Ahryun Moon is CEO and Co-founder at GoodTime, a recruiting enablement platform that automates interview scheduling for companies like Airbnb, Stripe, Zoom, Box, Yelp, Spotify, and more. In 2021, the company extended its Series A funding with an additional $9.5 million, making their total raised $16.7 million. They are in the process of expanding the scope of their offerings, and now offers two core products: Hire, and Meet. The latter is designed to be a platform that brings a smarter approach to all types of meetings. Best part? Meet is free.
Leaders always have interesting stories, paths to how they got where they are today. What’s your story?
Well, I come from humble beginnings. I don’t come from money, I’m an immigrant from Korea, I didn’t go to an Ivy League school, I belong to a small minority group of female SaaS founders, and when I started my entrepreneurial career in Silicon Valley, I didn’t have a huge network to tap into. Quintuple whammy!! It was ground zero from which I built GoodTime. I had to learn everything the hard way including earning trust from investors, customers, and employees. I found it exhilarating to face those challenges and to prove myself every time. Who wants to have it easy? What is life without challenges?
And, what’s the story behind GoodTime? How did this whole thing kick off?
I’ve had a couple of moments in my career where I’ve noticed how much automating manual processes made a world of difference for people. When working as a corporate financial analyst in Austin, TX, I taught myself to code and built software that turned months of manual work into something a computer could handle in hours. Later in my career, I met a recruiter who complained about the amount of time it took to manually schedule interviews, reschedule them and track down interviewers and candidates that were no-show. A “Eureka” moment followed. That’s when GoodTime was born.
What needs are you answering in the market?
We just released a study that demonstrates just how insanely competitive the current job market is. Prospective employees are making decisions quicker, getting more offers, and making snap judgments on companies based on how they interview. Companies need their A game to get candidates to say yes.
We’re tackling three important issues in recruiting: automating interviews, helping to build better relationships with candidates, and developing deeper insights into a company’s interview process. We believe they’re all intertwined. We call it the Candidate Relationship Intelligence.
Let’s talk product: what tools and solutions do you offer your clients? Anything new that you’re excited about?
The Candidate Relationship Intelligence is a three pillar solution that provides automation, candidate relationship as well as insights. One new feature that we recently released and are extremely excited about is Candidate Pulse. It’s a game changer for organizations. Candidate feedback typically is collected once, some time after a candidate is dispositioned. The feedback on the entire hiring process is not granular enough to understand which interviews or interviewers are performing well or not so you can take action on them. Candidate Pulse measures the candidate sentiment and granular feedback after each interview so feedback is extremely actionable.
Sticking with that, are there any surprises along the way? I’m thinking, “we made something we thought was small/ immaterial, and it was a huge surprise success”.
We knew we were solving a problem, but we are absolutely floored about the response we’ve gotten from recruiting teams from some of the most innovative companies in the world. As an aside, when we were first building Goodtime.io, I spent some time as a shadow recruiter for a couple of companies, some of which are our clients today. To be brief (and blunt), I was overwhelmed and made a lot of errors. It’s such a hard job, and I think so few people outside of the industry realize or appreciate it. We built many error-prevent features, which on the surface didn’t seem that important. However, based on my personal experience as a recruiting coordinator, recruiter and TA Ops, I knew innately it would be absolutely crucial and help create a better candidate experience.
One other thing we’ve heard from customers is how thankful their existing employees are for GoodTime Hire that helps balance and evenly distribute interviewing load. I don’t think companies track this, and, more often than not, they lean on the same group of employees to interview many candidates - they get burned out and struggle to focus on their actual work. We’re so excited we’re solving that problem.
Conversely: what has failed along the way? We all stumble, care to share a story about lessons learned?
We have made many failures. We just try to make it an opportunity to learn. For example, we recently released a completely revamped interviewer training module which is equipped with a very sophisticated training management system and ways to track progress of each trainee. We underestimated the amount of success our customers had using our previous version of the interviewer training module. They have set up the system just right to serve their purpose. The new module, though 10X better, meant some changes in behavior and workflow. We worked with those customers along with our product and customer success teams to help migrate their existing workflow to a new one gradually. It was a learning experience for our team.
Could you talk a bit about objections - when you lose a deal, are there any reasons that seem to stand out? IE, budget, competitors, integrations, etc? How do you surmount those?
I think the biggest challenge is inertia. Companies have been doing recruitment a certain way and they convince themselves it’s either a) the right way or b) good enough. But I can point to our clients, some of the most innovative companies in the world, and say - they understand how powerful it is to automate the interview process and maximize hiring efficiency to compete in this insanely hyper-competitive job market.
How big is the team now, and how are you structured?
We have around 100 people now and are fully remote. We have hired across the United States as well as globally. Our product, engineering and design teams are organized based on the needs of our customers while marketing, sales and customer success teams are functionally organized for efficiency and best practices.
We’re in this crazy new world. Change is assumed, structure is less certain. How are you, as a business leader, helping your team manage through it all?
Learning to master being remote is key. Whether you have an office or not, people will spend some or all of their time working from home. It has many perks but also comes with some formidable challenges including the whole new way of team collaboration and culture-building. This is the right time to experiment with different org structures that work better for this new mode of working. Also clear communication about these experimentations and transparency coupled with vulnerability when things don’t go as planned are very important.
Do you see changes coming to the industry, and how service providers will address it, as we continue this business evolution we’re all in right now?
Yes, absolutely. We strongly believe the pandemic only brought to light a well-established trend. Employees are not staying in jobs they do not like anymore and they’re not joining companies unless they feel a strong fit. Companies need to demonstrate immediately in the recruitment process their culture, the relationships they develop, and how they use technology to enhance their employees' jobs, not replace them. Our goal is to be the foundation of a technology stack that empowers both companies and candidates, and we encourage others to keep building meaningful solutions that make this process easier.
Okay: you’re 14. Suddenly, the “grown up” you is in the mirror, and wants to give you some advice. What is it? Do you still build this company, this career?
100%. While I’ve had a winding path to GoodTime, I absolutely would do it all again. The messages I get from our customers about how they can finally do the jobs they love doing - the rewarding work of meeting with and getting to know candidates. I’m so happy we’re helping companies and candidates find the right situation for each other.
Anything we missed that you want to add?
Just stay tuned. We just released the 2022 Hiring Report from the third-party-conducted survey of 560 talent leaders. As an example of an interesting data point, companies of all sizes on average only hit 50% of their hiring goals in 2021. The report has a plethora of data points talent leaders of current days would find useful!