Life lessons from a Startup Entrepreneur

By Deepak Pathak

Business Focus: Innovative Recruiting Startup

BeHiring ReviewWelcome to the new feature where I look at a business in-depth. This ‘Business Focus’ aims to inspire and motivate you within your business, whilst giving you answers to issues that you may be facing too.

We start with a very innovative startup within the Recruitment Industry. A startup that within a few intense month has gone from concept to full beta testing to talks with potential ‘white label’ partners. (White labelling means the reselling of the entire technological backend, with another companies branding on the front end).

A startup with two twenty something Oxford grads at the helm, and a startup that has been receiving many award nominations.

Let me introduce you to the UK-based firm, BeHiring. Run by Sam Adcock and John Cant.


Tell me what Behiring is:

BeHiring is a recruitment solution that centres around three main benefits:

  1. We Streamline the Recruitment process (helping make it easier and efficient)
  2. We help you gain better Quality Candidates (we expand your reach quickly and easily)
  3. We even save companies money too (helping say goodbye to expensive agency fees)

What we do is provide a very simple but effective framework for companies to use for their recruitment needs. currently companies use a mixture of expensive newspaper ads, paying high agency fees and of course paying to be placed on job boards. They then spend a lot of human hours reading through all the applications, shortlisting them and interviewing them.

All of which is harder for smaller companies because they do it less often, so do not have the correct systems in place to make it easy, let alone the necessary skills in the recruiting area.

What smaller companies traditional do is to decide the need for a new job. Ring up their local JobCentre or newspaper to advertise the placement. Receive lots of paper or electronic applications which are in various different emails. Waste a lot of time bringing all the stuff together before shortlisting people for an interview.

We have a system that takes companies step by step through the whole process. It allows you to create job adverts easily from templates. It allows you to post to job-boards at a much cheaper rate than if you go direct (the power of bulk buying) and it allows you to see all your candidates easily on one screen, allowing you to compare them and shortlist them with ease.

We even have a unique feature where candidates can complete a test, so you can be sure the candidates you shortlist will be of better quality.

Oh almost forgot! Our prize feature is a video interview system, the invaluable tool for corporate users. It allows shortlisted candidates to upload video responses to certain interview questions. Meaning you do not have to spend time organising first round interviews (and the expense of flying them in) as they are uploaded and ready for your viewing whenever you are ready.

Simple solution that will save companies time, money and a lot of energy.


Interesting idea, where did the concept originate?
[Sam] It was quite funny actually. I was graduated from Oxford and interviewing for jobs just under 12 months ago. As you will be aware, with the current economic climate there are  thousands of people applying for each job, so gaining an interview can be tough.

Each time I went to an interview I would always ask the questions:

‘How many others have applied for this role?’

The answer was always in the 100′s if not 1000′s.

I then started asking how they managed to sort through so many applications, and always the reply was a smile. Some even told me they waste a lot of time bringing in candidates that looked good on paper but nowhere near as good when they were directly questioned on their claims.

There were simply far too many people applying for them to seriously look at every application. So I started to wonder what was needed to help me stand out.

I though about a system whereby applicants had to complete a test before getting to stage 2. That would help me at least eliminate some of the unworthy competition.

BeHiring PhilosophyHowever still it would be a little pot luck as to whether I was lucky enough to be selected to round 2. I had to be in the right pile of CVs/resumes and looked at by the right person, because on average an HR recruiter scans your application for less than 30 seconds before making a decision.

So I started thinking how great it could be if everyone could provide a video interview too. This would save the recruiter many hours of direct face to face interviews and allow them to really narrow down who the best candidates were. Simple really!

When I tested the idea with a number of recruiters, it was not only well received but I found that smaller companies were looking for a system that would make their recruiting process as organised as the big boys too. So I know we had something that was needed by almost everyone in the recruitment world.

I got in touch with John and the idea was officially born.


 So what are your backgrounds?

Actually we both studied Engineering at Oxford University where we met. We also had a third partner we met at a Oxford geek night, where techies get together.

We were young students with nothing to lose, so we gave it a go.


John, I hear there is an interesting story regarding your programming skills:

I actually program in Ruby, which I only started learning 6 months ago. Our former partner Arek, was also a programmer so I had some allowance on learning time. Currently I’m the only programmer so I do everything and I’m quite proud of it!

Actually although I just started learning Ruby, I started programming when I was eight. Mom got fed up of me running riot around the house. Being a programmer herself, she decided to sit me down and start teaching me something useful.

