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Q+A: Don Charlton of The Resumator Makes Hiring Simple

TheResumator-HomePageThe Resumator helps you save time and money on hiring by instantly replacing the inefficiency of your HR inbox with an online recruiting platform for promoting jobs and reviewing resumes. It returns the time you waste managing a cluttered inbox full of resumes by providing Web-based tools that make hiring paper-free and collaborative. And by driving free traffic to your jobs, The Resumator virtually eliminates the need to purchase expensive listings on job sites. Don Charlton, CEO of The Resumator, founded the Pittsburgh based site just this year (2009).  He took some time out of his schedule to tell us more about his background, how he started The Resumator, and how he attracted an impressive client list of some of the hottest startups out.

You design, develop, and run the business side; give us an overview of your background?  How did you develop your skill set?

Well, I was a fine artist as a kid/teenager, but I also like to write software (in BASIC). I was the jock in high school who secretly sneaked down to the library in the morning to make games on the Apple IIc computers there. In 1995, I went off to Rochester Institute of Technology to do “commercial art”, which I was told meant, “graphic design”. While studying how to be a traditional print graphic designer, I was learning how to build Web sites for this new thing called “The World Wide Web”.

After graduation in 1999, I landed a job at a local design (Thoughtform Design) firm back home in Pittsburgh, and because I was the young techie, I was molded to learn about this new thing now just called “The Web”. I could design nice-looking websites, and write
HTML, but I had not yet learned server-side development, and that bugged me. I had ideas but could not execute.

At my next job I was responsible for managing and designing interfaces for large scale web projects at Wall-to-Wall Studios, interfacing with clients constantly about their “online strategy”. I learned a lot about business, and I read a lot about marketing, branding, positioning—all the things you need to understand in order to create engaging solutions for clients. I was winning regional, national and international acclaim for my design work, and it was also during this time I started learning PHP and how to develop database-driven Web applications on my own and through a few small projects for W|W.

In 2008, I realized after 10 years I had developed the ability to design great websites, build dynamic web applications, had management experience, and understood business. This was a great skill mix for an internet entrepreneur because I knew I could get a prototype out for anything I wanted without relying on anyone else. So I started looking at different business problems to solve through Web applications, and thus The Resumator was my first brainchild.
When did you 1st get the bug to strike out on your own?

Definitely in 2008. Like many entrepreneurs, I don’t find stability in working for someone else. I wanted to go for it one time and see if I could make something that mattered. I also wanted to show that you don’t need to be white, geeky and a Stanford or Babson graduate in order to make great online products. I’m a kid from the housing projects who used to eat crackers and butter for dinner, and we didn’t have a home phone until I was 17. Surviving that life makes you kind of fearless.

I had a friend—Jim Jen—at Innovation Works (our regional economic development organization) who encouraged me to apply to the AlphaLab program, which IW’s program for accelerating Web-based startups. When I was accepted, I gained great advisors, capital, and a good peer group. I was a lone wolf, so in order to convince them I could do The Resumator on my own, I announced I was launching the product the first day of AlphaLab (usually you launch at the end).

So I launched. One month later I had paying customers. That was a motivator for me right there.
No you are running The Resumator, tell more about the application and how it is best used?

For small businesses and startups, hiring is extra work, and no one’s expertise. Someone is usually “deputized” to manage the hiring
process, and this person (the CEO, office manager, or “unlucky stiff”) usually has no formal experience in recruiting. As a result, the
hiring practices used by these “deputized HR managers” are usually ad-hoc and inefficient.  The vast majority of these “deputized” HR managers are simply using a job description and an HR email address to attempt to recruit top talent. Between hiring costly  recruiters, paying for job postings, and printing, sorting, and distributing resumes, recruitment in small organizations is not as efficient, nor as effective as it could be.

The Resumator helps these deputized HR managers save time and money on hiring by instantly replacing the inefficiency of their HR inbox with an entire online recruiting platform for promoting jobs and reviewing resumes. It returns the time they waste managing a cluttered inbox full of resumes by providing Web-based tools that make hiring paper-free and collaborative. And by driving free traffic to job listings, The Resumator virtually eliminates the need to purchase expensive listings on job sites.

The Resumator automatically posts jobs to a business’ website and free job boards, as well as helps HR managers find inexpensive boards that source great applicants. Once submitted, The Resumator converts all incoming resumes into a searchable database and makes each one viewable right in the browser. The deputy HR manager and her team can then simply sign in to collaborate and discuss, rank and track pre-sorted applicants.

Simply put, if you manage resumes through email, and pay Monster or Career Builder a lot of money to source candidates, you should switch to The Resumator.
What triggered the idea to start The Resumator?

At my last job I was a “deputized” HR manager. I had no idea how to source candidates, and I was getting zipped up files full or resumes in my inbox. I had no process, and often I would lose track of applicants (or even their resume). When I went out on my own, I asked a simple question: “Why is email the most ubiquitous way businesses collect resumes?” The answer should have been, “Because it’s the best way.” But that’s not true. There were no solutions out there that did an effective job of targeting the “deputized” HR manager in business with less than 100 people.
You have some great customers!  What is the best marketing decision you made?  The biggest marketing mistake?

The best marketing decision I made was to offer our service to startups for free or at a reduced cost. Startups are full of deputized
HR managers, and by partnering with startup programs like TechStars, Founders Institute and AlphaLab, I was able to get some well-known startups to use the service and give it credibility. We’re just riding that wave now, with a customer-base including Inc 500 companies and some of the hottest Silicon Valley startups.

The worst mistake I made was paying for display advertising at premium prices. Some ad networks just charge way too much for ad placement, and I wish I could get back those few thousand dollars.

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