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Firing Squad: Interview Mocha CEO, Amit Mishra

Little known fact: "Interview Mocha" was born in a coffee shop. Just one of the pearls of wisdom you're going to get from listening to Interview Mocha on this month's Firing Squad. Assessment tests are big business, and this company is throwing out words like "unicorn."

Slow ya' roll, players, Chad & Cheese will be the judge on that.

Does this startup have what it takes to survive The Squad? Listen to find out on this PandoLogic exclusive.


Chad (0s):

Damn Programmatic is hot.

Joel (2s):

Yeah, it is hot, dude. Pass me a cold PBR. Would you?

Chad (7s):

Okay. Number one, I wasn't talking about the temperature and number two PBR is a shitty beer time to upgrade to an IPA.

Joel (16s):

Okay. My bad guessing you were talking about Programmatic Job Advertising being hot. Yeah. That shit is everywhere and all the kids are doing it.

Chad (25s):

I know man, but there's only one company that's been doing it since 2007. Damn 2007. Hey man, what wife were you on? In 2007? I was on number one. We don't talk about her focus, dude. I'm talking about Pando IQ from our friends at Pandologic, pando IQs, programmatic recruitment advertising platform helps employers source talent faster and more efficiently than ever thanks to predictive algorithms, machine learning and AI Buzzword, overdose alert.

Chad (58s):

Yeah. Pando was on the cutting edge of programmatic while being deeply rooted in the recruitment industry. Pando IQ provides an end to end Programmatic Job Advertising Platform that delivers a significant increase in job ad performance without any way, social spending to maximize the ROI on your recruitment spend And their AI enabled algorithms use over 48 job attributes and more than 200 billion historical job performance data points to predict the optimal job advertising campaign!

Chad (1m 33s):

The machine does all that shit.

Joel (1m 34s):

That shit sounds expensive.

Chad (1m 36s):

Think again. Cheesman. Pando IQ provides an end to end job advertising solution that delivers a significant increase in job ad performance without any wasteful spending.

Joel (1m 47s):

Sold. How do I get started?

Chad (1m 50s):

Go to to request a demo and tell him Chad and cheese set yet.

Joel (1m 56s):

Ooooo, they have a chat bot too, that we can talk to

Chad (1m 60s):

Gooood kill me now.

Intro (2m 1s):

Like Shark Tank? Then you'll love Firing Squad! CHAD SOWASH & JOEL CHEESMAN are here to put the recruiting industry's bravest, ballsiest, baddest startups through the gauntlet to see if they got what it takes to make it out alive? Dig a fox hole and duck for cover kids the Chad and Cheese Podcast is taken into a whole other level.

Joel (2m 24s):

Oh yeah. I've been in quarantine for two months and I've got a itchy trigger finger to say the least Chad, how are you doing today?

Chad (2m 33s):

My whole body is tingling right now, man.

Joel (2m 38s):

And how appropriate that the company we're we're putting against the squad today is, is Interview Mocha. Cause I've had about eight mochas this morning and I'm ready to rock a pleasure to introduce Amit Mishra, founder and CEO of, as I said, Interview Mocha Welcome to Firing Squad.

Chad (2m 59s):

You're a brave man.

Amit (3m 1s):

Yeah. Thanks Joel. Thanks Chad.

Joel (3m 5s):

Calling in from India where they take their stay at home orders very seriously.

Chad (3m 9s):

That's right, man. If you go outside, you're going to get caned.

Joel (3m 12s):

Literally at squats they're doing in the streets.

Chad (3m 15s):

I'm glad they're not doing that here in Indiana because I couldn't get my runs in and my dogs wouldn't get walked.

Joel (3m 21s):

Americans would revolt if they were forced to do squats. No doubt about that. Yeah.

Chad (3m 25s):

For anything that has to do with putting down their big gulp God bless America. God bless America. So Amit tell us a little bit like a tweet about yourself. Chad will read the rules and we'll get into the game.

Amit (3m 40s):

I am competing engineer in India and then with IBM software lab for a while. And then, Danny is back opted to be an entrepreneur, started my journey with an IT services company first because in days outsourcing venture like country landed for five years along with Sujit Karpe who is the internal council and exited it almost five years back and started Interview Mocha a victim problem that we faced while we were running that first IT services venture

Joel (4m 16s):

You have a dog sleeping in the room with you. It's so bizarre.

Chad (4m 18s):

I can hear snoring in the background.

Joel (4m 23s):

Falling asleep on the squad and that's just inappropriate.

