While running their recruitment agency, Patrick Flaherty and Matthew Hughes realised that the hiring process could be enhanced with a healthy dose of video.
They promptly threw their energies into creating Infullview with technical chief Raphael Landas last year.
The business, still in Beta mode, allows candidates to apply for jobs with short videos, giving employers a better idea of their suitability beyond a CV but without the requirement of a face-to-face meeting.
Having assembled a star-studded advisory board, the Sydney-based duo are ready to shake up the recruitment world. Flaherty explains the story so far to StartupSmart.
What’s the background to the business?
Matt and me started our own recruitment agency FHG from a bedroom in Manly three years ago, which provided us with the initiative to do this.
We can’t always get to the city for face-to-face meetings and while Skype is great for real-time conversations, there’s certain situations where you want to make a video where you are prepared, polite and gracious.
Recruitment is a black and white industry – sometimes you don’t want to speak to a candidate straight away if they don’t come across well or if they just aren’t the right fit for the role.
We realised no-one was really doing anything with video when it came to recruitment. We wondered if there was a way where candidates could send video to us in a legitimate way.
So what did you do?
We spent all our money to build the platform over the last eight months. It has cost us over $100,000 in server and ongoing development costs.
This is the only horse we are backing at the moment, which we’ve purposely done as we don’t want FHG to clash with it. We don’t want to confuse clients or have any potential conflict of interest, so we are solely focused on Infullview.
Pretty brave decision to leap from an established business to a largely unproven model, isn’t it?
Yes, it’s been a huge rollercoaster. I’m single, 28-years-old and live in Bondi. It’s not a great time in my life to live off a minimum wage!
But we have had a few impressive names around us who have given us confidence in the idea and that it can work. We’ve had great feedback, which really helped with the decision.
We’ve spoken to VCs and we’ve got money in the bank to build this. Raf, our developer, is four weeks away from building the site – functionally, it works, our focus has been UI [user interface] until now.
It’s been the first site we’ve built, so it’s been an uphill battle. There are a lot of two steps forward, one step back. It’s important to have people around you who can put their arm around you and say, “It’s OK, keep going.”
You’ve got a fairly heavy hitting bunch of advisors haven’t you?
Yes, we’ve got Richard Atkinson, who was head of HR for eBay and PayPal in Asia Pacific and has got great contacts at many different levels.
There’s also Colin Seeger, who was head counsel at Polygram. He’s an intellectual property specialist who has helped us get a patent on our system. That’s where quite a bit of our $100,000 has gone.
Gary Smith is the CEO of Sphere Healthcare – he knows how to grow small businesses into big businesses.
We also have Pieter Verasdonck, who is amazing. For a tiny percentage of the business, he put together a whole strategic plan for us. He’s worked with the big eCommerce companies and knows how this space works. He’s our marketing director.
How did you manage to get them on board?
They are all people I’ve known through recruitment. Me and Matt both come from the UK and I’ve been here for four-and-a-half years. In that time, we’ve built relationships with people and got to know them personally. It seemed right to approach them.
So can you explain exactly how Infullview works?
We’ve built it in a way that you can go in, much like LinkedIn, and set up your profile. You can then link to live jobs on platforms such as Seek and build your profile via social media.
As a business, it helps you compare candidates. You can create online job specifications and record a video for one or two minutes explaining the job. You can ask, for example, five specific questions that you require the candidates to answer.
The candidates then click the ‘apply’ button and they either upload their own video they’ve put onto YouTube, or use our platform to create their video.
There are clear instructions on how to do this. It’s all very simple and it allows clients and candidates to getting a better idea from each other what the job entails and what the person applying is like.
But will employers really have the time or desire to sit through a deluge of videos?
We aren’t trying to compete or replace the CV. That’s a mistake that some other businesses in this area have made.
This is ideal for a first or second round interview and helps boost a business’s productivity. At this stage of the recruitment process, there are a lot of people who just aren’t right for the role.
So if you get 50 applications to a job, you can choose 15 of these you want to see more from. You can then ask a set of questions on a URL and get them to leave a video addressing those questions.
I know from being in the industry that you can assess within a few seconds via a CV if someone is completely wrong for a role. But I also know that CVs can be a bit misleading at times.
The video method gives more quality control to employers. It also provides the candidates with the right conditions to post a video.
If you leave it just up to them, they will probably think, “Sod this, why should I do all this?” We sell the fact to them that they can do it all in 15 minutes. There’s three steps to the process and their video is sent.
How are you going to monetise all of this?
We aim to scale an API alongside it that will allow our technology to plug into a third party site. The obvious one is the job boards – on Seek at the moment, there’s a questionnaire that asks you a lot of questions. If you do this via video instead, it’s a much smoother process.
There are a lot of hotspot industries that would love to adopt video in this way, but they aren’t. This can go beyond recruitment, to the dating industry.
What’s the plan from now?
We are still in Beta and we expect we will be up and running within the next four weeks. We’ll start going direct to businesses and offer them different job profile packages and have a payment system in place.
We envision this as a global platform that we can take to the US and UK. As no one is really doing this, it’s exciting, but it’s also scary. We want to grow as quickly as possible and have targeted jobs boards from around the world, although that’s a few years away now.
We’re already talking to a few investors, but we won’t be going anywhere in that sense for the next few years.