Start-Ups.Co really enjoyed interviewing the brilliant entrepreneur; Mr. ‘Alex Cole'; One of the best employees at the US- based Start Up “CareerStarter”.
Below, is the full interview that we have conducted :
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
CareerStarter.com is an online recruiting platform that uses a patent pending method Competition Based Hiring (CBH), video introductions/interviews, and relevant work samples so companies can select the right candidate for the job positions. We work with companies to create unique, customized challenges. Those challenges allow a company to efficiently seek out applicants with relevant skills, experience, and/or cultural fit.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
The company was founded in October 2012 and is an earlier stage start-up that has acquired funding. We are currently growing to by increasing our publicity and awareness, while taking on more requests of clients for our recruiting services for job and internship opportunities for their companies. As we continue to test our hiring method, we are looking to grow our reputation and validate our process.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
The business model is that hiring managers and companies will use the paid services provided by our company to recruit top talent that not only has the skills and personality being sought after but decrease employee turnover by finding a strong cultural fit increasing retention and job satisfaction.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Our team met at Indiana University while pursuing different career and educational paths. David White is a Co-founder and Executive Director of Legal Counsel, in charge of business operations and legal guidance. Chris Hollins is a Co-founder as well and Director of Business Development. Matt Smith is our CEO and CFO. Myself, I am helping market and develop the growth of the company.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
The hiring method and online service we offer sets us apart from our competitors in this market and allows us differentiate due to our unique skill and competition based hiring platform. The majority of the services offered by head hunters and job boards fail to recognize the root of the problem, which is that a resume isn’t always an accurate representation of the candidate’s skill in question and their cultural fit within the company’s organization is vital. The job market is tough, why waste time hiring an employee that isn’t right for the position and company?
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
CareerStarter’s networks continue to grow as our job opportunities and talent acquisition being sought after expands. Companies are getting on board with our developed hiring concept which is increasing the validity and overall success showing that it truly does work. We have also had publications in online news sources, college papers and articles, and been able to speak at university forums.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
Our competitors are job boards and recruiting websites such as Monster.com, Career Sushi, Glass Door, ect. Although those are a few of our top competitors in this specific market, we believe are unique hiring process is a clear competitive advantage over them that will allow us to stand out from the rest. The fact that we bring something to the table that the rest don’t will hopefully play a big part in our success.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
The obstacles we faced was the lack of funding and resources to develop our product (website). As well as the lack of expertise in certain areas until we found the individuals and missing pieces to become successful. We never gave up on the task at hand, we continued to network and connect with others that could help when needed.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
The key thing outsiders don’t completely understand is the overall concept which was created and hiring method we use that other companies do not. When trying to envision what we do in contrast to our competitors, most often people try to draw comparisons and a relationship to existing website companies which distorts their perceptions until it is fully explained and conceptualized.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
I believe our company is going to succeed because not only do we offer a solution to the current difficult job market, but we have a highly dedicated and relentless team of talented individuals. What we don’t already know, we will research and find out until the problem is solved. We have the support of others around us to get us to where we need to go.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
Geographically we want to expand throughout the United States by supplying job positions and career opportunities in all states and cities. Being an internet based company makes the task somewhat easier with modern day online marketing but we still have a long ways to go nor are we anywhere near to where we want to be in the end.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
The concept was created when the realization occurred that the economy and job market was becoming tougher for graduates and job seekers to find a position in a career they enjoyed let alone a job period. With massive amounts student debt burdening graduates, it is almost impossible to stand out of a crowd and show your skills to an employer before the interview with just a resume alone.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
I learned that it takes a lot more than just a good idea and a dream to be an entrepreneur. Dedication, motivation and an optimistic attitude that failure is certain are all attributes needed as well as surrounding yourself with people that are smarter than you and have the skills needed. Making your goals into habits was one of the hardest but most rewarding things for me.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
I believe six months from now the biggest problem could potentially be finding the resources and right programmer that can continue to develop the website to our specific needs as things constantly are changing. Catering to the customers functional needs is key in keeping a website company up to speed and staying relevant.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
The benefit for the user on the employer side is to receive a highly qualified candidate with the skills and personality needed for their organization. They are able to pre-interview the applicant by relevant work samples, competitions/challenges, and video introductions and interview questions. For the user that is seeking employment, our website allows them to set themselves apart from the rest of the competition by illustrating who they are and the skills they possess.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
Customers and users found out about us through published articles, online marketing and social media, and personal contacts we have established. We need to continue to expand our existing networks with companies, individuals, colleges and universities, and employment resources. In the future we hope to reach more customers by publicity through major news sources.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Our current and target customers are companies looking to hire. This could consist of anyone from hiring managers, business owners, executives, human resource departments, ect. Likewise, the job seeker is another customer of ours who we aim to target. We have to make the website appealing and pleasing to them since they are one of the end users as well.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
New customers come from universally anywhere, since our start-up is targeting anyone looking for a job or employee. I think new customers try our website because it is different than your typical job board and they truly need to diversify to find a job opportunity in this stringent market or find an employee that is a good fit for the company. From a hiring standpoint, it is highly valuable to not waste resources on employee turnover and to retain he or she.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
As of now, we are working on gaining more traction but the ones have used it, love it. It is different than most other recruiting websites or services. It allows for the pre-screening of applicants before the interview process so eliminating the unlikely candidates and choosing the ones with the right skills and personalities is made easier, reducing costs and time.
20. How are you going to scale?
We are going to scale our company’s progress and grow proportionately to our needs. Once our goals are met we will take into account the next step in our plan of action to continue moving forward. We don’t want to overestimate our current capacity but underestimate our current needs, finding that balance is vital.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
We need to continue to improve and develop our company website to provide all the features and functionality necessary to provide the ultimate user experience. It looks very professional as it is but we are still working on ironing out the details. There are quite a few things that need to be added to increase the value of our site to customers.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Eventually, if we get to that point but at the moment we are not considering internationalizing the company until we establish large amounts of growth and expansion here in the U.S. It would be premature. When and if the time comes, we will have to develop a strategic plan to expand our operations in a way that provides the most support to the bulk of our customers.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
I think we have the probability of becoming very big over time. Nothing of significance is built over night. I think we are able to because we found a niche in the market. We plan to achieve our goals by moving forward and continuing to grow when we have the room to. We will definitely need more financial resources to achieve the majority of our long term goals.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We are looking to hire internally at some point, but right now we are just recruiting for current clients of ours which can be found on our website at www.careerstarter.com. We will need to hire for the following positions in the future: – Social Media & Marketing Internship – Rub on Rails Programmer – Account Manager
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
Yes, we are looking for Venture Capitals and other funding sources to perpetuate us further. Potential investors and all other inquiries can be directed to the following. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 513-646-3949 or my colleague Chris at email@example.com. Any feedback or recommendation would be appreciate. Thanks!
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
The only advice I have is to never give up on a dream whether how big or small it is. Do something you love!
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Not at this time. Thanks