From Mann Library to Demo Days An interview with Cornell’s Danielle Weinblatt on her company, Take the Interview, which is transforming the recruitment process.
Put on a dress shirt, walk into a study room, power up your computer, open up your browser, and start talking to a prospective employer. Doesn’t that sound better than sending countless scheduling emails to recruiters, spending money to travel to an office, waiting at reception (as those butterflies build), and sitting across the table from a managing director? I think so.
Danielle Weinblatt ’05 thinks so too. Her company, Take the Interview, is revolutionizing the recruitment process for HR employees and applicants alike.
Planting the Seed: Vault Guides and Recruiting
Danielle founded Take the Interview in 2011, but not so long ago, she herself was sitting in lectures in Warren Hall. She had a resource that guided her during those years in AEM that many of us share today: Vault guides. In preparing for banking interviews, Danielle read the guides “religiously.”
Once she entered the workforce, Danielle got to sit on the other side of the table as Junior Captain of the Cornell recruiting team for Citigroup. It was at Citi that Danielle fostered her love for “helping people figure out what they wanted to do in the future.” This passion would later spur her to think of ways to use newer technologies to improve the recruiting process.
Taking the Off-Ramp from an MBA, and the On-Ramp to Entrepreneurship
After years in industry, Danielle went back to school for an MBA at Harvard. In the second semester of her first year, Danielle travelled to Silicon Valley for an entrepreneurship immersion program. Little did she realize that she would soon be taking a detour from her business school plans.
On this immersion program, Danielle was given the opportunity to present her business idea. This idea, the foundation of Take the Interview, was instantly well received with “electric” energy. “When you can’t stop thinking about your idea and no other opportunity seems more exciting than pursuing your venture,” Danielle explained, “then you owe it to yourself to try.” Soon after, Danielle bit the bullet, left Harvard, and started to work on Take the Interview full time.
Disrupting an Industry
The traditional process of resume reviews, phone screens, and in-person interviews, Danielle notes, is “very inefficient and too linear for organizations today.” Take the Interview disrupts this field by replacing phone screens with video-based interviews, thus eliminating travel and simplifying the scheduling process, while retaining the “face-to-face” feel.
Amongst other value propositions specifically for the recruiting process, Danielle argues that Take the Interview brings the solution to a $400 billion dollar problem: the expense and energy spent when the wrong people are recruited. Yes, there is clearly a huge market here. But for Danielle, this is just an added perk.
Danielle’s company emerged from her insight about the success of Vault guide (she even recently got to meet with the CEO,), her passion for guiding careers, and her innate leadership. In addition to watching the field transform before her very eyes, as clients sign up and testimonies are sent in with flying colors.
People: Your Competitive Advantage
Danielle has mentioned an additional, more humbling, added bonus. “It was a month ago at our company happy hour. Everyone at Take the Interview is really talented, intelligent and nice. I work with the best people on earth and watching them all get along and have a great time was inspiring. It was the first time that I took a step back and realized how mind-blowing it was that I built such a good culture and recruited the right people.”
Just for Fun
What is your favorite class you took at Cornell?
Finance with Rich Curtis in my major, but outside of my major, Opera. Two of the most useful classes ever…seriously.
What is your favorite Collegetown eatery?
It used to be called Smoothie Hut. I ate there so much that the girls that worked at the counter used to have my order ready by the time I approached the counter. I ate there everyday Junior and Senior year.
Aside from TTI, what is your favorite startup/app of the moment?
This is not a fair question because I have a lot of friends who run startups and I hate to choose favorites. I guess I would say Jibe since the CEO, Joe Essenfeld is also a Cornell alum. He’s really smart and humble. Those are rare traits in startup CEOs. His company turns company’s career sites into easy to navigate mobile versions. It’s in my space, makes perfect sense and has a rock solid management team and quality backers.