INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Listen to the Client, be Flexible and Adapt: Arik Akhverdyan of VCV Tells Us How Not to Surrender to the Pandemic
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Arik Akhverdyan: 2020 has shaken the world in many spheres of people’s everyday life. And now, in addition to COVID, my homeland Armenia is seeing a terrible war raging. My family didn’t escape COVID, but we recovered successfully. I believe it’s really important to be strong during these times, and I am very proud of my close ones that they bravely face all challenges.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded VCV.
Arik Akhverdyan: VCV is a digital recruiting company changing the way businesses hire. Our core tool is a video resume. At first, VCV was a company for actors’ online portfolios. And I was a recruiter at that time. The guys who founded the platform first came to me to ask to consult on how to develop the product, and then they suggested that I stay. In 2013, I launched VCV as an online video recruiting system and had been improving our tools ever since.
How does VCV innovate?
Arik Akhverdyan: The key to innovation is listening to the client — HR managers in our case. We talk to them, find out their frustrations, and then create features that will improve their work and make the hiring process much easier and quicker.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Arik Akhverdyan: Hiring during the pandemic has certainly slowed. Still, companies haven’t stopped hiring, but rather, switched to online formats. We managed to launch a spin-off of our product — a platform where candidates can record their video CVs for free and then send them to the employer. This has become very popular during the new working-online era and has helped many stand out among the crowd of candidates and find a job. We also tailored the platform for education and offered it for free to universities. Thus, we both contributed to education during the pandemic and also spread the word about us. All of this has helped us not only to stay afloat during the pandemic but even to boost our sales.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Arik Akhverdyan: I’d say that we had to make challenging choices, rather than difficult ones. For example, when the pandemic started, we were planning to launch our first major internship program. It was planned to be offline, but when we understood it would be impossible, we quickly adapted and reviewed our whole plan in days. As a result, we found almost 100 interns instead of the planned 10 and made our internship international. The lesson here is to be ready for changes and don’t stick to what was planned if it’s no longer up-to-date. It’s like breaking news in the world of business. Your success depends very much on how flexible you are.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and VCV in the future?
Arik Akhverdyan: One major solution to deal with stress and anxiety is to see a problem not as a huge ball of stress but rather as a puzzle. You take one piece out and solve it. Then another, and another. One by one, step by step, the problem becomes manageable. Another way is not to panic straight away but step away from what seems to be the cause of stress. When you soon return, the problem usually doesn’t seem to be as frightening as it first seemed.
My team members have shown that they are strong even in the face of such a challenge as the pandemic; they know how to adapt and can work efficiently in any situation. So, I see a bright future for us.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Arik Akhverdyan: Companies such as Hirevue and Harqen are among our competitors. To compete successfully, we’re launching new business scaling techniques, starting with our open API to establish the most seamless hiring process. On average, HR managers use about 7 different hiring platforms, and we offer an all-in-one and a fully cloud-based solution. Integration is possible in just a few clicks, and we also offer a unique system of candidate skill assessment.
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