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Austin Startup: PitchPick Let’s Job Candidates Pitch Themselves On Video INTERVIEW

A new startup in Austin Texas has a real startup/entrepreneurial feel in it’s execution. PitchPick is a new job interviewee pre-screening solution that allows candidates to use a video platform to “pitch” themselves to employers.

The idea came about because the amount of non-hire interviews can be a major point of frustration for any small business owner and large scale enterprise HR department. Regardless of what is supposed to happen in a job interview, most interviewers can size up a candidate in the first minute or so.  So in an effort to not waste valuable time for either the interviewee or interviewer, PitchPick was created.

We got a chance to speak with Jeff Talmadge one of PitchPicks co-founders.

Jeff tell us, what is PitchPick?

PitchPick is a web-based video hiring and candidate screening solution designed to lower the cost, time, and energy employers waste during the interview process. Often times, employers know within the first moments of an interview whether or not a candidate will be a good fit for not only the position but the organization. With PitchPick, an employer can request a 30 sec.-1minute response to a basic interview question such as, “Why should we hire you for this position?” and give a candidate a deadline to submit his/her Pitch online. The employer will be able to more efficiently evaluate their “Yes-No-Maybe” piles of resumes and bring only the individuals they want to learn more about.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

PitchPick’s managers are Co-Founders Reece Norris, Bryan Johnson, and Jeff Talmadge.

In addition to PitchPick, Norris and Johnson lead a large multi-site healthcare company as President and Chief Operating Officer. There, the two developed a workflow and software system for their niche in the healthcare industry. Before PitchPick, Talmadge spent his time developing his skill set in account service while interning at advertising agencies in Austin, TX.

After graduating from Baylor University with a BBA in Entrepreneurship, Reece Norris went on to earn his Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas Law School. Norris practiced law as a corporate attorney at Thompson & Knight LLP in Dallas, Texas and clerked for U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade. Despite his success as a lawyer, Norris’ hunger to create and grow a successful business ultimately caused him to join Johnson in building their healthcare company. His depth of knowledge regarding the law and unparalleled work ethic has and will continue to be invaluable to PitchPick.

As Norris was beginning his study and practice of law, Bryan Johnson began his career as a business development associate for an infusion management company based in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas. Also graduating from Baylor University with a BBA in Entrepreneurship, Johnson went on to found the Austin Infusion Center, which has since grown to be one of the largest office-based infusion centers in Texas. Johnson’s proven ability to start and grow a successful business has been instrumental in the foundation of PitchPick.

With the knowledge he gained studying and observing the fast-paced world of advertising, Jeff Talmadge took the opportunity to join PitchPick as its first employee to help oversee its final months of development and marketing strategy. Demonstrating his capabilities as a reliable and driven individual, Norris and Johnson distinguished him with the title of Co-Founder following his graduation from UT Austin. He completed his BS in Advertising with High Honors and was recognized by the College of Communication as a Senior Fellow.

Allen Sockwell, Trey Weir, and Nigel Dessau currently helm the Board of Advisors for PitchPick. Sockwell is the founder of a consulting firm, Sockwell Performance Advisors, and was previously the Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Talent Officer for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Weir has an extensive background in technology and entrepreneurship and currently operates his own enterprise, Trey Weir Media, which produces magazines, online recipes, and other media. Dessau is the principle consultant at Ad Claro Consulting based in Austin, Tx where he specializes in helping companies form or update their marketing organizations. Additionally, he is the driving force behind the website “The 3 Minute Mentor,” and was previously the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of AMD.

While Norris formed the original vision for PitchPick, Johnson largely developed its initial design and functionality. After designing the product for several months, the two brought on Talmadge to build a marketing strategy and eventually lead the PitchPick sales efforts. With PitchPick in its last stage of development, it is already being tested by a series of beta clients and will be ready for market within the next three months.

So roughly the concept is, the interviewee pitches the employer in the same way that a startup pitches potential investors in the first round of most contests?

That’s a great analogy! Whether you are a job candidate or a start-up, The Pitch is crucial for creating opportunity. From the hiring perspective, we’ve developed a platform for employers to evaluate a candidate on their ability to sell themselves and their potential value.

More after the break



Are there any legal ramifications to this kind of screening?

We receive this question quite often and to put it bluntly, no there is not. PitchPick does not discriminate, but unfortunately, there are still people that do. If someone was going to be screened out for their race, gender, or age, it would happen in an interview whether they use PitchPick or not.

For us, we feel the worst kind of discrimination is a resume in the trash can, but with PitchPick, employers are able to evaluate more candidates at a lower monetary and temporal cost. Now, candidates that might traditionally be cast aside for “lack of relevant experience” can have the opportunity to be listened to.

Is it already employed?

Our site is currently live and fully-functional at www.pitchpick.com, and we have a few beta clients using it for their internal hiring needs. As is the nature with tech start-ups, we are never done with development. We strive to constantly improve our product, what we are able to offer employers to make the hiring process easier, and if we do our job right, PitchPick may even make hiring a little fun

Is your monetization strategy to sell the product to HR departments and companies?

We designed PitchPick so that businesses of all shapes and sizes could use it. We wanted it to be accessible and affordable so even a small business owner who desires greater quality and control in their hiring process may use the service.  After all, the idea was formed by two small business owners, Johnson and Norris, who were looking to be more efficient with their time and money when it related to interviewing candidates. However, PitchPick is very scalable, and will be a powerful tool for organizations with HR departments that screen hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates a year. Recently, we’ve also been gaining traction from recruiting firms, so really, the sky is the limit for PitchPick!

In the background piece you gave us you said your two partners were frustrated with their hiring and interview no hires, what’s your experience in this, what brought you to the table?

My partners bring tremendous value to our organization, not only because they are passionate, but they are successful business owners. They are knowledgeable and have an enormous grasp on what employers want to get out of an interview. That being said, it’s been a while since they’ve sat on the other side of the table. I’ve had my fair share of interviews and have sent out more cover letters than I care to remember. The exhaustion of being a candidate can be very defeating. I understand the frustration of knowing that, if I could just get my foot in the door, I could make the interviewer love me. A resume can only tell you so much, and the aspect of PitchPick that makes it an equalizer for candidates is what truly attracted me to this business.

Are their competing products in your space and what are your key selling points over those products?

There are only a handful of similar products on the market right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this changes in the near future. The biggest point of distinction for PitchPick is our affordability and accessibility. We currently offer a pay-as-you-go model so employers don’t ever spend money on Pitches that aren’t sent or don’t receive responses – just about everybody else forces employers into a monthly/yearly subscription. Additionally, we provide multiple platforms for submission. Candidates can submit Pitches via email or upload from their desktop making it so that any device that can record a candidate (smartphone, webcam, digital camera, etc.) is a Pitchable Device.

Do you think this will be the way hiring goes in the future?

Absolutely, because culture and technology are at a crossroads. Every day, people log on to their Facebook or YouTube and upload a video of themselves doing something. People have become so comfortable exposing themselves for the world to see, and it’s unreasonable to think this will ever slow down. Since “jobs” and “unemployment” have been hot topics of conversation the last few years, more and more people are willing to create any sort of advantage they can to earn an interview. We feel we are in perfect stride with the way hiring is headed in the future.

Austin is obviously a hot spot for startups in March, what’s it like the rest of the year?

Austin is filled with innovative, exciting people. The culture here is ideal for entrepreneurs and people wanting to do big things. Also, it has live music every night, beautiful weather, and tacos. There’s no place I’d rather be.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned in the startup process.

It’s not a job. It’s a life style.

 

Linkage:

Check out PitchPick at their website, here.

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