Why I started Kandidate

I started my first business when I was 20.  It was called Club Class Bus and was a mobile "party bus" that took revellers to the best bars and clubs in Edinburgh.  I sold the business a while ago but I am very proud that its still going some 16 years later!  I moved to New York and was involved with 3 tech start ups as a Co-founder and CEO & CMO.  Most recently I was a GM at www.onefinestay.com and UK Country Manager at www.takeeateasy.co.uk
I wont lie to you -  to be back launching a new company feels scary.  In my twenties I was fearless because I was simply too arrogant to even assume that my venture wouldn't work out.  A few bumps later and I am a much more cautious operator than before.

In all my roles, trying to find great talent has been the one constant in all the businesses I have been involved with.  I have made good and bad hires and tried to learn from both.  The frustration for me has always been how time consuming and how expensive the process is.  Linkedin has helped entrepreneurs identify and get in touch with talent.  From there the process is time consuming, even if you use recruiters.  Tools like www.workable.com made it easier to track the candidate's progress but everyone is so busy that inevitably the process takes a while.

In my last role I set up the UK team for www.takeeateasy.co.uk (Deliveroo Competitor)  I think 50% of my time was screening, phone or skype interviews, in person interviews, giving feedback to a recruiter or searching for talent using my network and linkedin.  The one role I really found hard to fill was for Sales (aka Business Development)  We were building a team of 8 in 6 weeks so we had to see a large number of candidates.  Very early on I was using a method where I wrote down the "success criteria" for this role and I started scoring the candidate's from 1-10 so I had something to compare.  I also wanted to compare this to actual sales performance to see which "success criteria" mattered most to the business.  This methodology was adapted from Mark Roberge's fantastic book "The Sales Acceleration Formula" (bad title, great book)

Every company has its own unique requirements and culture.  At Kandidate we score talent based on 15 success criteria that we have identified.  We spend a lot of time planning what questions help us test a specific "success criteria".   "Brevity" is tested by asking the Kandidate to explain some general knowledge, for example "Explain how UK politics works".  We purposefully keep the question open and vague to see how the Kandidate assimilates knowledge and delivers the answers within 2 minutes.  We use video interviewing so we have a record of the answers that can be shared with potential companies (we always ask the Kandidate's permission each time when a company shows interest) As we build more data we will keep refining the way we test and track the results of Kandidate's versus our own scores.

My vision for Kandidate is to build a platform used for pre-screening and matching talent for roles in the UK and the US.  I want to save entrepreneurs time and money and make sure that hiring becomes 10% rather than 50% of their time used.



Alex van Klaveren

Kandidate, 73 Grafton Rd, Flat 3, London, NW5 4BB, United Kingdom