Founder Friday: Rob Hunter, HigherMe

Searching for a job is a process that can be time-consuming and frustrating. The first step is to find a position you’re actually interested in. Then, you have to update your resume, write a cover letter, and answer dozens of questions about yourself – just for the possibility of getting an interview. And if you don’t get that first job? Then you’re stuck doing this process over and over again until something pans out.

Recruiting is a challenge for companies doing the hiring, too. They have to sift through dozens of resumes, schedule interviews, and pick the candidate that is the best fit for the organization. This is a lengthy process, which can be a problem when there’s a need to fill a position quickly.

Rob Hunter wanted to make it easier for companies to screen candidates and fill positions in a more time and cost-effective way. And so, HigherMe was born.

Learn more about Rob and his inspiration to start HigherMe, becoming a 2016 43North Winner, and how this suite of software is making the recruiting process easier for both companies and candidates.

How did your startup, well, start up?

I was finishing my MBA at Babson College and kept thinking of my days as the owner of 7 ice cream stores back home in Canada. Recruitment was always a challenge, and some of my greatest employees often had terrible resumes. There had to be a better way!

What do you do? Your startup?

HigherMe helps hourly employers – like retailers and restaurants – find, screen, and hire better employees faster. Our suite of recruitment software helps save time and reduce turnover, while our candidate network helps managers connect with great prospective team members.

When was the ‘aha’ moment for your startup when you realized this could actually work?

I think there’s been many escalating moments over the last two years. Glowing recommendations from our largest enterprise client were probably what ultimately sealed the deal.

What was some important advice you received when starting up and who told it to you?

“You have no company without a product – get a product out there as soon as you possibly can.” Great advice from Y Combinator.

What has been the biggest accomplishment for your startup to-date?

Lots of great metrics to celebrate: $1M in revenue, nearly a million users. Getting all of White Castle on board was a huge milestone for us as well.

Goals for the next year? Three years?

We have some really interesting work happening with machine learning and predictive analytics on top of the hiring process that we’re excited to push out there. Long-term, we’d like to eliminate the resume as “a thing” in the hourly recruitment space – the HigherMe profile will become the de facto way that people get these kinds of jobs.

Why Buffalo?

We love it here! Family is close by and the commute is great. We love the food and really appreciate the opportunity to be closer to our home.

How do you do it? What drives you?

Five Hour Energy drinks, marathon running, great co-founders, supportive family, and never really knowing any different. This is what I was born to do.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

“The days are long but the decades are short” – get busy and make the most of your minutes. Don’t do things that aren’t work, and don’t focus on things that aren’t progress. Networking, talking to investors, public speaking, personal branding – these all have marginal benefit to your company compared to building products and talking to your customers. Focus 99% of your time on the latter, especially at the beginning.

 

HigherMe was also selected as this year’s recipient of $400,000 in follow-on funding. Check out the short video below as Rob accepted the award at 43North Finals.