Looking for a job at a start-up? Worried about submitting your resume to some anonymous site with no idea if anyone will ever see it? Hoping to find jobs that actually match your interests? Or if you’re an employer, hoping to find candidates who are actually interested in what you do?
Not to worry, Connie Wong and Susan Zheng, disruptors in the recruiting field, have the answer. Their start up, Planted provides an easy to use (we’ve tested it ourselves), stress free, online service to match employers and prospective employees in an efficient, cost effective (no cost to the prospective candidate) manner. We love their innovative spirit, and we think that Planted is a major step forward in the field of online recruiting. Welcome to The Fit List, Connie and Susan.
1. Tell us about yourselves. What did you do before you founded Planted?
Susan: I graduated from NYU. I worked in credit strategy for Lehman Brothers for three months before the Lehman bankruptcy. Then I went to Barclays and then worked at Tough Mudder, where I helped the company grow from 10 to 200 people in two years.
Connie: I went to Wharton. I worked in consulting at Accenture and then transitioned to an online dating startup, where I helped build mobile products for the growing dating community.
2. What was your inspiration for starting Planted? Was it scary committing to a start up?
Neither Connie or Susan was really scared about starting Planted, since both already had experience working at early stage companies, and both already had the “start up bug.” Susan added that the Lehman collapse made her feel like starting a company might not be all that risky, because even in big companies, the unthinkable could always happen.
Connie and Susan met at a wedding of mutual friends. Both were ready to take the plunge and become founders. When they got to talking, they discovered that they both found that one of the biggest start up challenges was hiring junior non-technical level team members who were going to be a good fit and succeed. They both agreed there had to be a better way, and that this was a real gap in the market. When they founded Planted, their goal was to be more of a matchmaker than a traditional job board, and thus, they created a “curated” platform. Job seekers get a curated batch of jobs matched to interests they identify while hiring managers get a curated set of applicants based on what they identify as key skills. Their goals were both to provide job seekers and hiring managers an improved experience and, using technological innovation, to reduce the cost of hiring for companies.
Connie and Susan were very methodical in their launch, testing their assumptions about what both hiring managers and job seekers were looking for and what services companies would pay for. They sought customer feedback and continued to evolve their offering as they gained clients and got feedback from them.
3. What is it like working together? How do you divide and conquer? Are there ever days you want to kill each other?
The best analogy is a marriage. Connie and Susan see each other more than they see friends, family or their significant others. Their advice is to choose your co-founders wisely! Connie focuses on product and operations and Susan on sales and investor relations. They said it is important to be strategic about each other’s strengths and weaknesses and to agree on a decision making model, but to be sure to set time aside to check in with one another especially on important decisions. Another tip they had was to recognize that there will be days when you have to give your co-founder breathing room, and when those days come, have the judgment and restraint to back off!
LOOKING FOR A COOL JOB AFTER GRADUATION? WANT TO START YOUR CAREER IN A START UP? SIGN UP FOR PLANTED! CLICK HERE
4, You are young co-founders. What are your tips for other young entrepreneurs for being taken seriously?
Connie and Susan said that it is important to know how to present yourself. Be sure that you are on top of your game. Impress others with knowledge. Deal in real data points and facts, and be sure to get feedback along the way
5. How can our followers make the most of college as far as being ready for the “real world?” Any must take classes? Any advice on extra-curriculars?
Communications is critical no matter what role you are in. It is critical that you are clear and succinct in your writing, so be sure to take classes that will improve your writing skills.
6. What advice do you have on summer internships?
Summer internships are a must do. They are basically a baseline requirement to be considered for most roles. Employers want to see that you had real work experience. Also, know that not all internships are created equal. Look for internships where you can be impactful. Reach out proactively to get those internships. As far as start ups, think creatively about how you get their attention and demonstrate your passion for what they are doing.
7. What about our full time job seekers? How do you make yourself standout? For those looking for that non-traditional first job, what do you suggest?
Make sure that you have work experience and leadership roles beyond just your schoolwork. Show that you have a track record of excelling at projects, particularly where you had to deal with ambiguity or in a fast paced environment. Your resume is just a piece of the puzzle. You need to nail that interview! And the way to do that is to do your homework. You need to show your passion for the company at which you are interviewing. A great resume and no passion will equal no job. Read up on the company. Do they have an app or an online offering? If yes, sign up. Know what the user experience is. Understand what they are building and be ready to ask insightful questions.
8. When you have an off day or a tough day, what do you do to keep your game face on? What do you do to regroup and get back to a better place?
It’s important always to dedicate time to reflect and get perspective on the whole day. You need to do something that restores your mind and your body. Go to the gym, read, meditate or go to dinner with friends. The key point is to give yourself that release. Do it especially if you feel overwhelmed by work. Taking that step back and giving yourself time will give you the ability to get back on track and keep motivated to keep moving forward.
9. She’s Fit to Lead is all about networking confidence. What’s your best confidence building advice?
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Get into the rhythm of realizing being scared is not the end of the world. Fear is a natural human reaction and when you push through those fears, you may be able to go for the thing that previously seemed unattainable.
10. What’s on the horizon for Planted?
We’re expanding into new cities and growing our talent network.
11. What does She’s Fit to Lead mean to you?
To be Fit to Lead, you need to recognize that everyone has her own unique point of view. Don’t apologize for having a point of view, and don’t give up. Go after what you want. You will figure out the answer – if not the first time, keep trying until you do.
LOOKING FOR A GREAT FIRST JOB IN A DYNAMIC COMPANY? LOOKING FOR AN EXCITING CHANGE? GET PLANTED! CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.
12. What did we miss? What should everyone know about you that we forgot to ask?
Planted is not just another job board. It is a career platform to help you all along the way. We are invested in your success. We offer you coaching, advice and even an online blog to help you succeed.
Meet More of SFTL’s Fit List Women