Amit (4m 28s):

I just make sure talk to you. Okay?

Chad (4m 34s):

Okay. No, leave it there. It's great for background. I love it. Okay. Admit, let me go over the format of firing squad for you and all of those listeners out there who have never listened to firing squad. You will have two minutes to pitch Interview Mocha. At the end of two minutes, you will hear the bell then Joel and I will hit you with rapid fire Q and A. If your answers start rambling, Joel's going to hit you with the crickets, the bell or some type of sound effect.

Chad (5m 6s):

That's a signal to you to tighten up your game. At the end of Q and a, you're going to receive a grade. What you're hoping for is a big applause. Time to haul in that cash baby.

Joel (5m 20s):

That's right. Open up a new bank account for that money, the golf clap it's it's okay, but you can definitely do better. That's what she said on your first date or the firing squad. You don't want to pack it in! Close up shop. Dust off the drawing board because this one just isn't going anywhere so that my friend is firing squad. Are you ready to go Amit?

Amit (5m 50s):

yes. I'm ready.

Joel (5m 52s):

Two minutes starting. So first Ivan talk about

Amit (5m 58s):

The problem we are solving within Interview Mocha. Now the scenario is because of information and mobile revolution, the skill metrics of interval as changes. Example take the two big retail companies of US. One is a Walmart. One is Amazon. If you see the old age Walmart against the new age, Amazon serving the same purpose. But if you see the schematics of these two organizations, fundamentally different.

Amit (6m 29s):

banking is no more a banking. It runs like a technology company running a banking business. So you can imagine cashier job is vanishing and it is getting assaulted by ATMs and online banking. If you see that tolls and parkways, there is no human there to tender change or get the gate open. It's been replaced by RFID, CC, CCTV and other technologies. So what I'm trying to say here is the world is going digital.

Amit (7m 1s):

30% of the skills of these organizations have changed already is. And in next 10 years, 65% of the skills will be new. So next gen will work on the skills that don't exist today. As for all the researchers, whether it's Gardner, whether it's Forbes, cap, Gemini, anybody they're saying that the jobs that will be there after 10 years are not existing today. And then, and like as world is changing drastically towards digital, many companies are trying to solve to make sure that skill is provided in time.

Amit (7m 39s):

Companies like Pluralsight Lynda is. And what do you mean getting it crowdsource for training, but there is no player for skill assessment in this state.

Joel (7m 51s):

And we're at the end of our 10 minutes, I met just for your sake, where can they find out more about you when they're investigating? Okay. This is where you say interview Anyway, let's talk about the name real quick. How did you come up with Interview Mocha? Is there any connection to what you guys actually do or is it just a cute name?

Amit (8m 11s):

Sujit and me were sitting in a Sujit, the cofounder and me were sitting in a cafe having a mocha coffee and we were trying to solve the interview problem that time. So interview and we were having mocha coffee, enjoy mocha.

Joel (8m 26s):

Excellent. Now tell me real quickly about your employee base. Have you guys taken money? What does that currently look like? And how long have you guys been in business?

Amit (8m 35s):

So we are in business from last five years. We are a 50 people team in India, mostly bootstrap with resident, resident, Angela around assembly, which are, which we are yet to announce with global clientele, especially from us.

Joel (8m 53s):

So you're making an announcement.

Amit (8m 54s):

We will be an announcement in the next couple of weeks. Okay. Yeah, he's teasing.

Chad (9m 0s):

So you're talking about a US client base today. You've been in business for five years today. What percentage of your client base is from the United States versus a UK India, et cetera.

Amit (9m 14s):

So 60% is from United States, 30% from Euro. And so this tissue and 10% from India. Okay.

Chad (9m 23s):

So what's the biggest reason to hiring companies should change to interview mocha. Are you seeing that most companies don't have this tech in place, so it's really just you going into educate them or are you trying to displace another piece of technology?

Amit (9m 39s):

So basically digital transformation is happening across the globe in all the enterprises and they don't have any reliable player to provide the skill assessment for that and Interview Mocha, being the first company, which is Uber of skill assessment. So what I mean by Uber skill assessment, we have the only company in crowdsourcing, this questions and how created 2000 plus skills, which helps every organization transform digitally with talent acquisition or talent management.

Chad (10m 8s):


Amit (10m 9s):

So in your career, your experience, have you ever been in this industry because it looks like from your LinkedIn, that this is your first foray into recruiting technology? Recruiting technology is the first, but as an owner of the business, IT services, I have seen the problems of hiring managers. Okay. And that's what our core customer is.