It was great because unlike an instrument which takes many hours of practice, with programming you can create cool stuff very very quickly.


So what happened to the third partner?

We parted very amicably. He decided to relocate in order to pursue romantic interests and although we were sorry to see him go, we wished him luck with what he felt was important to him.


How did you actually begin work?

Whilst searching for options on how to begin a startup we found out about Oxygen Accelerator, a 13 week startup incubator that provides seed funding, offices and mentors to help kick-start selected project. We applied, got in and very quickly things start to take shape.


How well received is your product?

We are almost ready for full beta, but just last night I attending an industry event OnRec (Online Recruitment Organisation), where we were nominated for ‘best newcomer’ award.

We were very surprised and honoured to be nominated and its great recognition that the industry itself believes in our service too.


What would you say is the best thing about being in a startup?

[Sam] The freedom of being you own boss. It’s challenging at times of course, and long hours, but I love it.

[John] Definitely being your own boss. There is something about not being told what to do,  which makes you feel great.


What have been the negatives of being in a startup?

[Sam] – Ironically it is also being your own boss. You only have yourself to blame and you cannot afford to slack. The pressure is always on and sometimes it can be very lonely.

[John] – It is much harder than it sounds.It is a lots of long hour days and the money at the start can be very very tight.

You have to learn so many things so fast. You have to learn to manage yourself and your partners. You then need to manage staff and outsourcing partners whilst still looking at the future strategy of the business. It’s a lot to learn in a very small period of time.


What has been your best moment?

[John] Investor days. There is something about standing up in front of seriously successful business people and having them acknowledge how cool your idea is.

[Sam] The best day is yet to come!


Worst moment?

[Sam] – Looking at the bank balance!

[John] – There was a week where everything happened at once. Arek announced he had to leave and Sam had relationship ending issues meaning there was a lot of sadness and demotivation all round. That was a very tough and testing period that could have ended us. Thankfully we pulled through.


What advice would you like to give to anyone looking to partake in a new startup?

[Sam]  – Forget the girlfriend !!!

[John] – Outsource anything you are not good at. It’s always hard to do, but looking back we wish we had learned to do it sooner instead of trying to soldier on.


What are the plans for the future?

[John] – We have very exciting times ahead. We have many new members of staff coming on board and lots of interest from investors. The beta will be in full swing within days and we will really be rocking.

[Sam] – Echoing John, the future starts now for us. We still have a few cool ideas up our sleeves and amazingly everything seems to be coming together. It really is an exciting time for us…



Sam and John will be answering your questions, so be sure to ask them whats on your mind, in the comments sections below

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  • Brooklyn - March 30, 2012 reply

    First Comment!

    Dee this was an awesome interview. I really like this segment and I will be reading every one of these for sure!

    BeHiring sounds like a phenominal concept. I have been a job seeker, and you always knew that a lot of times the resume that you spent time on was probably not even getting a glance.

    I think that the concept behind this is really a Win for everyone. Actually getting a chance to see a potential candidate will have a huge impact in the hiring processs.

    I really loved reading about the process it took to get the concept off the ground. It really shows that ideas can happen if you have a plan and get moving on it!

    Great job again Dee and congratulation to Sam and John at BeHiring


    Dee - April 2, 2012 reply

    Congrats on being first Brooklyn!

    The world of startups has been a truly eye opening experience. So many young people, take their ideas and instead of the small environment that most Internet Marketers experience, these guys really think huge from the start.

    I think they have a really cool idea and it will be interesting to follow them as they grow. Partly because I’m helping develop the strategy too :)

    Sam and John was respond to this shortly

  • Noel Cunningham - April 1, 2012 reply

    Hey Dee,

    Very uplifting post today – nice to hear of Sam and Johns success! I think with the way things are nowadays not enough media coverage is given to these young guys who are making big strides and launching successful business…

    Sounds like a great idea and no doubt we’ll hear a lot more from them. Thanks for sharing this – looks like there’s hope for us all yet:)

    Dee - April 2, 2012 reply

    Noel, so true. What these young guys are doing is rather inspiring. Of course it has not all been easy, and it still isn’t but watching an idea go from concept to creation is pretty cool.

    They had a hard fight getting to where they are, almost like a roller coaster winding itself up to the top of the first drop. It’s now the exciting part, when the roller coaster just hangs, pauses at the top of the drop for just a few seconds….

    Let’s see where the ride takes them!

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