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Epi 38: Connect Beyond the Resume with Recorded Video Interviews – Andrew Wood, Co-Founder of Willo Talent

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JC: Welcome, everybody to another episode of the future of biz tech. I’m your host, JC Granger. I have with me here today, Andrew Wood, who is the co-founder of Willo. Andrew, thank you so much for being on the show. Why don’t you tell the audience a little about yourself? And what is it that Willo does?

Andrew: Thanks for having me. Awesome to be here. I’m going to try and this is a standard joke I make being a Brit. I’m going to try and be as American and upbeat as possible, but I can’t help but be sarcastic. So please forgive me for that. So first and foremost, so I’m co-founder of Willo, we launched our virtual interview platform in January 2020, which a lot of people will go, wow, that was good timing, just before the pandemic, and it’s been a really, really interesting journey for us. But essentially, what we do is we help organizations to hire in a distributed workforce and world. So, you know, we’re working in 130 different countries, we’ve got 2500 users already. And essentially what we offer is the ability for somebody to see beyond the resume. So the world of recruitment was kind of just some tech update. It’s a really hot market and HR tech at the moment.

Andrew: And we’re just trying to do one thing within that really well, which is adding vibrancy to applications by basically getting one way video interviews flexibly that people can can essentially watch in their own time. So that’s and to give you a live example of that we’re hiring at the moment, there’s a guy that we’re likely to potentially hire. And he’s currently in Sydney. So he’s nine hours behind us or in front of us, depending on how you look at it. And if he had just applied with his resume, I’d have never spoken to him because.. exactly, but his video was amazing. He explained to me that he’s moving back to the UK, and moving to Manchester, which is where I’m based, watch the video in my own time. He recorded it in his own time. And then we organized to me and it just enables that kind of frictionless process of interviewing so…

JC: Well that’s cool you know, you’re right, your timing though, is a little suspicious. There’s some people here in America that just might think you caused the pandemic for your own purposes. You’re not in cahoots with Bill Gates, are you?

Andrew: Yeah, my other business is called micro bots are us.

Andrew: Yes. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, the track tracking bots, track bots, track bots, as it was, it was interesting, because we obviously we launched in January, we’ve been developing the product since 2018. launched in January, and we were like, okay, it’s going quite well. And then March came and you’d have thought, okay, things will accelerate. But what happened was everybody panicked and stuck together that it froze.

JC: Hiring froze everything. Yeah.

Andrew: So three months into our journey, you know, a product that can help people continue to grow in the pandemic, nobody’s even looking at hiring.

JC: So when did you turn around? When did it turn around?

Andrew: Probably around July time. And I was really, what was really interesting is it turned in different places at different times. So obviously, we’ve got clients from, you know, Hong Kong to the West Coast of America. And everything in between. and, you know, the way that people have handled the pandemic is really dictated how quickly jobs have gone to come up. And we’ve been lucky that, you know, because of what we do, we can go into any country basically, and sell what we do.

JC: So that’s really cool. Well, you know, so we just hired two new salespeople, and we used a video, as part of our filtering process. One thing I really liked about it, we didn’t use your system, I’d even know about your system really well. And so you’re coming on the show here. So not for our next ones I’m about I’m probably going to take a look at it. I’d love to talk after this about, you know, getting me on your on your platform..

Andrew: Sounds good.

JC: But you know, one thing I found was that it was such a great filter to see who was really interested in not just kicking the tires, right? Because there’s a lot of services out there that people can purchase. And I’m not against this, by the way, like I get it, where, you know, they kind of they take their resume, and they just and they just shotgun it out there. I tried to get as many replies back. And then the person doesn’t even know it. Like they know what industries is going to they probably select like, okay, we’ll send it to these types of people, whatever. And so that’s great from the job seeker’s point of view. And I understand that I’m not even mad about it. That being said, as an employer, it wastes a lot of our time when you get a lot of that happening.

JC: And so what I really liked about the video was that we knew that anybody who made a video definitely really looked into us and you know, they really wanted to work for us that they looked at our website because you’re not spending that time making a video to apply somewhere if you didn’t even do research on them or read the whole description because people don’t read the whole thing you know, so I love video as an employer from its filtering capabilities, but then also, like you said to is, you know, it gives the job seeker an advantage too. I mean, like you said, you had a guy who was in Sydney, there’s no way you would have pushed off into the trash. But he made a video, he took the time you watched it and go, Oh, he’s moving right back here. And this guy’s amazing. So I see the dual benefit of that. And I think that’s really cool. So let me ask you a question then. What types of like, Who’s picking up your software? Is it enterprise-level companies? You know, these fortune 1000s that are hiring on a big scale? Is it little mom and pops, you know, who’s right now, using Willo statistically more than others?

