StartUs Presents: Firminside

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Firminside wants to bridge the gap between companies and job candidates. Read up on it in this edition of StartUs Presents with co-founder Viktor Štefaňák!

Describe Firminside in 50 words or less.

Firminside increases the engagement between the right candidates and companies with a new approach. All is happening via videos and pictures. Usually, candidates do not know the company culture before they fill out the application. Firminside is here for them.

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

I realized that a regular 9-to-5 job is not for me. In this stage of my life, anyway. You never know, it might change some day. But I do not want to say to 45-year-old Viktor, “Aaargh, you should have done this and that…” No, I am trying and I will make it! This is my approach to life. I am really blessed that my parents support me and are helping me. Not 100 %, because they are used to living the “regular” life, job sleep job sleep job sleep. Again, it might be like that for a lot of people, but at this stage in my career, I am trying to build something that helps others.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

First of all, we are not saying that our solution is the best one ever. But we will open the doors for people who are on a crossroad, who are not familiar with companies’ names, who would like to see the inside of their dream job. And if we help at least one person to find a dream job, I know that our solution has been worth the while. And after that one person, we will double it, then double it and then …. you know. But I’d be pretty happy if we could help people in HR to start thinking about the change. To make them realize that this isn’t 1998 anymore.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

Right now, we are focusing on daily visitors, our fan engagement, but the main focus is on sent CVs. This is our biggest obstacle these days. We cannot provide many CVs of right candidates for our clients. And we are dealing with it on a daily basis. Another way is talking with successful people from our business. They are bringing in a new approach and looking at our business from a different perspective.

Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.

Before I go to the office, I usually work out at home for a bit. Then my brain and body start to work in a proper way and temperature. I come to the office around 9 or 10 and catch up with Peter, my partner. Together we go through our day agenda, replies to emails, dealing with client profiles, tasks and so on. Usually, we have meetings outside or we have some photo shooting as well. That’s our business, man! And the most exciting part of it: we usually leave between 4 and 6 pm.

Already pivoted? Did customers use the career platform like you imagined it in the beginning?

Not yet. As I mentioned before, this is one of our biggest challenges. Helping people find their dream jobs, but on the other hand letting them know that we are here. Come to see the “inside.” To be honest, I thought that our solution is going to rule the world. At least it looked like that from the beginning in the Slovak market. But it seems like people are not appreciating the solution as much as we hoped.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

Right now it’s just our money and savings. In the future, our model is B2B. So our clients should be the biggest fuel. But right now, we are using mostly our own money, just like many projects that are not in Forbes magazine yet. We do have revenues, but we need to grow them exponentially. We’re still thinking about the right business model.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

We are focusing on quality service and support. It might sound cliché, but we are trying really hard. From time to time, we forget to reply to an email or to do the follow up. But we are in the process of learning. That’s what I really like. Every day is full of new tasks. Sometimes there are no tasks, so we go home! But we are focusing on US market trends and try to implement them “inside.” I don’t understand how they could be so far ahead of us?!

What do you look for in team members?

That one is easy. Again, it might sound like a cliché. Self-confidence, entrepreneurial thinking, someone who can make their own decisions – this is a must. I do not want to micromanage every single thing. I think when somebody can prove themselves, they do not need any degrees or experience in their CV. I do not care about experience. If I see you can do it, do it with us. You are very welcome.

Why would a talent join your team?

We are a young company which might last longer than 2 years. Sorry, this is a statistic! No, seriously, we offer freedom, a small team, so there are no barriers, and you could actually steer the wheel. Because we are really open to new ideas and solutions. In a small company, you can’t hide behind anybody. Your every decision could actually earn or cost a lot of money. This is what we offer.

What was your most memorable moment so far?

Pioneers festival in Vienna. We had never been outside of our country with our own projects. We saw how these big events work, and we know that right now, it’s important to attend events which are more specific to our business. Because there are tons of people out there who are doing the same thing and trying to reach their goals.

Another moment was at the beginning when we lost a lot of money for wrong outsourcing. It cost us a lot of savings but it was better than in learning about things like that in school.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

Do not hesitate. With anything. Go to market, with any idea, ask your potentional clients and they will tell you if they will use your product or not. And if they are willing to pay for it!

Try out your ideas even if they are crazy. These days, in 1 or 2 months you will receive very useful feedback from the market. If it’s possible, do not hurry to quit your job. You could develop an MVP while you are working, and show some people. If they like it, you might consider to quit and go full time. Or you have support from your parents or you are actually a bit older and have your own savings. Go for it 110% now and in 2 to 3 months you will see which direction you should take.


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