Friday, June 19, 2015
How Connectifier Is Applying Search Technology To Recruiting, With John Jersin
Story by Benjamin F. Kuo
What if searching for people to recruit to your company was as easy as running a search in Google? That's the idea behind Connectifier (www.connectifier.com), an Orange County-based startup led by John Jersin--whose founders and many of its employees have come from Google, Amazon, and other companies where search is a part of their DNA. The company recently announced a funding round, led by True Ventures, so we thought we'd talk with John about what the company is doing, and why he believes search technology is so important to apply to recruiting.
Tell us about Connectifier?
John Jersin: We are trying to make the recruiting process more efficient, using modern technology in a space that hasn' t been used to a lot of technological innovation. Right now, the process is arduous and manual, with companies that have armies of recruiters trying to hire people. What we are focusing on, is improving passive recruiting, similar to the same thing that LinkedIn focuses on. We want to improve the ability of a recruiter to find people, who are not necessarily looking for a job. We help them ge tin touch with those people, and they can start the process from there. The way we are doing that, is by building a search platform, which allows recruiters to find professionals where they are engaging online.
How does that work?
John Jersin: We're building a search platform, similar to how Google crawls the web, picking up information about professionals, and aggregating that together into our search index. Recruiters can access that search technology in one of two ways. First, they can use our primary search platform, where you'd input a query like you might do in LinkedIn or Monster, searching through people, allowing you to enter keywords--such as Java, C++ or sales--and where you can find someone with a specific title. We provide a huge variety of search operations, and you get back a stream of people that fit the positions you are looking for. That's one way of accessing it. Another way, is through our autosearch feature in your browser. As you are looking around at profiles on Twitter, Indeed, and a variety of other sites, we are automatically doing searches, and we show those search results for that person you are looking for inside your browser, on the right hand side.
Talk about your background and the background of year team -- we see a lot of you were at Google?
John Jersin: My cofounder and I started the company together after leaving Google. So, naturally, the first place we looked to hire when was at Google, though we've definitely expanded beyond that. The talent level here is very, very high. We really are a product of the team we've built. Our team working on the search product has a lot of knowledge on how search works. One of our guys did research on semantic search for a decade at Berkeley National Labs, and has been published sixteen times by a major publisher of international standards for items related to semantic search. Another of our guys has a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence, and has dont lots of work related deeply to how we do search. We have lots of people from Google, Amazon, and elsewhere with deep knowledge of infrastructure and search, and we've got a great group of engineers. The people in all the other parts of our organization are equally strong, even those who are not building the product. We have one of the best sales organization possible, they are brilliant and creating a solution which is extremely valuable, and every part of our organization is like that.
Tell us a little bit about this recent funding round?
John Jersin: We recently did a Series A, which brings our total raised to about $6M. There was significant funding offered to us, and we felt this was the right amount to take. We are very excited about the partners we've picked. True Ventures is a fantastic firm, and every other investor we have we're very happy with also. We plan on using this funding to accelerate our growth. We're growing extremely quickly, and plan on fueling that even faster with the money.
There are many startups thinking about recruiting-- what do you offer that you don't find elsewhere?
John Jersin: I think there is not just another good way to find as much professional information about people as possible, without applying lots of manual effort. You can do a search on Monster and find a resume, but you learn nothing else about that person. That' s the same thing with LinkedIn and Careerbuilder. Every big recruiting technology has one piece of information on people. We break out of those walled gardens, and find lots of relevant information, interesting side projects candidates are working on, what work they've done in the past. You get to see al lthat stuff, and get a better understanding of who that person is, and lets you reach out to them wherever and however you want, including reaching out directly to them. That makes a real difference, because before that it's been siloed data. Our Google-style solution is aggregating all of that information ,and making it accessible.
What's the biggest lesson you've learned so far in your startup experience?
John Jersin: I think the biggest lesson we've come to appreciate, is how important it is to get your talent right. The top companies really take recruiting seriously, Name brand, high growth companies take recruiting really seriously, and it's refreshing to see that. The problem is that all companies should be taking it seriously, and frankly, a lot of them are not, and need to step it up. Fortunately, a lot are.