Let’s be honest, employers don’t like the process of finding employees and job candidates feel the process of application process could be better. While in some ways the conventional systems is efficient, it is sacrificing the aspect that everyone wants in their day…spontaneity. Wirkn, the startup that is making job searching fun, lets you share your story digitally with a company and allows you to actually make an impression of who you are outside the context of some text on a resume. With a recent partnership with Kik, the company lets you apply to multiple jobs maximizing reach and efficiency in your job search process. So instead of trying to add pizzazz to your resume in order to get recognized, you can just be yourself and let your personality do the talking.
LA TechWatch sits down with cofounder Todd Dean to discuss the hundreds of opportunities available on their platform and how you can take advantage of the product.
Tell us about Wirkn.
Wirkn is a mobile employment solution that leverages personality traits, interests and physical location to pair job seekers with available employment opportunities. The fastest way to connect to employers, Wirkn offers easy job discovery and provides a robust platform for dynamic video resume creation. This will best showcase a candidate’s personal brand to prospective employers for jobs within the retail, restaurant and hospitality industries. In turn, employers save valuable time and effort in finding and pre-screening qualified candidates, reducing operational costs and building a better team.
How is it different?
The Wirkn platform was designed with both the candidates and hiring managers in mind to provide candidates with a quality job searching experience on the go and hiring managers with a more efficient hiring process. Through the use of mobile solutions both in app and on the web, Wirkn helps candidates discover new brands and opportunities, streamline the application process with one-click applications as well as better present their personalities through the use of a video cover letter. Video is a key component of the application as it helps young job seekers showcase their personalities and communications skills before the initial interview. Applicants then receive notifications as to where the hiring managers are in the process of reviewing their submission and receive benefits for applying to particular opportunities.
On the hiring side, managers save time in finding the ideal candidate by reviewing video cover letters that greatly advance the pre-screening process. They are provided with the applicant’s availability upfront such that they can determine if they fit the required shift, which significantly decreases the inefficiency experienced with hiring.
In addition, Wirkn has created a chatbot for Kik that utilizes machine learning to further help candidates improve ongoing job recommendations based on user preferences and a personality quiz. This allows us to tap into Kik’s user base to further our reach when helping millennials and teens secure jobs.
What LA market are you attacking and how big is it?
Wirkn specializes in connecting job seekers with flexible, part-time opportunities for sales and customer service jobs in the retail and hospitality industries. As Los Angeles is a huge entertainment hub, Wirkn is the perfect tool to find jobs that fit any actor, model or musician’s fluctuating schedule.
What is the business model?
Wirkn is free to download for candidates, while brands subscribe on a monthly basis to post jobs as well as review and quickly access applicants’ profiles.
Why does the entertainment industry need its own specialized job search app?
Those looking to go to castings and auditions are in need of a job search app that boasts flexible, shift-based opportunities not well served by traditional career platforms. By providing their tentative availability upfront, candidates can be contacted by employers who find a match between their availability and the required shift.
Tell us a little about your background and what inspired the business?
Both myself and my co-founder, Francois Jobin, come from the retail industry. Together we oversaw HR and eCommerce for a major retailer with over 35,000 employees. We experienced firsthand the challenges that employers in retail encounter on a daily basis. We also saw that traditional recruiting platforms could not keep up with our needs nor the desires of our target demographic. We knew that with the developments of smartphones and applications, there had to be a better way, which is why we set out to create Wirkn.
Tell us what building your company in LA has been like?
Wirkn has concentrated on high density areas and made downtown LA our first focus in helping Angelenos discover jobs as well as employers find the most fitting employees. It is home to one of our preliminary clients and where we feel a lot of employment opportunities exist to help bolster the economy. We have created strong relationships both with employers and candidates who also see that downtown LA is home to some of the most dynamic, entrepreneurial thinking.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
At Wirkn, we are really focused on three things: refining the hiring process, enhancing our chatbot’s experience and building density in key markets. We are concentrating on refining the consumer and hiring manager experiences as well as points of engagements through the channels they use most. We are investing in our Kik chatbot and working to make that experience more valuable and engaging. We have a new version coming out early this fall that offers significant improvements in profiling candidates. This will improve job recommendations and further enable users to build their profile and apply to jobs from within the chat application. The key US markets we are focusing on are similar to Los Angeles and New York, where we are actively working to bring on new employers, brands and candidates.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
We would love to be put in touch with Crosscut Ventures as they are very active in the Los Angeles scene and their portfolio companies have a track record of successful exits.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and Wirkn?
Establishing a headquarter in Los Angeles was pivotal to our growth with national eyes on the city’s job growth. Los Angeles is currently outpacing the US as employment falls to 5.3 percent. This growth has been seen across all sectors, making it the perfect place to study the market.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
One of the largest struggles with early stage startups is resources, whether that is money, the proper team or space to work. Early stage entrepreneurs need to be supported with an influx of investment opportunities, a more connected network or more affordable coworking spaces to boost innovation.
What’s your favorite outdoor activity in LA?
As a company, we collectively like to travel around the city and discover new opportunities. Whether this is walking around downtown, biking by the beach or hiking as part of networking groups – the options are endless!