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Take the Interview: A Tech Upgrade for the HR Industry

Take the Interview is one of fifteen up-and-coming start-ups in this year’s graduating class from Dreamit Ventures’ start-up acceleration program. With this prestigious achievement under…

Take the Interview is one of fifteen up-and-coming start-ups in this year’s graduating class from Dreamit Ventures’ start-up acceleration program. With this prestigious achievement under their belt, the company is positioned to launch their unique video interview service to a mainstream audience. I had the opportunity to speak with Danielle Weinblatt, CEO and Founder of Take the Interview, to learn more about the way this Cambridge and NYC based start-up is changing the game in the HR industry.

What’s Wrong with the Recruiting Process?

Danielle Weinblatt, a soon-to-be former Harvard Business School student, worked in recruitment for Citigroup, providing her with a first-hand understanding of the hassle and inefficiency involved in the hiring process. “Within the first few minutes, I could tell if someone wasn’t a fit for my organization,” says Weinblatt. “But I would have to continue to interview them for another half hour.” Many recruiters ask the exact same questions to every new applicant that comes in the door. Weinblatt herself admitted she always asked the exact same 3 questions, only admitting applicants that could answer all 3 to the second round. She states, “The human resource industry hasn’t seen innovation in a very long time.”

Take the Interview

According to Ms. Weinblatt, she and her first investment partner Andrew Paradise were speaking one day when she suggested that “perhaps the most efficient way to do [a screening process] was by video responses.” Fast forward to August 2011 and they have a fully customizable platform with different plans built for small businesses and large corporations. The way the site will work is that registered employers can choose from a database of thousands of interview questions that range from behavioral to professional. The questions can also be classified by industry, with almost every job field imaginable, and custom questions can be created via an enterprise solution on the site. The candidates applying for the position can then record video responses to the questions selected by the company to be sent along with their resume. Using this method, employers can make snap decisions and avoid dragging out a failed interview.  Applicants also have a chance to think over their responses before answering, and both parties skip the hassle of scheduling out thirty-minutes to an hour for an interview.

What Sets it Apart

In addition to video, this site offers universality with buttons that can be embedded on Monster and Craigslist as well as an option to sync their LinkedIn account to their candidate profile. Applicants can “take the interview” directly from the job hunt site and skip the process of scheduling an interview and wasting time in the event that the job is not right for them. The video aspect also affords a more personal touch to an application, and allows the employer to see another dimension to a candidate before even meeting them. Weinblatt herself used the platform to hire her VP of Marketing for Take the Interview: “Within 48 hours, I received 75 resumes from people who wanted to be my head of Business Development. A guy whose resume I would have normally thrown out (just because he didn’t have as much experience in the field), produced a really articulate interview, and now he’s my VP of Marketing!”

Dreamit and Do It

Take the Interview’s participation in Dreamit was an integral part of its success. The Dreamit program offers its participants up to $25,000 of seed funding, a collaborative work and networking space, as well as 1-on-1 expert mentorship. “My mentor was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It’s difficult when you go to an MBA program where not many people are starting businesses,” says Weinblatt, “It’s hard to form an informal network of start-up CEOs to talk about the challenges of forming a business. My mentor was like an independent sounding board for me to bounce ideas off of.” She also had some praise for the program in general: “The Dreamit guys are really high quality...great people - smart, knowledgeable, but also down to earth, good people. They were really really responsive to [Take the Interview] and gave me more confidence to continue.”

What Happens Next

When I spoke with Weinblatt, she was en route to to Cambridge after raising an impressive seed round in New York City (almost 1 million dollars!). With a soft launch due sometime around the end of August, the crew at Take the Interview still have a lot up their sleeve. When I asked Weinblatt about the role of mobile apps at Take the Interview, if the company is interested in mobile technology, and if the company plans to expand into mobile technology, she said, “Yes, yes, and YES. You should wait to see what we have coming out in the Fall. It’s going to be awesome.” In the meantime, I’ll be experimenting with my free, beta version of Take the Interview, courtesy of Ms. Weinblatt.

Images courtesy of Take the Interview

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