Andy Parker is the Co-founder of Zealify, a hiring tool for companies to showcase their company culture. Andy talks about millennials, the platform, and how companies should be hiring. Andy is a young entrepreneur, and knows a lot about hiring.
Jacob: Hello, everyone. I’m Jacob Shriar, growth manager at Officevibe, and today I’m with Andy Parker, who is the co-founder of Zealify. Andy, thanks so much for taking some time to chat with me.
Andy: No problem. Thanks very much for having me.
Jacob: We’re going to chat a lot about your company, your start-up I should say, Zealify. What’s it all about, why it’s such a cool platform. We’ll talk a little bit about the hiring process and why it’s broken today. Then we can talk a little bit about Millennials and other things like that, so pretty exciting chat.
Let’s just jump right into it. Let’s talk about the platform, Zealify. Why don’t you tell everyone watching watching what Zealify is, why it’s so cool, why anyone should want to sign up for it. Any background that might be useful.
Andy: Sure, yes. Zealify is UK-based start-up. We’ve been going around six months now. Zealify is a better way to discover exciting companies to work for. We basically showcase the most exciting companies and we give them a platform to showcase their culture and their employer brand in order to attract the best talent. We basically allow companies to create rich company profiles with photos of their office, with videos of the employees, with snapshots into their culture, their mission, their values. It really gives a three-dimensional view of what their company is.
We also list all their available vacancies on there, so the candidates can see what it’s going to be like to work there before they apply. That’s essentially what we’re doing, based on the mission that people should be aspiring to work for a great company and not just find a job.
Jacob: Awesome, thanks for that. We were chatting a little bit offline about your start-up and some of your competitors and things like that. I just want to mention to my audience that I think one of the cool differentiators is the vetting process and how selective you are about which companies are allowed on the platform. It’s not necessarily them, the companies, creating their profile page, it’s you yourself, after having interviewed them, spoken to a lot of the employees, and gotten a good sense for, “Does this company actually have a good company culture? Yes or no.” I find that really really cool.
Let’s talk a little bit about some of the early companies that you started working with. Of course, without mentioning their names or anything, can you talk more generically about some of the feedback you’ve gotten – what they like about the platform, what they don’t like about the platform. Any feedback at all.
Andy: As you mentioned, we are being very selective on the companies that we are letting onto the platform. These companies are typically high-gross, they’re high-performing, and hiring regularly. They’re already very conscious of their company culture. Internally, they’re thinking about it. We’re just providing them with a way to communicate their culture externally. To the outside world and to potential candidates that might be looking to join their team.
I think they love that, because it’s a great way for them to be able to showcase their culture, employer brand, and tell the world why other people should come and join their team and why they should work there.
As I said, we’re being very selective and the companies like that because it means they’re alongside other great quality companies. It really provides them with a great platform to leverage, and it’s high quality talent.
Jacob: Based on the few companies that you have worked with in the private campaign that you were talking about, I’d love to understand if there are any common themes that you see that all of these companies have. Do they all have a foosball table? I’m wondering, are there any commonalities that you think, “Okay, this seems to be the same in all these companies that I’m working with.”
Andy: I think the main thing that we noticed is that everyone is really on board with the shared sense of purpose. Everybody really believes in the company’s mission, and everybody really embodies the company’s values as well. It’s really important for companies to hire for culture fit. And, I think if team members aren’t fully on board with the company culture then it can be quite detrimental to their performance. That’s certainly one of the key things that we’ve noticed. Everybody really lives and breathes the company culture.
In terms of other quirky things; having fun at work. That’s one of the things we’ve really noticed with these companies. Everybody loves their job, everybody loves going to work and working for these companies. That’s a really common theme. These companies are doing interesting work and people believe it, it’s authentic. That’s something that’s really interesting.
Jacob: Awesome, yeah, thanks for that. I think that’s a great answer. What you said makes great common sense.
I know you’re not a, let’s say, culture expert by any means, but I’m wondering what your thoughts are on that sense of purpose that you were just talking about. Do you think when the company is hiring someone new, do they really have to believe that stuff or can they learn it? Or, do they have to really have those ideas ingrained in them? What are some of your thoughts on that?
Andy: It’s a really interesting question. I think if a company is hiring a new candidate, a lot of companies that are culture-conscious are beginning to really try and hire for culture fit. As to whether it can be learned or not, I think there is certainly an element that maybe it can be, but I think if the candidate doesn’t believe in the company’s mission from the outset, I’m not sure they’re really ever going to, if that makes sense.
