Omer Molad, co-founder and CEO at Vervoe tells us how the agency predicts job performance using skills assessments that showcase the talent of every candidate.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Omer Molad: We’re doing really well. We’re fortunate to be living in Australia, where things seem to be under control right now. My wife and I welcomed a baby girl into the world on October 20th while Melbourne was still in a hard lockdown. It was a surreal experience – Covid tests the morning of the delivery, marks in the delivery room – but everything worked out in the end.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Vervoe.
Omer Molad: David Weinberg and I founded Vervoe together after being friends for a long time. He has a tech background, although he once ran a bakery, and I worked in banking for a long time, and also spent time in the humanitarian sector and serving in the military.
We both felt that there was a really big disconnect between how companies make decisions about people and what those people actually bring to the table. Too often, companies are obsessed with things like degrees, where people worked, and other parts of people’s background that simply don’t translate into on-the-job performance. We wanted to change that and give companies a way to hire based on what people can actually do, not how good they look on paper.
How does Vervoe innovate?
Omer Molad: What we do at Vervoe is give candidates an opportunity to do the job before they get the job. It’s like a job audition, but it’s all done online, and it can be done for every job.
Think about it. If you had coffee with Roger Federer or saw his high school grades, would you know how good a tennis player he is? Obviously not. But when you see him on the court, in action, you get to appreciate not just the talent but also the elegance. We think it’s the same for everyone, in every job. You need to see them in action.
We make that possible at scale by giving every job applicant an opportunity to showcase their skills – for that specific job – and then automatically ranking them based on how they performed.
The other interesting thing about what we do is that we learn from the preferences of our customers and adjust their hiring outcomes accordingly. This gives every one of our clients their own unique hiring playbook. Every company is unique, and that’s why it makes sense to look for slightly different things in the people they hire. That’s the secret weapon we give them.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Omer Molad: At the start of the pandemic, we didn’t know what was going to happen. Everyone thought the world was ending, and in some ways, that was true because the world or work has forever changed. In some industries – like travel and traditional education – companies were really struggling. But in other industries – like groceries, eCommerce, and healthcare – the pandemic led to a huge increase in demand.
Additionally, and sadly, the increase in unemployment led to an increase in the volume of job applicants right across the board. And companies couldn’t rely on old school hiring methods like in-person interviews, and they had to do everything online.
Overall, we saw an increase in demand in the second half of the year.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Omer Molad: We kept our team together. No layoffs and no pay cuts. That’s something we’re very proud of. We tightened costs everywhere else to extend our runway and manage the uncertainty. The biggest lesson is that often it’s not initially clear what the impact of an event like this will be. Sometimes things turn out a little differently from how people expect. As a startup, that can create the opportunity to move quickly and decisively once the landscape becomes clearer.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Omer Molad: We don’t necessarily manage the business differently due to the pandemic because we were always distributed across three continents. We use tools like Slack, Notion, Zoom, and others, but our operating rhythm didn’t change much.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Omer Molad: In the last year, more competitors have emerged than in the 2-3 years prior. And a few of them even have eerily similar websites to us 🙂 That’s a great sign because it suggests that market awareness is increasing.
When a company we’re talking to is looking at other software vendors, we back ourselves because it usually means they are already thinking differently about hiring. And the feedback we constantly receive from customers suggests that our product is better.
The harder “competitor” to come up against is an old way of thinking. When companies still believe that traditional interviews predict job performance (they don’t), or they should hire people from certain schools, that’s when it’s a little more challenging.
Your final thoughts?
Omer Molad: We have a single-minded focus on our mission, which is to make hiring about merit, not the background. Whether we’re going through a pandemic or boom times, millions of companies need to hire people all the time. And what we try to do every day is help them identify the people who will be great at their jobs and, more than that, love their jobs. People from all backgrounds and all walks of life.