Andrew: Yeah. So, again, difficult question to answer in terms of what do you mean by more than others? So if you..

JC: Like certain industries that seem to be doing it more than others, like do you see like, like white-collar industries, little more than like construction, for example? I mean, I don’t know just any kind of any push you see any patterns?

Andrew: Yeah, there’s absolutely patterns. So there’s generally two types of companies that work with us. So sort of small, you know, mums and pops business that really time-poor – need to hire one person needs to do it quickly don’t want to have to go through the 100 CDs and or resumes that they’ve been sent. And then the other is high-volume service industries. So you know, whether that be catering company or cleaners on an industrial scale, you know, Amazon warehouse employees, you know, all of that kind of stuff..

JC: Really?

Andrew: Really high volume yeah.

JC: What surprised me see, I would have thought that it would have been more for people who have front customer front-facing positions, because obviously if they’re good with you on video, you’re gonna be able to tell pick me good with a client know, so I could understand client front facing but you’re talking about warehouse people? Maybe you know why. Why is video so important? For behind-the-scenes jobs? In your opinion? What are you saying?

Andrew: Well, I think that it goes back to your point. Before about in that level of job, you get a lot of scatter gun, you just send out resume after resume after resume after resume trying to get a job. It’s an hourly rate job. And the reality is, you know, they’re pre uncommitted to that role. It’s not like they’re looking for a career, they’re looking for, you know, a stop-gap or a summer job or, you know, a Christmas job or whatever. So that’s really laborious for internal recruiters. And this still is, you know, wait where you ring somebody up and you’re like, Ah, yeah, I’m just calling about the the warehouse job that you applied for, and the candidates like, oh, sorry, yes. Which ones that and you go, Oh, yeah, I’m calling from MDM industries. And you’re like, I’m sorry, I can’t remember who you are. So tell me about this job. Why, what is it? And the recruiters, they’re like, Are you being serious?

JC: Yeah but that’s the reality though, right now, right?

Andrew: Absolutely

JC: Especially coming out of a pandemic, when, when so many jobs were gutted. You know, the equation was so upside down, you know, the amount of people applying versus what was available, you know, somebody I have a sense of empathy towards that. But I also, I have a sense of frustration, too. Because I’m usually the I’m on the call, and they’re like…

Andrew: You’re the one doing the calls.

JC: Yeah, exactly. Right. So like I see it from both sides. It’s very conflicting emotions right now.

Andrew: Yeah, it is. And it’s funny, you know, the other thing that makes it even more fickle is is actually, you know, you call the person and they’re like, I can’t remember who you are. And then if you give them as an employer a bad experience, even though they’ve answered the phone and said, I can’t remember who you are, they’ll go onto glass door and say, this interview was pretty rubbish. My experience so you’ve really got caught between a rock and a hard place. And I guess what Willo allows companies like that to do is at volume, get a great message out to the candidates, you can put your own video up there and make it much more personalized. You then only get the committed candidates back you can spend time watching and reviewing them and giving them decent feedback. So it just every user saves like 36 hours a month.

JC: Yeah so that’s what I was gonna ask him next is what kind of stats you coming across because I can imagine the time savings alone without dealing with tire kickers, no shows, you know, all the nightmares that HR or you know, HR departments deal with or even, you know, owners deal with if they’re smaller, and they even have less time to spare, right, you know, because it’s not their full-time job to hire people, they have other things to do. You know, where are you? Where are you seeing, you know, what kind of stats are you seeing all these benefits? You know, you know, you mentioned that stat there, you know, what else is popping out as far as the advantages that your customers are telling you that’s happening? 

Andrew: Yeah, I mean, the main one is definitely time saved because typically your recruitment team with, your human resources, your people team is usually the smallest in any business. So the team that takes care of your most valuable assets. Usually the most under-resourced, which is totally wrong, but it is how it is. So their main pressure is saving time and getting committed candidates through. So 36 hours per month saved, on average, you’ve got clients that have done things like so we work in the UK with the Health Service, and they reduce their shortlisted candidate replacement ratio from five to one to two to one. So they literally have to do half as many interviews, they have to get the same number of hires. And that’s because their recruitment team can send the videos over to the hiring manager. And rather than wasting time with hiring with a candidate at hiring managers never going to deal with, they don’t put them in front of them. So they just save so much time through that transparent, working together. And then, you know, other companies that we work with, and it really does depend on the job, how well it works. But we work with a company called Jenkinsons, and they hired 78% of the people that came through their Willo interviews.

