an idea you believe in. What advice would you have for small business owners who have those ideas they really have faith in but maybe aren’t quite there yet?
Sean Fahey: One thing that I heard that was pretty good about being in business was that a startup never fails, it commits suicide.
In other words, the owner decides it’s not worth it, I’m not doing this any more. Everyone who has had a company at some point has had that thought. I’ve even seen, not the Facebook guy (Mark Zuckerberg), but probably everybody else. Even Steve Jobs, I saw the old interview with him, and he said he thought this was not going to work at times.
You just keep going. I’ve had that in a couple of businesses, I’m like “yeah, whatever.” It’s just that not quit attitude. If you know that you are doing something that makes sense and should logically make money, then at some point it will.
These people that have ideas for businesses go and pitch them to investors. I saw these guys go up there with an idea for a litterbox house. They had spent $750,000 of their own money into this business. Investors are looking at them and saying are you ridiculously dumb, so you should get advice to make sure your business is logically going to make money.
If you have that, then you should never quit. You could be just one big contract away.
Many thanks to Sean for taking the time to speak with BizEngine. Be sure to check out Vidcruiter today, and let us know what you think of the interview!