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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Kurt Heikkinen, CEO of Montage Talent (Part 4)

Posted on Thursday, Mar 24th 2016

Sramana Mitra: What does your competition look like? Who else is providing this kind of solution? Is this a space that is developing from a vendor point of view?

Kurt Heikkinen: It is. One of the first questions that we receive is, “How are you different from something like Skype or some general video chat tool?” You may recall earlier that I specifically used the term purpose-built. Our primary competition is general chat. We compete very favourably especially when you think of a larger organization and not an SMB client who has a couple of hundred employees that might hire a couple of dozen.

We’re talking about clients who are a few thousand to tens of thousands of employees and they’re hiring hundreds to thousands of employees a year. They value their employer and consumer brand. They value an experience that’s proven and global. What we’ve built is something that is purpose-built to meet the requirements of talent acquisition – the importance of data security, scalability, candidate experience, and integration.

We’ve been used in over 180 different countries. We’re translated into 19 different languages. When a large enterprise who may have hundreds of recruiters sees the potential of video, they realise that a non-purpose-built solution just simply falls short in being able to match those requirements. I think it’s important to note that one of our clients is Cisco. Of course, you know that Cisco is the manufacturer of WebEx.

Sramana Mitra: Yes, which is our platform.

Kurt Heikkinen: WebEx is a nice meeting platform but it doesn’t support the requirements of talent acquisition and Cisco also has discovered that.

Sramana Mitra: Specifically, are you talking about these kinds of fragmented recording of answers to specific questions and being able to capture all that with the proper data and method? That’s what you’re talking about as the functions of a purpose-built system.

Kurt Heikkinen: Yes, the ability to record the interview and have a branded experience. When somebody goes into an interview for All State, for example, they’re going to a branded foyer with All State content. Workflow is tailored to their specific job. It’s their questions. How they can forward and store that data, and rate and rank candidates are all capabilities that we offer.

Even on the live experience where you might experience WebEx from a live video standpoint, that candidate experience is critical. We offer a foyer. What we know is those candidates want to know they’re greeted when they enter the room. Oftentimes, candidates will show up for a live interview, on an average, 12 minutes early. What is their experience while they’re waiting for that hiring manager to join when 50% of that time, the hiring manager is late.

Then we offer 24/7 support. If you’re interviewing a professional, or maybe an executive, somebody from our 24/7 support group will join that live virtual room, greet the candidate, and make sure that they’re cared for in the same way that candidate will be cared for if they walked in to your physical facility.

The other aspect of the platform that I should mention is the automated scheduling. That is a major pain for organizations – the back and forth between a candidate and recruiter in terms of scheduling interviews. We automate that process by providing self-scheduling tools. So the recruiter or hiring manager can publish their schedule and the candidate can self-select.

Sramana Mitra: When did you start this company and how long have you been doing this?

Kurt Heikkinen: We founded the company in 2007. That’s when we started investing significantly in the technology platform. We launched the business and went to market in 2010. It’s been six years. We’re well-funded from a venture capital standpoint. We’re growing at about 100% a year and we process millions of interviews a year on our platform in support of our client.

Sramana Mitra: Where are you located?

Kurt Heikkinen: We’re headquartered in Wisconsin. We have offices throughout the US and we support a global client base.

Sramana Mitra: Interesting. Given the trends that you described, where are some open opportunities in newer company formations?

Kurt Heikkinen: It’s really around that intersection of that contingent workforce and the candidate experience. When I look at our own product roadmap, describing this as video or voice interviewing is oftentimes too narrow because our vision and the use cases that we support today really span social sourcing all the way to on-boarding.

A given candidate goes through so many steps in the process today whether that’s an application, a video interview, an assessment, or a reference check. There’s so many opportunities to streamline that candidate experience while still affecting a better quality outcome. That’s where we continue to innovate – that broader support of that candidate experience independent of whether it’s a permanent hire or a contract hire.

Sramana Mitra: What you’re doing is actually very interesting. I can see how the timing really works for you given the trends that are shaping up in the industry. Good luck!

This segment is part 4 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Kurt Heikkinen, CEO of Montage Talent
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