If it was me personally, and I was looking for a new company, I would certainly look for companies that I could really get behind and get involved with their shared sense of purpose. I think that’s something that many job-seekers, and many potential candidates overlook. They set out with the idea that they’re just going to set out and get a job in a generic company, when actually if they were to look for a job where they could feel that sense of purpose and mission they would probably be much more satisfied with it.
Jacob: Not only that but I’m sure the business would be much more profitable, the work would be much more productive. Probably all-around better results.
Andy: Yeah, absolutely. If the company and the whole team is aligned with that sense of vision, then it can only be a good thing for performance.
Jacob: I absolutely agree. I want to talk to you next about Millennials. You seem like a pretty young guy. I think you are a Millennial as well.
Jacob: What better way to learn about what Millennials truly want than by asking one directly. If you were looking for a job, what are some things that you want companies to have? What kind of things do you expect from companies?
Andy: Sure, well, one thing I think is interesting to add is that my perception of this has really changed. When I was still at university – I finished university in 2012 – I did start looking for jobs. I was very much of the opinion that I was going to go into a large corporation and that it didn’t really matter. Any company was kind of a good company. Now, my opinion has very much changed. If I was looking now, I’d really be looking for a company that has a mission I can get behind, and I’d be looking for somewhere that I really felt like I was going to fit in.
People overlook the fact that they spend at least eight hours a day at work, if not more. It’s a large percentage of your life. Why not pick somewhere where you’re actually really going to enjoy it? If I couldn’t see myself fitting in with a company and enjoying the work and being there, then I don’t think I would pursue the job. I think that’s something that we really believe in at Zealify. We’re giving these companies a way to showcase their culture and, for the people hunting for jobs, a way to discover if they’re going to enjoy the company or not before they apply.
Jacob: This is a hard question and I should probably ask it to someone who’s a twenty year culture expert, but how do job-seekers showcase that they actually could fit in with a company’s culture? How do you think they could get that across and explain that?
Andy: That’s a really interesting question. I think that if you are authentic, it probably comes across. If you’re a job-seeker and you are genuinely interested in the company’s mission and their values, then it will probably be quite easy to communicate that. You’ll probably have good questions to ask around the culture and around what it’s going to be like to work there. If you’re smart and you’re engaged in terms of as to what you’re going to bring to the company, then that value and that kind of commitment to the company’s culture would be quite easy to communicate.
It’s a tough question, because obviously, companies are conscious about hiring for culture fit. The candidate also needs to do the reverse and make sure that they are a culture fit within the company. In terms of communicating that, it’s slightly tougher.
Jacob: Definitely. I apologize for throwing that tough question at you. I thought if it just now, so I figured I might as well ask.
Andy: Well, it’s an interesting one.
Jacob: My next question for you is about universities. I read somewhere on your website that you were working closely with universities. You were mentioning offline that you were slowly starting to build partnerships with universities. Can you talk a little bit more about that and what relationship you’re establishing with universities exactly?
Andy: Sure, yeah. Our experience with universities is that, if you’re graduating from university then you’re very aware of the large corporate graduate schemes. The professional services, the accountancies, the law firms, the banks. Everybody knows about those opportunities. Whereas, we’re very much trying to give a leg up to the little guy, focusing on companies that have 500 employees or less. We’re really trying to showcase the undiscovered.
Many graduates coming out of university just don’t really know where to begin their career or their job search. We’re providing a platform for them to discover what it might be that they’re interested in. And to build the relationships with the universities, particularly the career services, so that they can point students in our direction as a platform for helping them discover interesting career paths and interesting companies. Really trying to give students a better way of working out what it is they want to do. I think that’s something people overlook too much. It certainly should be at the top of the list, because you should be enjoying your work and that’s ultimately what we want to help people do.
Jacob: Awesome, thanks for sharing that. I guess we’ll end it here. I just wanted to thank you for taking some time. It must be late for you at this point with the time zone difference. Thank you for taking some time to chat with me. This was super exciting. Good luck with the launch in March. Hopefully everything goes super smooth. Hopefully we can chat again soon.
Andy: Absolutely. It would be great to keep in touch and thanks very much for having me today. I’ve enjoyed it.
Jacob: Alright, great, take care.