Underdog – a talent platform [expert interview]
Josh Goldstein is a co-founder at Underdog.io, a talent platform working with tens of thousands of candidates and hundreds of top technology companies. Josh is also a co-owner of Sourcing.io. Prior, Josh worked at a VC-backed startup, at a VC firm, in finance, and as a professional poker player. He holds an MBA from UNC-Kenan Flagler and a BA from Emory University.
Underdog isn’t just a collection of profiles. What is different about your platform? What makes Underdog unique?
Underdog.io is far from just a collection of profiles. It’s a platform where top technical, product, and business talent are connected with growing technology companies.
My co-founder and I saw first-hand how growing tech companies struggled with the traditional candidate sourcing and recruiting model. And, we had been on the other side, dealing with the inefficiencies of finding new, meaningful work.
With Underdog.io, we’ve made the process much simpler. Candidates submit their information in 60 seconds. If they’re approved, they are released in a new weekly batch to a curated network of top technology companies. Companies reach out directly to candidates, so as a candidate, you can be interviewing directly with internal recruiters, hiring managers, and founders within a week’s time of your application.
What is Underdog’s mission?
Our mission is to help growing companies hire great teammates. Since launching in 2014, we’ve partnered with hundreds of technology companies and tens of thousands of candidates in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and beyond.
We’ve heard from recruiters that finding true IT talent is sometimes the hardest part. How costly have you found that to be?
Having a team that executes effectively is often cited as the number one reason why a company succeeds or fails. But it can be extremely costly to find great technical talent.
External agency recruiters sometimes charge 20-25% of a candidate’s first-year salary if he/she successfully places a candidate. Oftentimes the work that a recruiter puts in does not equal the value that they create. For more on this, read our very first blog post: Builders Build Startups. Recruiters Don’t.
Both Underdog and DevSkiller exist because we’re trying to improve the recruitment process. How are you making it more efficient and easier for recruiters to find talent?
We pride ourselves on the quality, consistency, and transparency of our marketplace:
Quality – We admit just 15% of candidates and 50% of companies that apply to join our
marketplace, ensuring that high-quality companies see talented candidates.
Consistency – Every week, our customers receive a new batch of technical, product, and
business candidates that they can access directly in their inbox or through our web platform.
Transparency – We don’t anonymize candidate data or intermediate company-to-candidate
interactions, leaving companies free to interact directly with candidates.
We don’t just focus on quality; we’re also a more affordable approach to growing your team. We offer our companies straightforward, flexible payment plans. With Underdog.io, you’ll make your next hire for a fraction of the cost of traditional recruiters or other hiring platforms.
What about the candidate’s side? What can IT talent expect to get as help from your platform?
They can expect to be connected directly to some of the fastest growing technology companies. Not everyone is approved, but it’s a 60-second application to give it a shot.
We should also talk about “Sourcing.io”, a tool for sourcing great tech talent, powered by Underdog. How does it work?
Sourcing.io, a sister product to Underdog.io, is our sourcing tool that helps recruiters, hiring managers, and founders identify talented passive engineering candidates. It’s a searchable index with information on millions of software engineers. You can search the database using custom filters and connect your team’s social accounts to see which engineers are in your company’s extended network. We acquired Sourcing.io back in December 2015.
What other tools would you recommend to recruiters that are complementary to yours? What else would you say is necessary?
That depends on what the recruiter is trying to accomplish.
We encourage most companies with at least a few concurrent openings to invest in an applicant tracking system (ATS). We’re partial to Greenhouse or Lever, two of our integration partners and current Underdog.io customers. If a company is relatively unknown, we suggest investing a portion of the recruiting budget on company branding. Companies that might be able to help include Glassdoor, TheMuse, BuiltIn, StackOverflow, and Comparably. But, a company can also sponsor a Meetup, or hold an event to get it’s name out there.
We’ve recently made Devi – the friendly owl. She’ll be helping recruiters better understand our product. Where did Bark Ruffalo come from and what does he do?
Bark Ruffalo has been the Underdog.io mascot since day one. He was originally designed by our friend, Justin Pervorse. Getting a new job can be stressful, so he helps to lighten the mood for our candidates.
Funny enough, back in 2014, Bark was picked as one of The 8 Best New Startup Logos Of The Year by Business Insider.
In order to stay up to date, what web portals and blogs do you follow? What would you recommend for HR professionals?
Good question. We were just taking stock of what we read. In no particular order, we tend to read blog posts published by Stack Overflow, Lever, Greenhouse, Entelo, Authentic Jobs, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Culture Amp. We also tend to read blog posts by our friend Aline Lerner, and almost anything First Round puts out.