Video platform brings fast growth to recruiting firm | nnbw.com

Video platform brings fast growth to recruiting firm

John Seelmeyer
jseelmeyer@nnbw.biz

Like any good entrepreneurs, Susan Moreno and David Crumbley started by talking about a problem:

Why does it have to be such a hassle to arrange in-face meetings between jobseekers and the managers who need to find the right candidate?

Their year-old company, CVirtual Inc., is growing fast with a proprietary software that delivers video interviews of screened finalists for jobs, each of them answering the same set of questions, that can be reviewed by hiring managers.

Beginning business at the start of this year with three employees, CVirtual now employs 11, most of them working at an office building the company owns a block north of the Peppermill.

And Crumbley, the company's chief operations officer, expects the staff will total 25 by the end of this year.

Moreover, he says, "We were profitable by April."

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CVirtual, which positions itself as a recruiting company that happens to use a couple of cool technologies, relies on a proprietary algorithm painstakingly developed during most of 2013 to search out likely candidates for openings.

Once the company's staff has completed the initial recruiting, it distributes video interviews, each of them about five minutes long, to hiring managers, often within 24 hours. The interviews are recorded by candidates at their own homes or offices.

That allows both the candidate and the manager to schedule the face-to-face time at their convenience, says Moreno, CVirtual's chief executive officer. The video platform eliminates the dreaded possibility that the candidate who looked great on paper will be a disappointment when he or she walks into the office.

Because the interviews are archived, managers can review them a couple of times or bring in co-workers — even at remote locations — to take a look at candidates' performances.The concept is quickly grasped by hiring managers at technology companies, and much of CVirtual's early growth has come among tech firms in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, says Ryan Nickel, the company's chief marketing officer.

But CVirtual also is landing contracts from businesses, mostly small or mid-sized, in other industries as well as schools and nonprofits. It's donated its service for use by business students at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The screening algorithm and the video interviews speed up the hiring process for CVirtual's clients. The speed is an important piece of the company's business model, too.

Because CVirtual can recruit talent more quickly than its rivals, the company's staff members can handle a larger volume of job placements. That, in turn, allows CVirtual to maintain healthy margins while keeping the prices it charges to employers at about the middle of the pack among recruitment firms.

The company's growth has resulted from strong word-of-mouth referrals in the community of hiring managers. Also providing a boost, Moreno says, are jobseekers who are wowed when they take part in a video interview and spread the word to co-workers.

"We have yet to spend one dollar on advertising," Crumbley says.

On the other hand, that kind of rapid growth brings its own worries.

Crumbley takes pride in the family-like culture the company has developed among its first employees. It's a challenge, he says, to keep that culture alive as CVirtual adds staff.

Although technology provides a competitive advantage for CVirtual, Nickel notes that the relationships that the company's staff develop with jobseekers and hiring managers remain key to success.

And to deliver those relationships, CVirtual needs to add people as it adds clients. (Yes, the company uses its own technology — including video interviews — when it scouts talent for its headquarters operation.)

Moreno, who previously worked 25 years in the gaming industry, and Crumbley, who launched several startups on the East Coast before migrating to Reno, led the group of the company's officers who financed the year-long process of developing CVirtual out of their own resources.

The decision to make a big bet on a startup at the mid-point of a successful career wasn't an easy one for Moreno.

"For me, it finally came down to one question: Do I believe in it? I do," she says.

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