Why We Invested: Qualifi
The Future of Work is a projection of how the way we work will evolve. We’ve seen monumental changes over the past few years with the rise of the gig economy, the Great Resignation and the shift to remote work. Companies who innovate well around these changes are a big focus of investment for Rally Ventures.
Any tool that can dramatically increase the productivity of recruiters is really important because people have to interview and screen multiple candidates for every open position. Qualifi is an on-demand phone interview platform. It eliminates the need for scheduling phone interviews, increases the productivity of recruiters and helps mitigate bias in the hiring process.
We were introduced to Co-Founder and CEO Darrian Mikell through Rally Tech Partner Doug Berg, who has spent his career in HRtech. Doug saw a clear need in the market for a product like Qualifi and knew it would fit well into our Future of Work investment thesis.
Darrian and his Co-Founders know the recruitment space well, and they’ve really listened to their customers as they’ve built the platform. We were impressed with how capital efficient they’ve been while bringing the product to market and attracting customers. Qualifi currently has over 35 customers in a variety of high volume environments, like hospitals and call centers.
It’s a great team with a product that delivers a clear ROI in an area of investment that we feel strongly about. We’re thrilled to lead their series seed and welcome them into the Rally portfolio.
Below is a Q&A with Co-Founder and CEO Darrian Mikell.
1. What is Qualifi and what core problem does it solve?
The phone interview is usually the biggest bottleneck of the recruitment process. It can take weeks to get through, which is frustrating for both recruiters and candidates. Qualifi automates and standardizes this part of the process.
Qualifi allows recruiters to record their screening questions in their own voice, organize them into an interview set and send out interview invitations to candidates. Candidates receive the invite as a text or email, and ultimately, when ready, they click “Start” and the Qualifi system will call their phone so they can answer the interview questions.
The benefits are numerous. Recruiters are busy, and it’s hard to coordinate so many candidates. Recruiters have to receive applications, review resumes, schedule multiple interviews and then actually do the interviews. Qualifi automates this process, allowing recruitment teams to increase their pipeline while hiring faster.
Qualifi also improves the recruitment process for candidates. They now have the flexibility to do the interview on their own time. It’s more convenient, and they don’t have to wait around for weeks while the recruiter coordinates with them and other candidates.
2. What gave you the idea to found Qualifi?
My previous role was at a high-growth startup company. I was the second employee after the founder, and my job covered everything from internal operations to finance to HR and recruitment. We grew from just the two of us to 70 people in 3 years. And for the first 40 employees, I was in charge of recruitment.
I was asking the same questions for those initial phone screens, and it was tedious to get all of the candidates scheduled. The calls were scattered throughout the day and interrupted my workflow. Plus, candidates were always waiting on me to get through the process. I knew this part of recruitment could be so much better if it was automated.
Qualifi has four Co-Founders, and one of them is my brother, Devyn. My experience and frustration with recruitment resonated with him because he started a food truck in college and had to recruit staff. And in the off season, he managed a group of at-home care and elderly care facilities. Recruitment was a part of his role, and these are high-turnover environments.
We talked a lot about how to automate and improve the recruitment process. We’d call each other on our commutes and sketch out our ideas. We talked to other recruiters and got feedback. We then slowly brought our technical Co-Founders — Keenan and DeSean — on board, and that’s when the product really started to come together.
3. Qualifi has 35+ customers. What’s an example of a customer who’s really optimizing the product and what results have they seen?
Reid Health is a great customer example. They’ve been really engaged with the product. Reid Health is a 5,000 employee hospital in Richmond, Indiana. They’re the main employer in their community, and their brand and reputation are important. They want to create positive touch points with everyone who applies, but it’s a small HR team of four people who typically need to hire ~100 people per month. And they receive thousands of applications per month.
This volume really made their job tough, and their manual recruitment process didn’t afford them any time for other projects and priorities. Qualifi completely overhauled their screening process. At one point, they had a recruiter move to a different organization. They decided they were running so efficiently because of Qualifi that they didn’t need to fill that position. It was a huge savings to their bottom line.
4. How does Qualifi help mitigate bias in the recruitment process and diversify the talent pipeline?
Qualifi is audio-based, so it focuses less on the visual aspect and more on what the candidate is saying. It’s also structured so every candidate gets the same experience and you can compare them more fairly. If you’re not careful in a live interview, the conversation can go a variety of ways. Even a slight difference in how you ask a question can lead to different answers.
Being able to have the transcriptions of interview answers is also helpful to the recruiter in mitigating bias. You can focus specifically on the objectives of the interview, which is something that sets us apart.
I’m really looking forward to digging into our new data science initiatives. There’s a lot of excitement from our data scientists on what’s possible here. The data we’re providing is very structured because every candidate is getting the same experience, so you can more directly uncover patterns and draw conclusions into how people are making their decisions.
One example of an outcome from the data science initiatives is providing insights, in the most objective way possible, into what candidates are the best fit for a given role.
5. What are you most excited about in 2022?
Every year for a startup is a monumental year, but we have some really big, ambitious goals across every department in 2022. Each department is shipping something major, and I’m excited to see those features and projects come to fruition.
Our team has a strong internal conviction that what we provide has value. Last year, we started to build a lot of traction. Now it’s about hitting the gas pedal and setting ourselves apart. What we’ve built is so timely in the market today and our goal is to help as many teams as possible hire their best candidates!