Chad (10m 33s):

Okay. So you've, you've not been in this industry, but you've seen, I mean, I've been a hiring manager before and there are other hiring managers that are out there obviously, but that doesn't mean that they've actually been in the recruiting industry. They're just kind of like a cog in recruiting. So have you actually been in a company who's focused on recruitment technology in the past?

Amit (10m 54s):

No, not at all.

Joel (10m 55s):

Amit, I'm curious about your marketing strategy. It looks like you guys have quite a few integrations. Congratulations on that. Cause we always support that initiative, but I have have integrations been the primary way that you've marketed the company? What other marketing strategies are you implementing in the company?

Amit (11m 13s):

So when we started inbound marketing, especially SEO was our primary attraction channel. And we are leading in three links in almost 2000 plus relevant viewers already. Apart from that, we are a Microsoft partner understanding partner. And through these bigger companies, we go to enterprises to partner gender marketing. And apart from that, we have integration with all the leading applicant tracking systems and a LMS learning management system through which we market our solution.

Joel (11m 45s):

And curious about your anti-biased product. This is one of Chad's favorite topics. Talk about the product and how it sort puts forward, the anti bias in recruiting.

Amit (11m 56s):

Okay, perfect. So like first of all, our product has different use cases. I will talk about use cases and then we come to the buyers. Okay. We have recruitment as a use case that span across university recruiting, entry-level recruitment, lateral recruitment, or coding recruitment and in talent management or learning and development. We are digital transformation, up-skilling and re-skilling as the primary channel because our questions are UC compliance, which is equal employment opportunity, complaint questions.

Amit (12m 26s):

It is weighted and calibrated well and full of candidates. The pool of employees are just on the similar set of complexities of question. So it removes all the biases that happens in the interview process and makes a diverse team, a reality, which is possible. Apart from that, we have a very, I would say, a solid tech for online proctoring, video property, image proctoring, which makes sure that there was no unfair means used or micro-services used while giving that exam in a remote manner.

Chad (13m 3s):

So it is that testing or that screening of validated testing because you're talking about the EOC. So this is governmental and obviously they have a regulations that they will enforce on an organization. And as soon as you bring in those letters, that acronym of EEOC, or OFCCP, the hair starts to stand up on talent acquisition professionals, the back of their neck. So do you have a validated testing and or screening?

Amit (13m 32s):

So for other guidelines, there is a disc publisher consortium in U S called as ATP association of this publisher in US who have given us as the top five, you know, where does interesting in US down certain guidelines, which unit to how in your question that should not like conflict and judge a person based on his gender, his ethnicity and other parameters. We do follow all of them. And we have some tools which checks is there a QR audit term that doesn't comply with USI is in our system.

Amit (14m 10s):

And we check and follow all the guidelines given by UC and ATB association of test publisher. After that we calibrate because we provide mostly technical tests with customers for a particular population. US population wanting to see like it is calibrated to label sections.

Chad (14m 26s):

okay, gotcha. So back to back to the, the question and or topic of integration integration is a very loose term. It, it always has been, it can mean a sloppy handoff of data, a link in an applicant tracking system that launches a new browser or on the more helpful side, the platform is integrated the applicant tracking System, user interface with the ATS look and feel.

Chad (14m 57s):

Which ATS platforms are you integrated with? With that last example, where do you tightly integrate with the applicant tracking system or core system UI?

Joel (15m 8s):

Sounds like you're asking if he's loose and sloppy.

Chad (15m 11s):

It could be

Amit (15m 12s):

We are deeply integrated with a greenhouse eight years. iSeem eight years, a lever, eight years, and we are integrated with Taleo for the standard edition apart from smartly group of workable under the, and we have a deep integration. So it's a one big integration of which makes our UI alible into their workflow, into their UI properly. So it's not a shallow integration. It's a deep integration, which has been done in eight years. This is one secret.

Amit (15m 42s):

We have use cases like have you heard of a company called a chegg Chegg? Yup. Yup. So we are integrated with Chegg even. So check has an internship model and we are a part of chegg callers chegg assessments. So to the one, it looks like it's check assessment, which is connecting the students to the jobs and in backend it's internal mortgage assessment, which actually quantify the skill of those candidates. So when I say integration, which is published on our website, it's a different division and we are really put effort.

Amit (16m 12s):

We have a team event, which makes if any new APS come up, we upgraded.

Chad (16m 20s):

What percentage of deals are actually coming from partnerships as opposed to a direct outreach?

