Exceptional entrepreneur: Johnny Farquhar
Meet this month's entrepreneur, Johnny Farquhar, who has come up with a novel way for employers to quickly get to know prospective employees instead of wading through paper CVs.
His video platform allows job hunters to upload dynamic videos of themselves which employers can evaluate, saving them time and money. We chatted with Johnny about what his platform offers and what he's learnt since launching in January this year.
Can you tell us what PreviewMe does?
PreviewMe is a free and private employment platform. It brings together video and data features that people use on social media channels into the online recruitment space.
When did you start PreviewMe and what makes it stand out in the market?
PreviewMe launched in January 2017. It stands out because it is a candidate-centric platform that lets users leverage video and data in different ways.
It enables candidates to present their skills and capabilities to employers early (through a mix of text and video) and facilitates a more transparent application process with automated job application feedback.
It enables employers to publish roles and process candidates all from one place, underpinned by video and data.
What does video offer prospective employers that traditional methods of applying for jobs does not?
Video gives employers a better insight into a candidates capability and culture fit in less time by taking the guess work out of interpreting paper CVs.
It answers of a lot of the questions and assumptions about a candidate that would ordinarily have to wait until either the phone call or interview stage. Video is supporting the shift from checking credentials to confirming some of the candidate’s skills quickly which is essential in today’s open talent economy.
Compare this with the traditional method where employers who rely on paper CVs (one dimensional at best) run the risk of overlooking great talent. This is irrespective of whether they are time poor and ‘culling the stack’ or have some breathing room but end up paying too much attention to factors that at best, poorly predict a candidate’s future performance.
The benefits of video are not strictly limited to processing applications. Using video as a medium by employers to promote the company and engage with prospective candidates will enhance the overall application experience for those candidates and further promote the company’s brand.
How much growth have you seen since you launched?
In the last six weeks we have seen a 450% increase in traffic to PreviewMe and for the quarter, the platform has grown to around 5000 users.
By giving employers the freedom and flexibility to clone employment opportunities onto their social media channels (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) they can expand the role’s reach... which helps grow PreviewMe fast at the same time.
Is there a specific sector using your product the most?
I have a law background so the legal industry was a focus from the outset and it has been road tested in that sector. We are starting to see adoption by other professional service sectors (accounting, finance, marketing). This makes sense as the pain points experienced by these employers and candidates are largely the same.
As a business owner, what lessons have your learnt that were unexpected?
No industry is immune to technological advances and innovation cycles are getting shorter. What we have taken to market is very different to what we had sketched up in yesteryear, and what we have now may be very different in six to nine months time.
Grasping the speed of change has been unexpected, not change itself. Development pipelines can be quickly disrupted by volatility so ensuring PreviewMe is responsive and agile is critical.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in terms of getting people on board with your product?
There is an assumption of risk for early adopters when leveraging new technologies. We worked closely with Kensington Swan and Hudson Gavin Martin Lawyers by facilitating their summer clerk intakes for the 2017/2018 season – those pilots were successful and resulted in an adoption increase.
Technology start-ups are a dime a dozen so building trust is critical. We found it wasn’t just about being transparent and communicating the journey with our users (particularly early adopters), but listening and acting on feedback quickly. That approach has helped us build strong, trusting relationships with great companies and candidates alike. That in turn has helped us grow and attract more companies and candidates.
Emily McLean works in the Deloitte marketing team and closely with Deloitte Private. She loves telling the stories of those individuals and businesses leaving their mark in New Zealand's SME space while delivering news and insights to help business owners grow their companies.