It’s no secret: startup life is stressful. Founders often complain about the difficulty of balancing the demands of being in charge of a growing enterprise with family commitments. Could making it a family affair — going into the startup trenches with your significant other — be the solution, or would it just add to the stress? Can someone be your soulmate in life and in business? EmployToy founders Jerry Grammont and Erica Grammont say yes — that this partnership is a match made in startup heaven.
“He’s so passionate and he just makes you want to dive into the products,” says Erica of Jerry’s impressive pitching abilities. Recognizing each other’s strengths has helped the couple create a sense of teamwork and smarter collaboration at the heart of their recruiting software company.
EmployToy makes recruiting more efficient by cutting out faceless resumes. The HR software’s new recruiting platform uses machine learning to match prospective employees with the right employer by diving deep into the employee’s interests, past working experiences, and social interactions. In the end, the company also aims to nail a perfect match — this time, between the employee’s passions and his or her new company’s culture.
“In 2015, there was an article written about how Facebook knows about who we are better than our own spouses,” says Jerry. “Can you imagine that?”
How does the EmployToy algorithm work?
We designed an algorithm that understands where your strengths are and how often your skills repeat. What we do is we look into your skills, your experience, your emotional intelligence and through that — we look into how long you’ve been using particular skill sets. Then we look at your past experiences as well, whether you’ve mostly been in a particular industry versus another or you’ve worked with mostly startups versus corporate companies. Everybody has different types of working abilities and some of us work extremely well in team settings. We combine all of those things to create a really nice algorithm that helps us match people to jobs.
Whenever you want to create a winning strategy is by creating a user experience that drives people to the end goal without creating new processes and things that the user is not familiar with. What we do is we keep it extremely simple, which is exactly what the employers like. They sign up for the platform and they’ll post their job with certain skills that they require. From there that posting just gets either distributed by the employer or goes straight to their career portal.
What sets EmployToy apart from other recruiting firms?
What sets us apart is quite a few things, but I want to say the most important thing is most platforms and tools out there today are still using the keyword search. If they’re not using the old keyword search, they’re using long forms that have hundreds of questions just to figure out what type of personality you are. What sets us apart from everybody else is we do all of this in the beginning for the employer so before the employer actually even sees who you are we take all the data from your social profiles — your Facebook, your Instagram, your Meetups, your Twitter — and we start analyzing that data to come up with good EQ about who you are. From there, match you based on your interests as well.
Aside from personality and culture fit, EmployToy helps with social and racial bias. Why is it essential for a company to think about these things when they hire somebody?
Here’s the thing, when we’re doing our hiring and we’re looking at people’s resumes we still have an unconscious biased mind, always. Then it creates a larger issue of diversity within the company. We found out that by using our platform, we actually remove a lot of these biases within the processes. We all know now, thanks to many reviews and scientific research, that just because you graduate from Harvard it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be successful. What makes you successful is how well you work with your peers and your emotional intelligence. That’s what makes great managers help the teams grow as well. Companies will find this very useful for them.
As co-founders, how do you balance life and work?
It definitely does have its challenges because of course this is your spouse and it’s business at the same time. Throughout the time that we’ve been working together, we have learned that we have to keep both private life and work life separated because even when you’re home it can be 10pm at night and you’re still talking about work.
We always have to make sure after 9pm, there’s no more work time at least for an hour and we have to take the time to spend time as husband and wife. Also, we established since the beginning that one person takes on certain tasks and the other one takes on another task and we come together as one. We always run by each other any decision making. It’s a little hard at the beginning, but once you get into that ritual it comes very easy.
How did you build that sense of teamwork?
The teamwork was already built in and ever since then we started working on projects together in school and we kept getting A’s and A’s and A’s. Sometimes Erica would wing class or a presentation and we would still wind up with an A because we just did so great. I just remember we had this idea about starting a business and we had no clue what we wanted to do. We just knew we wanted to start a business together. We were always great as a team and it just evolved from there. We went from college friends working on the project together to dating, a relationship, marriage and kids, and now founding a company and building it up.
You have several things in the works. Tell us about this new partnership with an ATDC company.
Cognitive is an accelerate company at ATDC and is a graduate of their Customer Discovery program. It is within the ATDC’s ecosystem, that Cognitive and EmployToy now come together to offer a much more robust, and comprehensive, end-to-end talent management platform. Through the partnership, Cognitive will provide AI to enhance and provide intelligent talent acquisition search, filtering, and efficient matching; along with a state-of-the-art Virtual AI powered assistant (AVA) to facilitate talent management throughout EmployToys SaaS solution.