Amit (16m 29s):

So, basically because we have not marketed and marketed it together with eight years, the use case typically happens that customer comes to us and they buy us. And then they integrate because they have been using that. It is so us also . So then they integrate. So we don't get a lot of customers flowing from these ideas, but we get customers who are using them. And then they integrate,

Joel (16m 55s):

I think I heard a rotary phone ring a little while ago, which gave me a flashback to the 1970s. And I want to say, thank you for that.

Chad (17m 2s):

Ask him if he has a party line?

Joel (17m 3s):

It's been a long time since I've heard that sound. And then I, then it was followed with words like loose, deepen, sloppy. So I appreciate that as well. This is a very competitive space, right? Assessment tests, et cetera. How are you guys cutting through the noise? How are you unique? Just there's a lot of noise and assessments. How do you guys cut through that?

Amit (17m 25s):

First of all, like as I said, there is a white space in the market for the new age or digital skills, does it come into the market? So we have to have 1500 plus skills close to 2000 skills now out of its 700 skills that spans across AI, ML, NLP, cybersecurity, data science and all which are available only with us. And that's the reason enterprises like Eric's and cap Gemini and big enterprises are even, digital transformation transforming their workforce or acquisition to us.

Amit (18m 2s):

So we are already ahead in the race in terms of number of read, ready skill assessment for the new IT skills.

Joel (18m 8s):

How do you break down a pricing with the competition? Are you competitive, lower, higher,

Amit (18m 13s):

We are a bit on the higher side. Okay.

j (-):

Got anything Chad?

Chad (18m 16s):

Think of course I do. So when it comes to, if a prospect is between Interview Mocha and then a matching system, because matching tech today is really on the front end of the interview. So like, hiring Saw, Eyeo for jobs, Eightfold, for those types of platforms. This for some companies is more important because they're weeding the candidates out prior to the interview. Do you think that is more important than weeding out of candidates or do you think just getting them in the system and into the process is the most important?

Amit (18m 50s):

So first of all, we skill assessment is not a daily affair for the, I would say SMB. It typically starts in a, as a department, whether it's a like L and D or talent acquisition, only if a company is off 1000 employee lives are 5,000 plus is a right sport, actually. Okay. So there, by that time, they look for a screen assessment. They must have eight years already in place.

Amit (19m 23s):

Okay. But the problem, so it is a for our customers, if it's a customer real enterprise customer, they must have a recruiting workload already for talent assessment to be their priority. But what happens there are different departments within an enterprises. There are different hiring managers and many times the recruiter get them some candidates who are irrelevant. And the recruiter just judges candidate based on the resume. Candidates are very lavish in writing resumes.

Amit (19m 55s):

If they are working on something even for a week, they make sure that it is as a proficient, I'm a proficient in the skills. Okay. And because of that, that interviewers time, which is supposed to be delivering project spent time on the unqualified candidate and because of that, the hiring manager suffers alone. So we are more a solution for hiring manager. The person who is responsible for PNL of his team buys us and they make sure that they get us into a process.

Joel (20m 25s):

Amit, obviously the, the world in the last 30, 60 days has changed dramatically. And the effect on employment on a global basis is huge. How is your company adapting to the world of COVID-19? Are you making any big changes? How has it impacted you? Are you pivoting doing anything what's going on there?

Amit (20m 49s):

Yeah, sure. Like, as I said, we had three use cases. First is hiring new skills that has drastically gone down. So though we are getting a lot of inquiries because everybody's working from home, but no major POC in last 45 days. Okay. No major PO. But if you talk about digital transformation of up-skilling enterprises, customers, enterprise customers started because everybody's working from home to see the effectiveness. So somebody has bought a Udemy course, but one needs to understand that after going through that course - has that person acquired a knowledge which can apply to his job?

Amit (21m 27s):

So are upskilling a digital transformation use case for skill assessment is increasing hiring. It is going down drastically. Now we are focusing more on up-skilling and we have a very interesting use case. I talked about CHEG right. A student platform the same way. So the same way we have tied up with three recruitment platforms. One is a job woman, which is the biggest in Nigeria and Ghana, because the resume is no more serving the purpose.

Amit (21m 57s):

They need screen documents. So this APS customers are also growing. So hiring is going down, but up-skilling and this platform players are playing different lemonade and they are trying us. So for that use case finger, cross up-scaling is growing.

Joel (22m 15s):

So last one from me, what's the end game here. Are you looking to sell the company in the near future public markets? Is it a nice little lifestyle business for you? What's what's the end game?

