Mark Newman was 20 years old and attending Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, and everyone was talking about Tivo, the new television-recording technology. That got Newman and a friend talking. What else could you TiVo? A class? A meeting? A family event?
Later, when they started to interview for jobs, one of them said, "What about TiVoing job interviews?" They paused.
And so it was that HireVue was born. That was in 2004 and when Newman talked about conducting job interviews via webcam, people would invariably ask, "What is a webcam?" Then, Newman and his partner won $1,000 in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge business plan competition. And soon thereafter, Newman's company, HireVue, landed a very big fish--Rio Tinto, one of the world's largest mining companies.
Rio Tinto, a former employer of Newman's father, enlisted HireVue to record interviews of highly-specialized technical geologists and mining engineers. "It was very, very difficult to find people," says Andrew Slentz, who was a vice president in human resources at Rio Tinto at the time. HireVue, he says, cut the hiring cycle down from as many as eight weeks to just 10 days. Rather than flying candidates to Salt Lake City, Slentz had them answer questions on video using HireVue. The service, Slentz says, helped Rio Tinto save $1 million in the U.S. and some $10 million in Australia.
Using HireVue, applicants can record video responses to a dozen or so questions that employers pre-record or write into the system. Recruiters can then compare and contrast job candidates. A dashboard helps employers keep track of interviews, resumes, and open positions. The company charges a subscription fee, which is based on a client's size and the number of people it hires.
For its first two few years, HireVue never topped $100,000 or so in revenue. But as people became increasingly comfortable with communicating online, Newman began attracting more customers--as well investors like Peterson Ventures and angel investors Kimo Esplin, CFO of Huntsman, and Kevin Walling, who leads human resources at Hershey.
In 2012, HireVue had more than 300 clients and revenue of $5.5 million in revenue. Last summer, the company raised $22 million of equity and debt from Investor Growth Capital and Rose Park Investors, Clayton Christensen's investment fund, bringing the total amount raised to $28 million. HireVue is not yet profitable; it is investing the money raised to grow revenue to $100 million within three years.
HireVue has plenty of competition. Applicants, for example, can easily conduct long-distance interviews via Skype, free of charge. The company also faces a slew of direct rivals, such as Interview Stream, Montage Talent, and Spark Hire.
But Newman's toughest challenge isn't coping with competition. It's hiring enough people to keep up with HireVue's rapid growth. The company plans to go from 100 to 1,000 employees over the next three years. Newman says he'll use HireVue's technology, of course.
"It's very easy to hire a bunch of sales reps," he says. "I want to hire the right sales reps."
ALLISON FASS is deputy editor of Inc.com. A longtime business journalist at Forbes and The New York Times, she has also held roles in venture capital and innovation at Hearst Interactive Media and digital strategy at a start-up consultancy. @alliefass
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