CEO INTERVIEW- Janeous: Humanizing Digital Hiring
New Success Stories - Asia
Exclusive for HR Digital Today with market-leading HR Tech pioneers - Blake Hawkins, CEO/Founder of Janeous
Please share with us briefly what you do.
I am the Founder and CEO of Janeous, a groundbreaking Talent Matchmaking Marketplace. I manage the development and day-to-day operations of Janeous.
What were you doing before this?
I was the Head of Internal Audit, Asia for a very large ($30B+ Hedge Fund), prior to that I was a consultant at a big four firm covering Governance, Risk, Compliance, and Internal Audit. I started my career in the US Air Force as a Program Manager and later a Recruiter.
Describe your product. How does it work? What are the key benefits?
Janeous is a better way for companies and recruiters to find quality candidates, and for job seeking candidates to find their next employer.
As a Talent Matchmaking Marketplace, Janeous is an ecosystem that brings candidates and companies together in virtual conferences. Our highly advanced algorithms do the filtering and matching allowing companies to focus on live video interviews, and ultimately, finding their ideal hire.
Our Marketplace model brings companies together to maximize their visibility to candidates.
The live virtual conference structure boosts efficiency, allowing both sides to allocate time in their schedules while avoiding travel costs.
Janeous’ eco-system elevates company hiring by providing aggregated candidate feedback for interviewers and by supporting advanced diversity hiring initiatives.
Who are your closest competitors?
We are somewhat of a disruptor in the industry. No other company uses the same business model as us, but if we were to name our closest competitors, they would be companies like SparkHire or Astrnt.co. However, we are not focused on being a single solution within one company, we want to be the place companies come to identify talent. The more companies with jobs, the more candidates - the better it is for both sides.
Who is your first customer and how did that happen? What were they using before this, and why did they switch?
We are currently pre-launch but in talks with multiple companies to join our initial phase. Since we are a global marketplace where any company can benefit, we don’t want to be associated with one particular company, one industry or one location. Our virtual conferences are location and industry-specific (ie Finance, Singapore; Healthcare, Los Angeles), but they are company and candidate agnostic.
What motivated you to start this business?
Spending a lot of time, myself interviewing and hiring. Both processes are equally broken for the applicable party. Candidates deserve to be treated like valuable future employees, and companies deserve a cost-effective and efficient way to find the talent they need. We always hear about how the world is getting smaller and everyone is connected, but hiring talent is still very localized below the executive level. As someone who went to work halfway around the world, I know the obstacles that qualified candidates face in securing a job outside of their own local area.
What is your biggest sacrifice to make this work?
Financially and psychologically. Financially, because I have been bootstrapping the entire effort, so it required a drastic change in lifestyle, which affects you and your family negatively. Psychologically, because you don’t hear about is how lonely it can get as a Founder and how much strength it will require to pull yourself up after a bad day.
How did you get funded?
Bootstrapped, worked hard, and sat on the idea for over 7 years until the time was right for me and more importantly, the idea.
What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Since we are still pre-launch and not going live with our alpha until Feb. 21st, we have kept our marketing strategy under wraps for the time being. Our main efforts have been attending tech conferences, startup pitch competitions, and a ton of networking events to meet potential clients, and I set up a MeetUp Group for potential candidates to help them with their interviewing skills.
Describe a typical workday
8:30 AM - 9:30 PM (M-F); 9:00 AM-4:00 PM (S/S). Check emails and other sites, perform day dependant tasks, grab some lunch, perform day dependant tasks, check emails/follow up, spend an hour or so with the fiancé and grab some dinner, finish up tasks for the day. The day dependent tasks can be talking/meeting with clients, attending pitch competitions or responding to articles for well-written publications. It can be anything from business management tasks to bookkeeping for our end of the year. Lately, it been more typically its product development and product testing tasks.
Who has been the greatest influence in your business and why?
My Grandma Jane, who inspired the Janeous name. I did not get to spend enough time with her before she passed away from Parkinson's disease. Every Time I was around her, I was inspired to be better as she was very smart and so well spoken. Thinking of her reminds me of how little time we have here, and I shouldn’t wait to do what I always wanted to do create something that is bigger than yourself and can help people.
What has been your proudest moment in the history of your business and why?
Every time I test a new build, because I can see my dream coming into reality.
What is your favorite business failure (and what did you learn from it)?
The first company I started the planning and development with is not the current company we are using. Throughout the course of the planning they were telling me one story and quoting me one price, then about two weeks before they were delivering the final scope document, the price shot up 60% from what was being discussed. Unfortunately, by this time I had already arranged for my resignation from my current job. So, I had to waste months onboarding a new developer which led to all other planned dates pushing.
From this, I learned how much bigger problems can be as a startup and to adjust my contingencies/what if thinking. At an established company, a few month delays tend to not affect too much and can be resolved with shuffling. At a startup, it's a huge problem that affects the entire company.
If you could go back in time to speak to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell him/her?
Take more pictures, send out more thank you cards, and the date I met my fiancé’ because I wouldn’t want him to miss her.
What’s one productivity hack you can’t live without?
Silence the notifications on your phone. Every Time, I heard that buzz my anxiousness went up until I checked it. Now, when I am not on my phone, I still check it periodically, but I am not beholden to the buzz and can focus on my current task.
Where can people find out more about your product offerings and you online?
Visit our website: www.Janeous.com
More about Blake:
• First job - McDonald’s Cashier at 14
• Someone you admire - My Sister
• Favorite book - We are Legion (We Are Bob) series.