JC: Wow. But I’m curious what it looks like now to use it right? Can you paint the picture? So what kind of features beyond video so that are supporting features? Like does it integrate into For example, is does it you know, does it integrate to like Zap recruit? Or somebody does have integrations? And then if not, if it’s its own system internally? What other features does it have to support the video? Like, basically, how do people get from a job ad? To do the video on your system? Is it just a link like, you know, walk me through what it really means and what it looks like to use your system from the employers point of view?

Andrew: Yeah, so we focus really heavily on having a frictionless process. And the best way for us to do that is you can invite using a link any way you like, basically. So in Indeed, you create a template that goes with a job, you can do bulk invites, you can, you know, apply via URL, and it’s just the same link that you put into each job. So you can do that excitingly. Also, you can use Zapier. So a lot of people use Zapier to obviously link to 2000 other applications. And then we also natively integrate with greenhouse and with workable, which kind of gives us superpowers and we’re on the on the ATS trail, if you like of integrating with all of those. One thing that I think your listeners will be really interested to hear is what we’re seeing more and more and more of is people wanting to take our product and take ownership over it into their own platform, so actually into their own technology, building their own interview, and onboarding process with video, the video element of it powered by Willo. So we’ve got a really great open API, I’m gonna keep winning deals on that basis, because people want to take ownership over it and actually go okay, well, this is great. But imagine if we could put it in our own tech as well. So that seems to be the kind of future of where we’re going is like a more white-labeled solution in a way.

JC: And so when people click the link, does it go to like a hosted page? And then it has like a record so like, can that be customized by the employer can be branded to the employer, and then they can record and they can have all the information below. So almost like a hosted landing page in a way,

Andrew: That’s exactly what it is. It’s just a landing page, company branding, banner, logo, quick introduction video. Again, one thing that’s really important in the New Age of asynchronous communication is authenticity. And also reciprocity, which is two very long words. But what I basically mean is, don’t have like people are moving away, I don’t know if you, you know, this, or you’ve experienced this, but people are moving away from the really flashy YouTube kind of careers videos. And what they’re trying to get is like really personalized, well, not personalized, but personal introductions to themselves. So what we allow is you as a hiring manager to record your own introduction and go, yeah, hey, this is our vision of the business. And underneath that you’ve just got free text, so you can write whatever you like.

JC: Yeah, basically. So you can even remind them about, you know, the duties of the job. And just last second, just to make sure before you record this.

Andrew: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

JC: There’s a software I use called triannual, which helps kind of what it says it helps internal training, automating internal training. We interviewed the CEO Chris Ronzio. He was I think our first episode was. Great guy, but they just came out with a feature recently on their minds me what you’re talking about, as far as recording yourself. So they have this feature now and Trainual where the other staff members can create profiles of themselves so that when a new person comes in the company, and their trip, going through their training, they can also click and see other people, you know, who they’re gonna be working with. Exactly, which I think is great. And that kind of goes to your point about having that personal touch, but you’re doing it in front of before they’re getting hired, right? Whereas, you know, they’re putting the profiles in the back end when they are, but I really do see the advantage of that type of that personal, you know, touch when it comes to who you’re going to work with or you know, or Who’s on the other side of that? That screen? You know? So let me ask a question me know, how have you guys been growing right now? And specifically, because I’m a marketing guy, right? What kind of maybe digital marketing have you been doing to grow and get the word out about Willo? what’s worked, what hasn’t worked? You know, a lot of the audience here are business owners also. So they can in the tech industry, so sometimes information is..

Andrew: Yeah, so we very much have a product-like growth strategy. So we have a freemium platform that people join. And then it’s, and you and my Co-Founder. So his background is digital marketing is worked in, mainly in the automotive industry, building businesses, for other people and building them on the basis of great digital marketing. And my background is basically a sales bloke. And we so we generate, you know, quite a lot of free signups over the month. And the main thing that that’s through again, talking about authenticity is review websites, to be honest. So the likes of G2, Capterra, etc. Because people, it’s still a relatively new thing when we’re video interviewing. So people need to seek other people’s advice as to what you know what’s going to fit their need. So that’s our most successful channel. And then just Google, you know, Google AdWords, etc. We don’t, we don’t really don’t do any, you know, organic stuff at the moment. It’s mainly paid media. And then we do a lot of stuff like this. So talking about what is the future of video interviewing. And one really great network effect that we have is the more interviews that we do, the more people are aware of Willo. So quite often, what we actually get is people do a Willo interview for a role somewhere else, they then move to a different business or whatever, they talk about it within a company. And there’s an amazing network effect where they just keep referring people in.

