Tech guru Paul Graham once wrote that startups are characterized by growth. But growth requires hiring, and hiring remains one of the biggest challenge for tech companies of all sizes.
Distill announced today that it has closed $1.3 million to improve the process of interviewing job applicants and make interviewing itself more “scaleable.”
Distill has created a suite of products that enable collaborative video interviews in the browser as well as tools for scheduling, taking and sharing notes, and posing ability assessments. Employers can test developer candidates through collaborative coding sessions or watch a sales manager make a pitch.
“There’s been innovation in the hiring and recruiting space with players like LinkedIn, but it’s mostly been in the area of sourcing candidates,” said founder Deng-Kai Chen to VentureBeat. “There’s been very little disruption in the actual interview process. The interview process is where you spend the most time as well as where you get to know the candidate [and] therefore is the most important part of the entire hiring funnel.”
Hiring and recruiting are extremely competitive in the tech world. Companies search hard and battle it out for the best candidates. They often look abroad to find potential hires, which makes online interviews a preferable format. Furthermore, hiring the “wrong” candidate — namely, someone who isn’t skilled for the job or isn’t a good cultural fit — is a costly and time-consuming mistake.
Distill is built on a web real-time communication (RTC) platform. Interviewers and interviewees can “co-browse,” transfer files, and demonstrate their abilities, so it more closely resembles an actual in-person interview.
There is no shortage of services that enable video-chatting — such as Google Hangouts, Skype, FuzeBox, GoToMeeting, and WebEx — as well as direct rivals like InterviewStream, Hirevue, Sparkhire, and Interview4 that are specifically designed for online interviews.
Chen said that Distill stands out because it has tools for each stage of the interview process, from initial screening and scheduling through live interviews and skills tests. Companies don’t need to install plugins or exchange contact information, and it saves all the resumes and notes. Distill also snycs and organizes recruiters, coordinators, hiring managers, and applicants.
Chen and his cofounder Ken MacInnis were responsible for hiring in their previous jobs. Chen served as the head of ads platform at Tapjoy and worked as a product marketing manager at Google. MacInnis was a lead architect at StumbleUpon and served as a senior technical engineer working at Yahoo.
“Regardless of company stage or scale, hiring well was one of the most critical elements for success and yet was also one of the most painful and time consuming challenges that they faced,” Chen said.
Distill is currently in a free private beta test, but it will announce pricing soon. Beta partners include Box, Disney, ClearSlide, ModCLoth, and FiveStars.
Felicis Ventures led this round, with participation from Innovation Works, DN Capital, and angel investors. It was founded in 2012 and is based in San Francisco.