The ups and downs of building a startup during COVID-19 – attention is key

The ups and downs of building a startup during COVID-19 – attention is key

What is your north star? What keeps you moving and excited to get up in the morning? Tying your work with something you are truly passionate about is not an easy feat, but when you do,  you can really thrive.

During the last six months I’ve been working to build a video interview startup that will fundamentally change the way companies hire junior talent.

In my first six weeks on the job and before Sydney went into lockdown I was so excited to be working on an idea I felt passionate about. I spent my time in meetings with future customers discussing the plan, the pain points we were addressing and how the product will work.

The feedback from this idea validation period and customer interviews was powerful. I went into each meeting with a goal in mind – validate whether the problem we saw was actually a problem for the customer. After the first week, it was clear there was a problem in need of fixing. After the first six weeks it was no longer a question of whether or not it was needed, but when it would be ready.

I was leaving meetings with a different perspective and an appreciation for the pain internal recruiters and small business owners were feeling. Hiring the right person is hard and time consuming! There is an entire industry that operates based entirely on this problem – an industry that brings in a whopping 11 billion dollars each year in Australia – recruitment!

Let’s break down the problem

The problem we are addressing is two pronged – the problem for job seekers and the problem for employers.

From a job-seeker perspective the barriers to entry into the job market mean they need new ways to impress future employers. To date, the process is the same as 20 or 30 years ago and still relies on what you can get on a bit of paper. You see a job you like, submit your application with your CV and maybe a cover letter. To the receiver you are what your CV (and maybe your LinkedIn) say about you. As a job seeker today you have an array of options for how you’re going to secure your next role, but in general they are time consuming and involve spending hours on applications for different companies and submitting that bit of paper explaining who you are and the value you bring to a company.

The ups and downs of building a start-up.

Now as an employer looking to hire,  the problem is time, money, opportunity costs and the fact a CV doesn’t project the personality and motivation of a job seeker. Right now the options include;

  • Post an ad (on your website, seek, LinkedIn etc. ) – expensive and produces piles of work
  • Search through LinkedIn and try and headhunt based on a profile – time consuming
  • Hire a recruiter to find the perfect candidate for you – sometimes works well but is expensive and driven by incentives for the recruiter – not necessarily the best outcome for the employer.

Looking at the problem holistically, it seems that both sides of the job matchmaking equation struggle to identify and demonstrate value. We are in a world of information overload, constantly depleting our attention banks. The attention that we have as job seekers, as employers and as human beings is finite. The way we represent ourselves, our companies and  brands determines our success in winning a share of that finite attention.

Coming soon – a new company, a new way to find the best people and a new way to win in the attention economy. Watch this space.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu