Many people hate the interview process. Merify’s founder and CEO, is no different.
Many people hate the interview process. The preparation, the stress, the scrutiny, the rounds of interviews and tests, the generally dehumanizing nature of the process, and of course, the possibility that after all that effort, there’s a good chance you may not even get the gig.
Greg Gasperin, Merify’s founder and CEO, is no different.
“For me, interviewing has always been an anxiety-filled process,” said Greg. “ I would routinely stay at jobs longer than I wanted to, and always accept the first offer I got, just to limit the amount of interviewing I had to do.”
Interviewing can be a nightmare for job candidates in any industry, but this is especially true in software engineering. Engineers - even ones with years of experience and impressive resumes to show for it - are still required to brave a gauntlet of interviews, in some instances stretching over multiple days, as well as a battery of assessment testing. And all of this just to re-prove skills they’ve already proven throughout their careers.
While it’s often easy for engineers to get an interview in today’s red-hot job market, the preparation and research needed for those interviews is in itself a full-time job. Additionally, the process generally favors those with more extroverted personalities, as well as the time, resources, and ability to self-promote - none of which are necessarily skills needed on the job. All too often the result is the elimination of well-qualified candidates.
In 2019, Greg - a talented and tenured senior software engineer well-respected by his colleagues - was ready to leave his current employer for a new opportunity.
“It took me many years, but I was finally convinced that I was actually pretty good at my job,” said Greg. “Interviewing stripped all of that confidence from me, and I just didn’t want to participate in a process like that anymore. So instead of looking for another job, I began working on Merify full-time."
After a lot of long days and late nights coding solo, Greg and his Merify teammates are preparing for the brand’s initial beta launch in February 2022, which will bring their first product - a candidate-facing mobile app - to market.
I sat down with Greg to chat about his journey, Merify, and his vision for the future of hiring.
Jarod: What has been one of the bigger challenges you have come up against while getting Merify out of your head and into the world for people to use?
Greg: Because of my anxiety, I've always been risk-averse. Getting over that hurdle in order to explore an idea, even one I felt passionately about, was extremely difficult. Plus the amount of risk you have to take on in order to form a startup is prohibitively high. It took a confluence of many events for our team to be able to take on the required financial risk. And if it’s that hard for people with privilege, I can only imagine how much more difficult it is for those without. It definitely doesn’t have to be like that. If we explore ideas from their infancy, provide salaries while ideas are being built out, and establish a solid pipeline of team members required to turn an idea into a product (funded by past successes), then risk can be greatly limited. Right now most good ideas are going unexplored.
J: What is your favorite thing about Merify?
G: Working with a team I admire and respect while solving a problem that I have personally encountered for years in the tech industry.
J: Besides Merify, what is something from your career that you’re proud of?
G: I’ve worked as a software engineer for many years, and have never stopped learning. At my last job, I had the opportunity to redesign and modernize a very outdated processing system that was becoming a huge bottleneck for the company's hundreds of thousands of daily transactions. Then a very talented team of developers and I implemented that new design quickly and effectively. I was excited to apply all that I learned from that job toward a project with more personal meaning, and that's what Merify has become.
J: Where will Merify be this time next year?
G: Every time we talk about Merify, the team gets excited and comes up with new applications for our core value proposition. By this time next year, we will be cementing ourselves as a new, shared language between employers and candidates, while also exploring new applications in continuing education, internal company skill evaluations and employee review processes, industry-specific candidate diversity, and merit-based decision making outside of the recruiting world.