Job training programs believe in the value of interview prep. But each organization is busy, working to help many people improve their job readiness at the same time. Job interview prep, very time-consuming to do well, is often underinvested in. The lowest paying jobs may not have challenging interviews, but to get the jobs with career-growth and good pay, you need to interview well. That's where Talk Hiring comes in.
Before working on Talk Hiring, I was a software engineer. I felt increasingly guilty as much of my industry was writing code to automate the jobs of others.
In February 2018, I started volunteering with a workforce development nonprofit in Brooklyn. I loved helping low-income New Yorkers with their resumes, cover letters, job applications, and of course, interview skills. I had never done this work before but I was hooked, and continued volunteering weekly.
While volunteering, I noticed that the career development tools in the market didn't fit the needs of workforce development programs. Workforce development programs are doing extremely important work, but the tech industry has largely ignored them as customers of their products. Many participants of job training programs have limited or no access to computers with an internet connection. Some were skeptical about tools to download or create passwords for. Everyone was comfortable talking on the phone and texting. I thought that if there was an extremely simple, low-tech product that had industry-relevant interview questions, the workforce development industry would be interested.
In the late spring of 2018, I was walking around my hometown in New Jersey, talking to business owners about their hiring challenges. I entered a sushi restaurant and was greeted by a waiter, who is now my co-worker, Anson. He told me that the boss was out, but that he would take down my information. The boss ended up returning to the restaurant a few minutes later, and we had an informative chat about his hiring challenges.
After leaving the restaurant, I received a call from Anson. He had been eavesdropping and was excited about my idea. He was a self-taught programmer, looking to break into the tech scene. Later, we met at the local Starbucks and talked more about the company and his skill set. He began working with me informally for a few months as a trial run, and has been working with me on Talk Hiring ever since. He's built out a lot of our automated mock interview feedback and Talk Hiring website.