JC: I guess your best case scenario is if someone’s being hired for HR, and they have to use your what we thought we’d have it, yeah, but we’re gonna use it in my new job now.

Andrew: Yeah, we literally I literally had an enterprise-level client come to us today, we did a demo with them when amazing, we like, oh, out of interest, how did you hear of Willo and they go? Well, we actually hired somebody who used Willo for free in another business, they joined here. And we’re like, okay, and that’s why product-like growth works. And people go, why are you giving away for free, it’s like, I’m not giving it away for free forever, one. And number two, if they leave, and they’ve had an amazing experience filling one job for free, and they go to an enterprise business, working alongside the VP of people, they’re going to recommend our product. So it’s a huge, you know, network effect that we see.

JC: So let’s kind of parlay on that a little bit. You were talking about the future of video interviewing. So where do you see, first off the future of video interviewing in general, whether it be you know, your competitors, and just the whole industry and whatnot? You know, where do you see that in three, five years? You know, is there other than it just being adopted more? Where do you see, do you see any new technology advances? Do you see any new integrations? You know, if you had to have your magic eight ball, other than just more widely used? What would you say is coming down the pipeline, industry-wise?

Andrew: Really, really interesting stuff? I think it’s coming. And it’s going to be a really tumultuous world video interviewing, because a lot of organizations are pushing that AI side of things, you know, biometrics and all of that stuff. But at the same time, a lot of HR and diversity advocates are pulling away from the AI and video and biometrics because of the lack of accuracy. And, you know, all of the hype around algorithms, and who wrote the algorithms? So how do you know you’re getting the right decision? So there’s gonna be some really interesting stuff around that. What we want to do with the kind of AI world is less about the judgment of people and more about the streamlining of process. So not, you know, should you hire this person or not? Please tell me robot. But if you do like this person, when can they interview? And how does that fit with your schedule? And how can we make sure that they apply to the job?

Andrew: How do you learn from the decisions that you’re making about holding, you know, hiring managers accountable to diversity and inclusion targets? And all of that stuff, to us is much more interesting to give you Intel around how your recruitment processes working, as opposed to Who should I be hiring by using a computer telling you whether to do that or not. So again, it comes back to the kind of ethical debate of AI and where it should sit and where it shouldn’t. So I think you’ll see loads of different offerings within that in the future and in probably the next 18 months to two years, if not, if not even quicker. And then, you know, from our perspective, what we’re trying to talk about, so we talk about flavors within our business and recruitment is one flavor but then much like your other example, what else can people be using one-way video interviews for? So whether it’s engagement or reviews, marketing, you know, testimonials training, for example..

JC: I like the testimonial part there, because when I ask for a testimonial from a client, like right now they kind of just use their iPhone, which I like because it’s very raw. And whoever’s viewing it can tell that this was just them wanting to do this, you know, but since everyone has a webcam now, because I kind of have to, I think I didn’t think about using yours for testimonials. That’s a really good idea. Because I imagine that importing that information, it makes it so much easier for the entire testimonial campaigns together in an email drip series, you know, that gives them the link and say, Hey, if you want to give a testimonial, and maybe here’s some incentive or whatever, that’s interesting, I’ll have to take a look at that angle. For sure. I like that.

Andrew: Again, it comes back to that being authentic. So your iPhone, you can still use Willo to do your iPhone. But you know, you’ve then got to send it via WhatsApp. And then you’ve got to download it from WhatsApp.

JC: Yeah, sending it over is a problem. Yeah.

Andrew: As oppose if you just send them a link and say, Hey, why don’t you record a quick video, you’ve done an intro video to it. These are the things we’re looking for. Can’t wait to hear your testimonial. Just click record. And I’ll get it downloaded. And through Zapier, you can push it through a, you know production site as well. So and we’re doing some really cool, I don’t know if you should get this guy on a company called Bannerbear. Amazing business API lead business, you can push video straight through Bannerbear, and it’s actually strings, those videos together, puts marketing banners on them and then spits them out directly into your social media content.

JC: Oh, that’s cool.

Andrew: So you can literally streamline the whole process to actually being posted. it’s genuinely..

JC: No kidding. Yeah, banner bear. I remember that one. Banner bear. Okay. All right. Let’s talk about you, though. I want to make sure I’m focusing on Willo, though. 

JC: So let me ask you a personal question here. When you were a kid, you know, what did you want to do when you grew up? And then Is this it? And if not, how did it get here from that? Like, what was that initial dream of? What do you want to be versus where you’re at now?

