Click here for part 1 and part 2 Reinventing how applicants find jobs and organizations find talent in the employment ecosystem Daniel Freedman is the chief strategy officer and head of business development at Apploi, a networking platform that connects job-seeking professionals with recruiters at burgeoning organizations. The app allows applicants to fill out one profile that remains in the cloud and can be accessed from any device, while interviewers can set customized questions, add video and audio, and score candidates’ responses, thereby filtering qualified applicants from the rest of the pool. Apploi is used by thousands organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, local governments, nonprofits, and a host of small and mid-sized businesses. It has been featured in ABC News, The New York Times, and Mashable. Last year, the White House recognized the company as an American Innovator. Tell us more about how you joined Apploi. I met with the CEO of Apploi, Adam Lewis, when he’d come up with the idea for the company. He’d been in the HR technology space for several years before that, and then saw this big gap in the market in the way that job seekers and companies were interacting with each other at that initial point of capture. Where what most companies want, especially in the retail services and hospitality industries, is you’re looking for personality, you’re looking for passion, you’re looking for soft skills, but the way that they’re judging people right now is based on a one-dimensional piece of paper. What [Adam] realized is that companies were passing up on potentially great people because they were judging them by what they don’t have on their resumé and they were wasting their time on people who looked great on paper but when they brought them in for an interview it was a bad fit. What was really fascinating to me is that, coming from the security and intelligence world—where often you’re convincing people that have a problem and they’re not going to realize they have a problem until it’s too late—here there’s not a single head of HR who’s not concerned with turnover and is not concerned with missing the great people and the quality of people they’re getting in the flow. What does your role at the company entail? My day-to-day at Apploi is focused on leading the sales and leading the account team and working on a lot of our strategic partnerships and relationships. I spend time speaking to heads of HR, CEOs, CFOs of different companies, understanding what they’re doing right now, what their pain points are, and how Apploi can help them. And the same with existing clients: not only what are they dealing with right now, but what are they thinking about tomorrow? And what are the broader trends? A big focus for us as well is thinking, what are the next challenges on the horizon and how we can help? And so too in the government space. A lot of my time is spent listening—listening to what challenge are you thinking about right now? But also what challenge are you going to be thinking about? So that we can really help you position yourself as a leader within your space, so that when the next challenge comes along, you’ve already got the solutions ready. If you go back two years ago, a lot of recruiters had a steady stream of applicants. They weren’t thinking about “How do we get different sources of applicants?” Their focus was “How do we filter all these applicants who were coming through?” As the unemployment numbers tighten up, companies are beginning to think, “All right, how do we reach people who we previously didn’t? Where is there untapped new talent for us?” And so, that’s a big focus for what I do is listening and trying to think strategically, just in terms of the next day, month, or even year, but five years out: what will the focus and priorities be? Who do you consider your customers: the organizations, job seekers, or both? Our customers are companies. It’s small business owners, mid-sized businesses, franchise groups, Fortune 500, Fortune 1000 companies. Those are our customers, then we have the job seekers who are our community who we serve to help them not only get a job, but get jobs that they previously might not have even thought about or been considered for, but because our platform changes that dynamic, they are now aspiring to them. And we also provide a lot of advice and content for jobseekers—everything from how do you prepare for your first interview, to once you are in the job, how do you work well, how do you work well with your co-workers. Governments are really a partner for us ready to help with both. It’s part of our mission to expand access, and governments are a big part of that. The same with shopping mall companies. We now work with Westfield, we work with General Growth Properties, we are in talks with some of the other big shopping mall companies where we put our jobs kiosks into their food courts, into different locations in their malls—that is a great service to the retailers to find job seekers, and also just for people who are shopping in the mall who might be looking for a job, it makes it easier for them to apply. What keeps you energized and excited about Apploi? On a personal level the thing that drives me with Apploi is hearing story after story of people getting jobs that they previously wouldn’t. And it’s been amazing on the flip side to hear companies say, “This person who we never previously would have considered has nine months later, we’re seeing as a real star in the organization.” Seeing that and seeing the impact it can have in communities is something that really, really drives me. We see, like when we did an event here in Baltimore supporting the Amazon Fulfillment Center, we saw that more than 2000 people showed up. One-third of people had no smartphone and another third of people had a smartphone, but no data plan. And they were expecting to line up for several hours, just to either have access on a computer or speak to a recruiter. What we enabled to happen was that no one waited for more than 20 minutes. We had kiosks set up, in which people instantly put in their information and could present it to Amazon. It really makes a difference to people. What I want to continue seeing is those stories increasing and increasing across the country.
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