Marko, Joel and Natalie started a business story with more than a happy end. It’s a happy beginning for many working moms with great talents, searching for flexible employers. FlexCareers is a company that recognizes talented women who need to be enabled to realize their career goals, without sacrificing their lifestyle and commitments.
They engineer game-changing technology to connect working mothers with progressive employers that offer flexible work. This innovative, positive, community changing, attentive and transparent company really makes a difference and we are more than proud to collaborate with them. We’ve asked them a couple of questions to introduce them and their work. As they say, they’re more than just a job site, and that is true.
The work and goals of FlexCareers is truly impressive. Please, tell us what was it like at the beginning of your company? What were the challenges and rewards you’ve faced?
The idea for FlexCareers came from Joel’s (the other co-founder) wife in late 2014. She, like many women in her personal network, faced issues with returning to the workforce after a period of absence and thought that there needed to be a direct channel to connect women as a professional community with prospective employers. After a period of market research and validation, we were convinced that it was a concept which would be welcomed by the market.
The biggest challenge we faced initially was the fact that neither of us had a computer science background. We had some knowledge of HTML, various CMS systems and social media, but we needed the help of an agency to get the first MVP out. We were lucky to get introduced to a very capable and ethical agency, which got us underway. The second biggest challenge was to find a top-tier CEO to run and represent the organisation. We needed a person with strong expertise in all facets of HR and a strong belief in the mission of our business. The biggest concern we had was that we wouldn’t be able to find anyone who might leave a large corporation to take a chance on a small, underfunded (at the time) start-up. Once again, we got lucky! I found Natalie Goldman in my personal network and securing her services was a transformational event for the company. She brought her expertise, networks and passion to the company, which when combined with a strong product, produced excellent results over the last 2 years.
You are creating a community that will be more supportive, positive and open-minded, do you think that the changes in our society are happening fast enough?
The feedback from our community and clients is suggesting that changes are occurring rapidly, especially with respect to employers offering flexible work arrangements as a tool to attract, retain and motivate their employees. In addition to that trend, societies, governments and employers are recognising the economic benefits of increasing the participation rate of females in the workforce. In Australia, a government agency called the Workplace Gender Equality Agency requires all employers with more than 100 employees to report the gender breakdown of their workforce and policies they have in place to promote the retention and advancement of women.
How big is your network of busy working moms today?
We are about to celebrate a significant milestone in the next 2 weeks, with FlexCareers reaching 100,000 candidates on our database and social media across Australia and New Zealand. The great majority are female, but there is an increasing trend men also searching for flexible work arrangements.
Tell us more about the increasing trend of men looking for flexible work arrangements.
The other co-founder, Joel, is a father to three lovely young girls and is working flexibly with FlexCareers so that he can support his wife, Emily, who returned to work full-time. He authored an interesting blog post detailing their experiences:EEK! – MY WIFE IS GOING BACK TO WORK FULL TIME!
The trend of dads staying at home to look after children is on the increase, as is knd of other dads requiring more flexibility from their employers, so that they can play an active role with family responsibilities which can occur during the working day (eg school drop off and pick up and so on).
We’ve read about FlexMatch and its impressive performances and goals. You claim that with its help, hiring managers can create a shortlist of candidates in just 15 minutes. How long did it take for you to develop such an efficient algorithmic matching technology? Could you tell us how it works?
Joel authored a nice blog post on full features of the algorithm and what it can accomplish for the candidates.
On the candidate side of the platform, the algorithm only sends the most appropriate and relevant jobs that line up to the candidate’s experience, education, location and flexibility requirements. For the employers it delivers the mirror image of the candidate experience, an instant short-list of candidates best matched to a role they are looking to fill.
The algorithm has had access to hundreds of millions of CVs from which it was able to analyze career paths and to use that machine learning to assist candidates and employers with their needs.
You’ve created FlexCoach which lead you to create FlexPro and we can say only great things about them. Do you have any new projects planned for the future?
The development pipeline is full for the remainder of 2018. Our focus is on bringing to market products which will help employers implement flexible work arrangements in their workplace. On the candidate side, we will be bringing in a whole host of analytics and resources which will give them the edge in their job search.
Working with remote agencies in the world of start-ups can be challenging. Could you tell us why you decided to work with Kodius - a company so far away?
With the technology available today, distance should be no barrier. There are many excellent project management and project tracking packages allowing efficient delivery of complex web applications. When you in add various communication and productivity software as well as videoconferencing, working with someone in Europe is really no different than working with someone in Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland (our other offices outside of Sydney). The key though is to partner with an agency with a very strong commercial sense and deep understanding of your business goals.
We decided to work with Kodius as we needed access to a team who could provide significantly greater output as our business grew rapidly. After a period of due diligence, we decided that they were a perfect fit for us as a long-term partner.
You have been working with Kodius for over a year now. What do you think about your collaboration?
I keep mentioning all these instances of luck and how we came across Kodius was another example. I had been doing some reading on “Ruby on Rails” (web application framework which we use) and I stumbled across an article authored by the Kodius CEO on the subject.
What blew me away was the fact that an article on such a niche area of web development had over 1.000 social reactions (presumably from other experts). To me, this represented strong proof that he was one of leading “Ruby” authorities. We connected very quickly and I had a good “vibe” about it. Of course, this was nowhere near enough, so we had our CTO, Brett, and our Head of Customer Success, Paula do some deep due diligence on Krešimir and the team. They were both delighted and recommended that we partner with Kodius.
There is no doubt that the collaboration has been a stunning success and that Kodius have played a large part in our success and growth. They really understand what we are trying to achieve as a business and always understand the context which helps tremendously as it means they think as product managers/owners rather than just as a development team. There is an old adage in IT which states that when faced with choosing between quality, price and speed, that you can only have a maximum of two, but never three. I can confidently say that I feel that Kodius is as close as possible to delivering all three to FlexCareers.
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