Win the Talent War: Ilya Usorov, co-founder of Day100
Ilya Usorov, co-founder of Day100, shares his ideas for using references as a best practice to vet your candidates and ensure that you capture only the top potential for all of your job postings. In the interest of making recruiting more data driven and more human, Usorov and his team leverage software and referrals to take a more personalized approach to recruiting.
Time-Stamped Show Notes
[00:00] Introduction and background of Ilya Usorov.
[05:02] Unique services offered by Day100.
[10:17] Measuring a candidate’s ability to adjust to your company culture.
[14:56] A model for a new recruiting process.
[17:41] Changes in the recruitment marketplace.
[18:54] The question of a degree.
[22:05] Usorov’s advice to his college-aged self.
[25:00] Contact info.
Introduction and Background
Usorov’s family were Russian immigrants who moved to America when he was three years old. It was thanks to his hard-working parents that he was able to get a great education at NYU. He feels humbled and honored to have this opportunity to be an entrepreneur.
Both he and his business partner worked at a boutique management consulting firm in New York, and he was tasked with recruiting and building their team. The team grew from two people to a team of twenty-five over a period of two and a half years. The more he worked at his recruiting skills, the more it grew into an obsession about how he could do it better and find the right people. “I went into a deep dive about finding people who were right for our team,” says Usorov. Although that period of growth was chaotic, he loved the challenge of finding the best people. He got hooked, and that became the inspiration for starting his own company, Day100.
Day100’s Unique Services
Day100 is a web-based recruiting software platform. Usorov explains, “The goal of Day100 is to help companies make faster and more competent decisions on the candidates that they’re seeing and hiring, specifically basing those decisions on two critical factors: performance potential, and culture fit.”
Day100 aims to lead the market in this new technology by helping business owners identify if someone will be able to perform well in their unique environment, team, and business. Day100 also has tools that make the process faster, easier, more accurate, and more streamlined than ever before.
Usorov was always uncomfortable with the process of the old model of recruitment. He saw a resume, interviewed the job applicant on the phone, and then once in person. Then his team met with them anywhere from one to three times. Based on that limited contact alone, he had to ask himself, “Am I confident that this person will do a great job over the next two or three years with my team?” The honest answer was that he didn’t know, and there was a lot of hard work and gut feelings involved.
“What we want to do,” he explains, “is help companies fill that gap of information … in the traditional process, they maybe only have a 20% grasp on the performance potential and culture fit that a candidate has with them. Through Day100 … we want that number to increase to maybe 80%.” Usorov is quick to add that his software cannot replace you as a person. Ultimately, there is always a human who’s going to have to make the decision. Day100 can help fill that gap by bringing more good, objective data to help a human make a better, faster, more confident decision, which in turn benefits the company in terms of dollars, time, performance, and productivity.
“The goal of the questions that we ask reference providers is to get observations,” says Usorov. “We developed a framework rooted in business psychology research that allows us to create any number of different reference questions … It’s focused on the type of things that speak to performance potential and culture fit, but it’s also designed to be inherently neutral and unbiased.” The ideal number of references from a candidate is three. This method of evaluating specific answers to their questions for reference providers equips the recruiter with better and more accurate data with which to make decisions.
A Model for a New Recruiting Process
Day100 can also measure the ability of a candidate to critically think, communicate effectively, or collaborate with a team. “There are a couple of very important traits that ultimately lead to success in the workplace. Things like problem-solving, collaboration, time-management, and creativity,” says Usorov. “And there’s a certain number of traits that describe an environment and team dynamic, but also have to do with things like deliberation, energy, self-discipline, warmth, assertiveness, self-confidence.” Day100 measures all of these characteristics and traits.
They challenge companies to think differently about what their recruiting process could look like, for example, reimagining the process of asking candidates for references. It is now step one of their process, so as soon as a candidate applies for a job on their company’s website, they are asked to share their previous employer’s references. The reference providers can enter them online in a fast, easy, effortless process, enabling their clients to use that information right away. This helps the client cut down on a lot of other work that was leading to less accurate results. “They were doing a lot of phone screening,” explains Usorov, “a lot of scanning for keywords on resumes, they were giving homework assignments, asking different questions… what we found is that this is helping them get through all the noise and get to ‘does this person have the potential to do a great job, to fit with my team’, and therefore warrants further engagement.”
Changes in the Recruitment Marketplace
In the age of the internet, recruitment has evolved in a number of ways. It has allowed people to apply for jobs much more effortlessly. It’s also caused companies to be inundated with applications. It creates a lot more work for them to make sense of who is sincere and who is just applying for everything and anything. This results in an alienation of sorts, with one side applying senselessly, and the other being so overwhelmed with applications that there is an urge to discriminate. Day100 wants to bring meaningful information into the transaction.
The Question of a Degree
Getting hired used to have a lot more to do with which college you attended to earn your degree and what companies you worked for in the past than with your ability to handle the task at hand and grow with the prospective employer. Now that some top colleges are charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for a degree, many people are questioning whether they can invest that kind of time and money. Usorov feels that employers need to take on a new mindset and not discriminate due to the lack of a degree. Some of the brightest, and most creative minds are not college-educated. “College is becoming more unaffordable,” he explains, “and for the first time in American history, you have to ask if your investment in a college education will pay off. Companies need to rethink their policies on this, and they will be losing out as well if they want to hire only those with degrees. It’s a big topic that needs to be addressed on both sides.”
Advice to His College-Aged Self
“I think the one piece of advice I would give myself is to do the thing that you think will make you happy, and not do the thing that you believe will only make you money,” says Usorov.