Amit (22m 28s):

Joel, the vision with which we started with Internal Mocha is skill assessment should be a synonym of interview mocha like photocopies for Xerox skill assessment should be a synonym of, Interview Mocha. We started with coding and IP skills for talent acquisition. Now we have got into talent management. We are getting into BFSI skills, banking, and finance and insurance skills. So we are here to create a company which is the biggest skill assessment company and not selling it sooner.

Amit (22m 60s):

The target is to be a unicorn in next five years. Okay. In terms of valuation, we should be a billion dollar valuation company and not selling in the recent future.

Chad (23m 12s):

Being a unicorn, saying being a unicorn is one thing. Being one is entirely different. I mean, you know, having a trajectory for that is I think you'd be able to see that by now. My last question is where specifically you're a startup, where is your major focus?

Amit (23m 33s):

My major focus is top hundred IT consulting and services companies across the globe like Accenture cap, Gemini, Cognizant peace data consultancies and top hundred. So this is my major focus. So trying to get them as clients, trying to then get them as a client for the Lydia. I've got as a client, trying to get all a hundred as my customers. Gotcha. Okay.

Joel (23m 57s):

Ambitious goals. Ambitious goals. Well, that's the bell Amit, which means the Q and a is over. Alright. Chad, are you ready to grade Interview Mocha?

Chad (24m 8s):

Alright. Emmett, it is a crazy crowded field and your brand isn't that well known here in the biggest market in the world. I understand that 60% of your business comes from here in the US but you're relatively unknown. Now there are plenty of companies who did not start here in the US, they grew here, but they realized quickly much. Like it seems like you are, that your brand needs to be embedded here to be seen as obviously a technology company.

Chad (24m 41s):

Which is one of the reasons why it looks like your, your contact information is out of California. It's crazy crowded, but it's also a crazy big market, which means tons of opportunity. And in the interview and screening platforms. Those who truly integrate and partner with core applicant tracking systems or CRM platforms will win the day. You know, as, as I asked you about how much revenue is actually coming from those core platforms, if you are deeply integrated, then that's an opportunity for you in a couple of different areas to drive revenue with hundreds or thousands of salespeople from those core platforms.

Amit (25m 27s):

And also to really understand what adoption looks like. That's what deep integration looks like without adding overhead. Right? But it doesn't sound like you're you're there yet. And that's okay. Overall, I think the opportunity is huge for you! I think your focus needs to be pinpoint, which it seems, seems like it is, which is one of the reasons why I am giving you a golf clap. Thank you.

Joel (25m 58s):

All right. All right. Well, I'm up, okay. Aside from the snoring dog and the rotary phone of wherever the hell you're doing this interview, I'm, I'm super optimistic about this space. I think the fact that you're thinking in terms of unicorn, and you're thinking in terms of global you're thinking in terms of enterprise, that's all a positive process for me in terms of your company. I think from a timing perspective, you know, in times of low unemployment assessments and you know, skills and creating boundaries for people to apply are, are necessary.

Joel (26m 32s):

Aren't necessarily a good thing. When unemployment is really high and companies need a gatekeeper to weed out or filter folks that don't, you know, fit certain requirements. Those companies tend to do really well. And I think we're going into a period of pretty high unemployment, where companies are going to want to filter out the massive of candidates that they're getting through the door. I think that, you know, you, where are you thinking in terms of pricing your integrations? I think you're spot on with that. I do agree with Chad that it's a super competitive space and I am no expert in assessments and the science around it and the things that go into it.

Joel (27m 12s):

But I do, I do, I do suspect that you're on the right track in terms of the science around it. And I suspect that you're on the right track in terms of growth for the company, loved the integrations. I think that investment will come your way. And at that point, you'll be able to grow. You know, European markets, North American markets and global markets much more. So for me, Amit big applause, buddy. Congratulations, keep chugging. How do you feel?

Amit (27m 43s):

Thanks a lot Joel. Thanks a lot Chad.

Chad (27m 47s):

You're welcome.

Joel (27m 48s):

You're welcome. Well, for our listeners who want to know more about interview mocha, where do they go? So I like to meet in person at Awesome. The CEO gave his email address for sales opportunities.

Chad (28m 2s):

Just as long social distancing. We'll be okay with that. And you can, you can also go to Interview Mocha. That's M O C H A for those non-coffee

Joel (28m 15s):

And with that, Chad,

Outro (28m 16s):

This has been the Firing Squad. Be sure to subscribe to the Chad and Cheese Podcast, so you don't miss an episode. And if you're a startup who wants to face the firing squad, contact the boys at today that's www.C H A D C H E E S


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