An Interview with David Wieland, CEO, RIVS
By Cyndy Trivella, Account & Event Director – TalentCulture
I sat down recently with David Wieland, CEO of RIVS, a web-based software for digital voice and video interviews.
David was bitten by the entrepreneur bug, when interning with Dan Hesse (current CEO of Sprint) at a start-up organization in Seattle. Working in a creative, engaging and fast-paced environment helped spark David’s interest in considering an entrepreneurial opportunity for himself.
David is passionate about his interest with today’s talent acquisition tactics and takes great pride in helping his clients to better understand where opportunities can be created to improve and streamline processes which were once costly and complex.
In my interview with David, we discussed talent acquisition, the candidate experience and how technology plays a role in this.
Cyndy: David, why is the topic of talent acquisition so popular today with loads of information on best practices, yet there are still so many companies struggling to get it right?
David: I think the biggest challenge with talent acquisition is defining what success actually means. Talent Acquisition is arguably the most important function of any organization, yet probably the most difficult to measure in terms of success. In my experience, there are few commonly adopted metrics that most companies can benchmark against. I also think technology helps tremendously, but there is a LOT of HR Tech available today and separating the noise from the signal can be a challenge.
Cyndy: Agreed. HR technology is something that is not lacking in the world-of-work and with that the confusion around which is the correct solution for someone’s organization has only increased with the multitude of options.
Cyndy: What are some disconnects between companies and job seekers that technology can resolve to make a better experience for both parties?
David: Accomplishing a positive candidate experience is neither difficult in concept nor execution: be responsive, courteous, and respectful. The biggest disconnect I see is that many companies don’t value their non-hired candidates. Speaking to employers, I say that every candidate who has taken the time to show interest in your company is a potential advocate for you; don’t miss out on an opportunity to create a legion of fans. It sounds cliché, but think about how you’d want to be treated, and then treat your candidates even better. Look to technology to provide tools for easy communication and better ways for candidates to tell their story beyond the resume and cover letter.
Cyndy: Spot on! Those silver and bronze medalist candidates can become ambassadors, but so many companies miss the mark on this point, in addition to the potential of maintaining engagement with these individuals to build out a talent pipeline.
Cyndy: Tell us about the state of video interviewing and how you envision it for the future.
David: While video interviewing adoption has sky-rocketed due to much improved reliability of technology and the emergence of the front facing phone camera, we’re really just scratching the surface. As an industry, we have work to do educating people about the sometimes astonishing benefits of adopting video interviews. Most professionals we speak with still think of video interviewing as one-on-one Skype interviews, when really the universe of recruiting-specific video interviewing tools extends well past that, ranging in complexity from one-way interviews to multi-way live interviews with unlimited observers across all web and mobile platforms. Unlike Skype, most professional video interviews can be easily recorded by the provider for easy sharing and later review by the team. (We’re rolling out a really interesting bookmarking feature this fall which will make reviewing even more streamlined, FYI). But the video interviewing industry gets significantly better every day.
Because we are able to witness first-hand the dramatic measurable effects video interviewing can produce for organizations, there’s no question that video interviewing will be a staple in every modern recruiting process within a few years.
As we look to predict the future, I draw inspiration from some of our very creative clients who took one look at our platform and decided that while it was interesting for recruiting, they had other plans for it. One of our esteemed clients assesses their salespeople before and after training. Another uses the RIVS platform to create more interactive folios for their students, which can be shared with employers. Another uses our platform to audit the working environment of their remote workers.
Cyndy: Very interesting how your clients have found various applications for your platform. I think that speaks well to the ingenuity and pliability of how a video solution can be tailored to fit specific needs.
Cyndy: As an entrepreneur, you’ve had to build a company from the ground up. How has this influenced you when hiring for and growing talent within your organization?
David: I’ve launched both bootstrapped and investor-funded startups and while the profile of candidates attracted to each type is different, the critical need for amazing people is persistent in both. In my opinion, smaller companies are impacted by unsuccessful hires more than larger companies who often have the internal resources to at least cover responsibilities, etc. For startups, every day is a life and death battle; one wrong move can sink the ship.
There are a few startup hiring schools of thought revolving around some variation of Hire fast, Fire fast or hire slow, fire fast. I don’t subscribe to either exclusively. I’d say we hire deliberately. We primarily hire for fit over experience because at the end of the day, a) life’s too short not to be around people you love and, b) the long-term culture of our company is forged in its early days by its early people…RIVS is comprised of a wonderful group of people doing amazing things, so we want to hire those who both support our existing culture and also add to it in a meaningful way.
Cyndy: You’re so right about how small or start-up companies don’t have the bandwidth to sustain a culture of not having everyone on the same page, whereas large companies have more of a built-in buffer to sustain the disengaged employee.
Cyndy: This has been great conversation, David. Thank you for your perspective on the intersection of technology, candidates, employers, culture and the state of video interviewing. I look forward to our next conversation.
(About David Wieland: David is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. He has exited two companies (Innflux and Powersurge) and currently serves as CEO of RIVS and owner of iEstates.
As an active angel investor, David co-founded the Notre Dame-affiliated, Irish Angels, and has personal investments in 40+ startups including Change.org, NoRedInk, Archive.ly, Ginkgotree, and Chime. He also serves as Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the University of Notre Dame, consulting ND entrepreneurs.
Through the Amelia Claire Foundation, in memory of their daughter, David and his wife, along with their two sons, assist families who have lost children. David enjoys fishing, skiing, traveling, and philanthropy. David received his BA from Notre Dame and MBA from Kellogg.)
(About Cynthia Trivella: Cyndy began her career in advertising and Human Resource Marketing Communications on Madison Avenue in New York City over 15 years ago. Prior to that, she worked in corporate human resources as a recruiter and as a training and development coordinator. In addition, Cyndy has multiple years of media planning, employment branding and human resource communications strategy experience at a management level from both the media and agency sides.
Cyndy maintains a strong presence in the digital space and has been awarded the distinction of being named to the lists: “Top 25 Online Influencers in Recruiting” and “HR Marketer Top 25 Digital Media Influencers.” In addition, she volunteers as co-host and moderator of the Twitter chat #OMCchat for assisting job hunters, and serves as #TChat events director for TalentCulture World of Work. Cyndy holds a BA in psychology and mass communications from Westfield State College in Massachusetts and currently resides in the Greater Cincinnati Area.)