CEO INTERVIEW:TalentKraft - Building effective teams
Please share with us briefly what you do.
I'm currently the co-founder of TalentKraft, a strategy consulting firm that helps our clients build effective teams. We use the methods of top consulting firms to help organizations solve talent challenges, and leverage technology to enable scalable solutions for talent selection and training.
What were you doing before this?
I started my career in the civil service in Singapore, before spending 8.5 years at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Singapore, Oslo, and Dubai offices. Since BCG I have been working with various startups.
Describe your product. How does it work?
Our Casey recruitment chatbot assesses candidates’ business skills based on the case interview methodology used by top consulting firms. In fact, it is currently being used by one of the major firms as part of their screening process.
What are the key benefits?
We make it possible to assess core business skills (problem structuring, data analysis, ability to draw insight, and business judgment) in a practical, realistic way. When we speak to hiring managers, their biggest problem is wasting time interviewing candidates who are far below the required standards. They asked us for a tool that could improve the quality of candidates they interviewed, hence saving them time (and frustration!)
Who are your closest competitors?
There are a few business aptitude tests out there, but none that recreate the case interview process, where the candidate is given a scenario and a series of questions to help them answer the core business question.
Who is your first customer and how did that happen? What were they using before this, and why did they switch?
We were privileged that our first customer was a major international consulting firm, widely seen as one of the best in the business. As former consultants, we were aware that one of the biggest pain points in recruiting was 'false positive' candidates, who have strong resumes but perform poorly in person. Nothing upsets a consultant more than realising, 5 minutes in, that the candidate is clearly not suitable.
The firm was using an existing Problem Solving test, but this did not have the feel and realism of an actual case interview. We were able to show that Casey, our bot, was both a better predictor of success, and provided a better candidate experience.
What motivated you to start this business?
HR, and in particular recruiting, is a universal challenge affecting all the companies I've come across - the various startups I've worked with, in my interactions with clients and friends, etc. I thought that what was needed was high quality consulting at an affordable price, and that is what we started TalentKraft to provide.
What is your biggest sacrifice to make this work?
Starting your own business is always a risk. I guess the alternative would have been a comfortable corporate job, with much better compensation and benefits!
How did you get funded?
We are self-funded.
What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Word of mouth. Many of our clients were introduced by other previous clients, or by friends who had heard about what we do
Describe a typical workday
Things have changed since the onset of the pandemic, so a typical workday now is nothing like what it used to be!
We start the day with a team meeting so that everyone gets updated on what is going on, and we also set the necessary follow-up meetings for the day. So my calendar goes from half-empty to totally full at around 930 each morning!
Days can get quite intense with back-to-back video calls and meetings, so it is quite important to remember to take some breaks in between!
Who has been the greatest influence in your business and why?
Somewhat ironically, I think the biggest influences are the bad bosses I've worked with before - watching the impact they had on the team helped generate a list of things I have sworn to avoid!
What has been your proudest moment in the history of your business and why?
Landing our contract with the international consulting firm. For a small startup to having a global contract with such a blue-chip firm is quite an achievement - at least that's what we tell ourselves when working hard to fulfill the contract!
If you could go back in time to speak to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell him/her?
At 20, I was not at all interested in business. So my advice would be to cultivate an interest in business issues from an early age.
More about Eugene:
First job - Singapore Civil Service
Someone you admire - Martin Reeves, Senior Partner, BCG
Favorite book - Good Omens - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Favorite Music - 90s rock - Nirvana, Guns 'N Roses, Blur
Favorite author – Stephen King - his latest short story collection "If It Bleeds" was one of his best
For more information:
Website - https://talentkraft.com.sg/