Meet Amy Seibel, Co-Founder and CEO of TwelveJobs, a job matching platform that’s eliminating bias in hiring by algorithmically matching job seekers and employers, and hiding identifying information.
GH: What is TwelveJobs?
GH: What was your Eureka moment: how did TwelveJobs get started?
AS: I remember the first time I walked into a meeting – with over a dozen people, from multiple companies and organizations – and noticed I was the only woman in the room. From that point onward, I would often find myself calculating what percentage of participants in a given meeting were women; it was rarely above 30%. I wanted to do something that would give more people a seat at the table. Interestingly, building more diverse teams also benefits companies financially; on average, more diverse companies outperform their less diverse competitors.
GH: How did you build/are you thinking about building your team?
We’re currently a two-person team (Amy Seibel and Nat Seelen). Nat had been the Director of Data at Brooke Charter Schools, an Education Pioneers Fellow at Citizens Schools, and an HR consultant for nonprofits. I had managed projects and business operations for large technology designs and implementations before completing a joint MBA and Fulbright grant at IE Business School in Madrid.
When we’re ready to expand, we’ll be focused on building a diverse team where each new hire is well suited to their positions, in terms of both their qualifications and their goals. And of course, we’ll plan to use TwelveJobs!
GH: Startup life is full of failures and ‘make it work’ moments – can you identify how you bounced back from one of yours?
When we first started alpha testing, we gathered feedback on aspects of our user experience that were frustrating or confusing for users. It was a little disheartening at the time, but we listened carefully and made a lot of changes before releasing our beta test. It was exciting to see that most of the alpha-stage issues have since been resolved – and our profile completion rate is now over 90%. Based on feedback from our beta testers, we plan to make some additional updates. Stay tuned.
GH: What is your company philosophy driving your company culture?
Learn from everything you do.
GH: What did you learn from your first customers?
We learned a lot about which data they needed before making an interview decision, and how to present that data. We also learned a lot about the proper communication flow between job seekers and employers.
GH: What has the Boston ecosystem provided you?
The Boston ecosystem has provided support, information, and motivation, plus a healthy pool of potential customers: There are roughly 250,000 students spread across the colleges and universities in Greater Boston. I can’t talk about the Boston ecosystem or Own The Boardroom’s progress thus far without thanking Babson WINLab for their helpful programming, connections to prominent men and women in the Boston business scene, and a network of inspiring and supportive fellow women entrepreneurs.
GH: What is the Boston ecosystem lacking from your perspective?
I would be interested in seeing more formal mentoring opportunities outside of universities and accelerators.
GH: What’s the best/worst piece of advice you were given along the way?
Challenge the assumptions that keep you from pursuing your dreams.
GH: What was the best thing that happened to you last year?
We launched our beta test and had our first paying customers!