After years of watching their employers in the technology industry struggle to fill crucial roles, Gonzalo Aguero and Sergio Klarreich decided to come up with a solution.
They wanted to build a job-hunting service that mimicked the user-friendly, mobile-focused apps that are already popular with millennials. They brought on another former colleague, Valeria Rodriguez, as a co-founder and began building Worcket based on principles learned from other popular social apps.
Worcket lets users apply for jobs in a few quick steps. Candidates write a brief description of their skills, record a one-minute video, and Worcket’s matching algorithm connects them with openings. The app uses the “swipe and match” UX popularized by Tinder.
“Our management team – who all have experienced the difficulties and frustration of hiring people and building teams – founded the company as a way of ‘rethinking’ recruiting,” said Worcket CEO Gonzalo Aguero. “We built Worcket with an obsessive focus on optimizing user experience, by adapting to prevailing market trends and leveraging advanced technologies like AI and ML.”
Since launching last year, the Seattle-based startup has grown to seven employees.
We caught up with Aguero for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We are reinventing the way people look for jobs, and the way hiring managers and recruiters seek out prospective employees. The Worcket App – available for download in the AppStore – is a mobile marketplace that makes finding a job simpler and more enjoyable while enabling enterprises to hire faster, and at a lower price point.”
Inspiration hit us when: “Inspiration hit us, like all startups, over beers in Vietnam. Sergio [Klarreich] and I were perplexed about why our current employer was struggling to find the right people to fill their seemingly endless vacancies. Our curiosity got the best of us, and we started researching why the recruiting process was so inefficient. Very quickly, we realized that companies are stuck in the dark ages of recruiting and were not adapting to the communication styles of the elusive millennial. With the addition of Valeria, we decided to step up to the challenge of reinventing recruiting.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrap. As first-time entrepreneurs, investing our money to launch this project offered the fastest time to market.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “We know how to communicate with millennials. We understand what millennials like and dislike when it comes to finding a job. With advancements in mobile technology that deliver innovative solutions for things like dating, taxis, and social, it is crazy to expect millennials to comply with an archaic system. Millennials do not like resumes, cover letters, formal interview processes, and long wait times. This is a generation that swipes to find their soul mate!
Millennials want a straightforward and informal job searching experience, and they want it on their phones. We designed Worcket to adhere to the millennial communication style by replacing cover letters with videos, and awkward phone interviews with simple chat features that allow candidates to interact directly with prospective hiring managers. Furthermore, we’ve already piloted and won an award for an entire solution that works over a bot, replacing the need for an app altogether. This will be available for candidates in a couple of months. Essentially, Worcket streamlines the recruiting in a way that millennials demand, and over time, we believe the entire industry will move in our direction.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “We take our marketing strategy seriously. Along with traditional marketing methods, we designed a campus ambassador program to promote Worcket on college campuses. The genius of it is that we have millennials promote our brand to other millennials, specifically an audience that is about to enter the job market. We invested heavily in our ambassadors regarding recruiting, training and motivating them, and according to our ROI, our hard work is paying off.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “During our first four months as entrepreneurs, our expectations concerning timing, execution, and growth were just too aggressive. We were not respecting the process of building a solution and business. With the help of experienced mentors, we pivoted our strategy to take a more realistic approach to growing our business. If you value the process, the results will come.”
Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Zuckerberg — 100 percent. In the long run, we are a social and data company. No one on this planet understands the business of monetizing data the way Mark does.”
Our favorite team-building activity is: “Honestly, our favorite team-building activity is having lunch. There is nothing like a sharing a meal and a bottle of wine to get people in the mood to talk business. Our favorite place is il Corvo in Seattle. All jokes aside, lunch is the perfect time to take a break from our phones, listen to one another, and make time for meaningful discourse. We think of it as the ‘family meal.'”
The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “We look for inquisitive, creative candidates, willing to think outside the box.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Right from the start, find an experienced mentor or join an accelerator. The wealth of experience is invaluable. Avoid at all costs “start-up experts” who have no legitimate experience in starting a business. Without mentors, you will make mistakes that are easily avoidable. Over time, diversify your advisory board to accommodate a broad range of experiences.