Vancity Entrepreneurs: KarmaHire

Dec 19 2017, 6:03 am

Hiring is an extremely important process for both the company and the prospective new employee. If the wrong person gets hired, trained and then fired, there is a copious waste of time, money, and resources – not to mention a massive headache. Sometimes it’s very hard to judge whether that person is the right fit with just a face-to-face answering the standard fuzzy interview questions. What is the candidate really like when they are solving a complex problem or fighting to meet a steep deadline? This is when their real colours show. As an employer, wouldn’t you like to physically see that, especially if they weren’t in the same city as you? What about you seeing ten people being tested at the same time? This weeks startup, KarmaHire, is making the hiring process a whole lot more…real.

1. Who are you (start with saying you are UBC alum)? Tell us about your business/core idea and how it got started.

Thomas and I met in our last year at UBC, in a class called New Venture Design that paired up business and engineering students. We worked together on writing a business plan and prototyping a product that won prizes in three business competitions. After graduation we used that momentum to start our company. 

2. What exactly does KarmaHire do and how does it benefit organizations? Does it benefit interviewees?

KarmaHire is a video interviewing and technical testing platform that helps companies find the best talent ten times faster. Our tool gives companies a way to send out online challenges to their shortlisted candidates. As the candidate is working on the challenge, we automatically create a screen recording of the candidate’s progress so that hiring managers can view the work at their leisure. It’s an extremely flexible tool that can work for a variety of tests from programming to 3D design to sales and marketing. 

With KarmaHire, companies have found they can instantly see how well someone can work under pressure, who thinks faster, and who are the true masters of their craft. 

Applicants also love the KarmaHire experience. It gives them a chance to work on an intense challenge and be hired based on their true skills. Even if a candidate doesn’t  have the strongest resume or work experience, they can really stand out by taking a KarmaHire challenge and land that dream job. 

3. You seem to have some involvement with both GrowLab and Launch Academy. Tell us how you got involved with them and how they have helped make KarmaHire what it is today and what it is aiming to be in the near future. What is the future plan for KarmaHire?

We are proud members of the GrowLab Farm team, and have been working with Launch Academy for the last three months. The mentorship and community in Launch Academy has been invaluable. Working in an environment with other startups who are facing the same challenges you are has been incredibly rewarding and motivating. Being members of the program has helped us build great connections with advisors, investors, channel partners, and customers. 

Our plans are to revolutionize the recruitment industry by building the next generation of hiring tools. We aim to be the market leaders in skills assessment and digital hiring. It will take the right team and network to get there, and we’re very excited about the opportunity. 

4. This is a very saturated space, what are some of the biggest challenges you are facing?

Having an effective and scalable go-to market strategy is key. We need to gain mind-share of our target market as the best way to find top talent. One way we’re tackling this challenge is by hosting large scale virtual hiring fairs. We’re currently hosting the BC Tech Fair, a virtual career fair showcasing Vancouver’s hyper growth technology companies like Hootsuite, Payfirma, EastSide Games, and Layer 7 (and Vancity Buzz). With over 40 companies and 2700 candidates participating, it ended up being one of the largest career fairs ever in BC!  The fair is still open for candidates to browse great companies, apply for jobs, and take our skill testing challenges to show off their skills. Our design challenge involves rebranding the Vancouver Public Library, and candidates are really enjoying it! 

We’ve got a very clear roadmap for the next year, and to execute on that strategy we’ll need to grow our team. Finding top talent is always a challenge, luckily we’ve got KarmaHire to solve it for us. 

5. How does this improve the city of Vancouver? What real-world problem are you solving?

We’re solving the problem of matching talent with opportunity. Hiring is a critical aspect of building a world changing business, and we’re giving companies the tools to do it much better and more efficiently. By lowering the friction in the employment market by giving companies more information and candidates more chances to show off their skills, we’re helping to grow the economy and create more jobs. 

In terms of Vancouver, our goals are to help local companies find the talent they need to fuel their growth in this amazing city. Its essential that we attract and retain talent to build a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem, and a huge aspect of that is matching talented people with the right opportunities.

6.  What’s your advice for current or potential entrepreneurs?

Get out of the building.  There’s no sense in building a business in a bubble. You need to talk to EVERYONE, make connections, and get as much feedback as possible to help you hone in the pain points and problems you’re solving. Its easy to sit back and come up with earth shattering ideas, but the first question you need to answer is “are we making something people want?”

Cool huh? It’s going to be interesting how the hiring process evolves and what tactics improve the speed and accuracy of scooping the right talent. Challenging candidates on the spot and just seeing the nuances they act out while they solve big problems is definitely a great way to better validate that gut feeling of the employer. It’s going to get pretty interesting when multiple people are solving a problem and the other candidates know (or don’t know) that they are competing against other people in real time! A few things probably need to get past HR before companies go crazy with this, but nevertheless, it’s exciting and definitely the future. Get your game face on Vancouver!

You can follow KarmaHire on Twitter and Facebook.

Stay in touch @pauldavidescu

Photo Credit: GrowLab (James and Thomas meeting investors in Seattle)

*Vancity Entrepreneurs is a weekly feature on the city’s most notable entrepreneurs or startups that are making Vancouver a better place. If you think your venture deserves to be on the series, send [email protected] an email explaining why*