Andrew: Well, originally, I wanted to be a train driver.

JC: Really? Okay.

Andrew: Because I was a kid and who doesn’t?

JC: Yeah, I want to be a choo choo man!

Andrew: On a proper steam train, you know, like, yeah, black cap and, and all that, then I wanted to be an international hockey player. Failed hockey, not lucky, unfortunately.

JC: Okay

Andrew: I still play hockey. And then I went to a school where you didn’t have to wear a uniform, which is very unusual in the UK. Most people, you know, they have set uniforms that you have to wear. And I was like 11 years old, and I walked up to school in a shirt, tie, briefcase, basically in a suit at 11. Because I wanted to go into business like my dad. So I was like obsessed with him coming home in a suit and what have you. So I kind of always knew that I do one of those three things. When I realized you don’t get paid enough to be a train driver, and I’m not good enough at hockey to be an international hockey superstar.

JC: Three is not bad. You still got one of your top three? That’s a good one. Yeah. And then who knows? Maybe you’ll get a train set later. And then you can play field hockey with your new child that’s being expected soon. Right? You know.

Andrew: That’s my dream

JC: You might get all three eventually.

Andrew: That’s my dream. One of my heroes, again, in the UK, he bought his own train. So he bought a train and a length of track that he could just drive up and down because he’d made so much money. So that’s it. That’s what I’m aiming for now.

JC: That’s, that’s when you haven’t even yeah, that’s when you make so much money, you don’t know what to do with it. And then that becomes a new ideas that pop into your head. That’s funny. Well, here’s a quick question me, you know, what motivated you to start your company? I have no, I find that most entrepreneurs are born out of frustration. You know, I mean, was this just a random idea that popped in your head? Or, you know, did you work in HR for a while you’re like, this is crap, I need a better solution, you should decide to create one, like, what even made you take that leap to even create Willo at all?

Andrew: Well, I’ve worked in recruitment for 11 years and believe me and I was very lucky, I worked in a company that actually did mass assessment days. So rather than focusing on a resume, it was graduate roles, and they focused on potential rather than experience. So I already had that kind of indoctrinated in me that actually a resume doesn’t tell you that much about somebody’s capability. And then I was like, but there has to be a better way than you know, ferrying 50 grads into a room every week and putting them through some exercises. So there was that that was my frustration. And then on the flip side of my frustration UNs was running businesses. being incredibly time-poor as a managing director, and seeing CVS getting bored of them, seeing the wrong people hiring the wrong people. So he actually just tried to use YouTube to do it. And I worked okay. But it was clunky again. So then he was just like, well, there’s definitely a better way and that’s kind of how the business was born. So yeah, out of absolutely have frustration and just seeing the, you know, the talent market. Recruitment has been so antiquated for so long. And I think right now it’s, it’s the most exciting industry in terms of tech that I can see the changes because you’re going from such an old school sort of CV, resume-led mentality to you know, psychometric testing, AI, you know, diversity and inclusion and, and it’s, there’s just so much going on, it’s really exciting to kind of place to be so it was frustration plus excitement. I guess.

JC: That’s awesome. Well, I’m glad you did it. And I personally want to take a look at this and give it a test run, because I guess more people to hire myself. Andrew, thank you so much for being on the show. How can people find Willo? And then how can they connect with you personally, if they have some big enterprise deal they want to pitch to you?

Andrew: So connect with me on LinkedIn, I’m very open to connections just everybody calls me Woody, actually, but Andrew Wood, Co-Founder at Willo just Google that and you should find me in terms of going to Willo, just head to is our website. And there you can sign up for free. You can have a look at our authentic testimonials that we filmed using Willo. And yeah, I would just absolutely get stuck in and give it a go. And you can despite what I said earlier, you can actually use Willo free forever if you only hire for one role consistently. So yeah, get on there. Give it a go and drop me an invite.

JC: Willo W-I-L-L-O

Andrew: Yes

JC: Because well, I mean, I always say this because when my favorite movies of all time is Willow, which is W-I-L-L-O-W. And I was like, and people listening might think you know, ends and W. So I wanna make sure the spelling W-I-L-L-O dot video?

Andrew: Yeah. And that is exactly right. We dropped the W off the word Willow. That was how we came up with the name. So just W-I-L-L-O dot video.

JC: Well I appreciate your time Andrew, thanks for being on the show. And we’ll talk soon. 

Andrew: Yeah, it’s been great. Thank you.

infinityadminEpi 38: Connect Beyond the Resume with Recorded Video Interviews – Andrew Wood, Co-Founder of Willo Talent