Ty Abernethy

Today, Recruiter.com sits down with Ty Abernethy of ZuzuHire. Like many other recruiting technology startups, his inspiration comes from trying to solve a real world recruiting problem.

Can you tell our audience a little bit about yourself?

My background is in 3rd party recruiting.  In fact, I grew up in the business.  My dad started a staffing agency back in 1979 that’s grown to roughly 25 offices today.  I would work in various branches during the summers, going on sales calls or running a recruiting desk.  And I swore I’d never go into staffing!  And then my dad opened the accounting/finance recruiting division and I fell in love with perm recruiting.  Go figure!

Should people call you Ty or Tyler?

I’ve been called both my whole life, but Ty is easier to type!

What got you into the wonderful world of recruiting?

My dad worked for the HR department for a college after he graduated. He worked as a Personnel Recruiter over 5000 positions and had to deal regularly with staffing agencies.   After a while he got fed up with the ones he was working with and figured he could do a better job of it himself.  So he moved to Atlanta and started Chase Professionals.

So it’s a family business – a lot of the best recruiting firms are. What was your your dad’s best advice to you?

My dad’s philosophy and probably the greatest thing he’s taught me is this: You can do anything with your life. But what you commit to doing, do it with complete commitment.

Can you tell us a bit about your technology product?

ZuzuHire was born out of a frustration I was experiencing at my branch. I was understaffed in early 2010 and for every job posting we’d end up with 500+ resumes.  My days were spent doing nothing but screening resumes! So I began looking for products that could simplify the process somewhat. I looked at several video interviewing services, but they really weren’t designed as a screening tool, and at $150 a pop, it just wasn’t an effective option.

So I started tinkering and asking clients what they would like to see in an online screening tool.  What we ended up with is an interview questionnaire that incorporates video, audio, essay, and multiple choice questions. You type out your questions and select which format works best for each question. And you’re only charged to create the questionnaire ($20), and you can screen an unlimited number of candidates for 45 days. Questionnaires can be shared via social media, emailed to candidates, or embedded into a job posting so all applicants are filtered through this process.

Think the trends are good for your business? I guess you wouldn’t start the company if you didn’t…?

Yes I do. In my mind, video is the wave of the future in employment–both for screening candidates and for marketing job openings.  ZuzuHire offers a solution for both.

Honestly – do you hope you’ll never have to talk to another candidate again?

Ha! No, that’s not the case at all! It’s about getting to know candidates better.  With ZuzuHire I can  ask more candidates interview questions than I ever could before. And the most qualified candidates no longer get drowned out in all the noise.

Just kidding of course. What’s it like being a recruiting software vendor? Any lessons learned from starting up?

I’ve learned a ton along the way, mostly on what not to do! I’ve learned that consumers demand genuine, transparent businesses–they can smell an imposter a mile out. I’ve learned that customer feedback is the lifeblood of a business, but that you can’t satisfy everyone without compromising the quality of your product. I’ll tell you what, the hardest adjustment going from the recruiting industry to the online software industry is that I am no longer directly performing a service for my customers. So it’s difficult to get genuine feedback and to tell how to truly make the service better. In recruiting, it’s obvious when you’re hitting the mark and when you aren’t.  But we’re continuing to learn, tweak, and listen to our customers.

Have other vendors helped you out? Do you guys ever talk or is a dog eat dog world?

You know, I’ve met some of the most generous, interesting people since I’ve started down this road.  It hasn’t been dog eat dog at all–in fact, there’s almost a camaraderie among recruiting venders. I haven’t met one yet that I wouldn’t love to grab a beer with!

How can people get in touch with you? Tweet much?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Call up ZuzuHire, and I’ll likely be the one to answer. Email support and you may get me too!  I’m also on Twitter: @tyabernethy.

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