Win the Talent War – Josh Goldstein, Underdog.io
Josh Goldstein is the co-founder of Underdog.io, a talent placement platform that connects qualified job seekers in the technology industry to companies looking to hire top talent. Goldstein and his partner check out both the seeker and the company so job hunters don’t waste their time with a company that is not a good fit, and companies don’t waste their time on unqualified job seekers. Underdog.io works with select companies including Kickstarter, Foursquare, New York Times, SeatGeek, Jet, Lever, and Digital Ocean. Their mission is to connect the best with the best.
Time-Stamped Show Notes
[00:00] Introduction of Josh Goldstein, co-founder of Underdog.io and the company’s role in the tech industry.
[01:10] Background on Goldstein’s pre-Underdog life.
[03:40] From idea to startup in 2014, how Underdog got on the map and how it is run.
[11:40] The biggest challenge for Goldstein and his partner is finding both top talent and top companies to employ them.
[14:10] Company culture is important; Underdog.io strives to have satisfied job seekers who have a great experience and want to refer their peers.
[17:42] Looking back, Goldstein shares his best advice for his younger self and for others just starting out.
[22:00] From personal experience, Goldstein knows how hard it can be to land that great job with a leading company for whom you really want to work. His business helps talented job seekers and innovative companies to connect.
[25:00] Contact Information.
The Birth of Underdog.io
Self-professed rebel and risk taker Josh Goldstein is the co-founder of the talent placement platform Underdog.io. He’d played poker professionally, worked stints in the corporate world and in real estate, but didn’t find his niche until Underdog.io opened for business in 2014. In their first week, Goldstein and his partner received unanticipated press, which sent them a flood of new business. Suddenly people were coming in from TechCrunch, companies as well as job seekers, and they were up and running.
How Does It Work?
Goldstein defines Underdog.io this way: “We’re a marketplace that connects high-quality job seekers with companies that are looking to hire them. Every week, we introduce growing technology companies to high-quality software engineers, designers, product managers, and business people from the Underdog.io community.” Job hunters fill out a 60 second online application and Goldstein’s crew takes it from there, checking out their credentials. They do the same vetting with the companies who reach out to them. “Our goal is to build a network of the highest-quality organizations in the world, which means that we approve only about 50% of the companies that try to join Underdog.io.” By being choosy, they’ve built a reputation for excellence. They currently operate in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, with plans to expand to other cities as they grow.
The biggest challenge for Goldstein is finding top talent and exceptional companies to hire them. “95% of the companies we do business with are privately-held, venture-backed startups. The remainder is larger technology companies and organizations that have startup-like opportunities.” They need to be a good match for the job seekers Underdog.io has. Goldstein’s company doesn’t do a lot of advertising, as most of their new business comes as a result of word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied former clients.
Goldstein interviews contacts at the companies to make sure his candidates have a good experience with them and client feedback is taken to heart. If a job seeker has an issue with one of the companies, Goldstein will be in touch with that company to sort it out. The goal is to provide a positive experience for the job hunter, and good value for the companies who seek to hire.
What advice would Goldstein give his younger self? “I’m a natural rebel and risk seeker,” he says, “I was then, and I’m even more like that now.” He believes that ideas are not hard to come by, but “it’s the execution that counts. I’m a firm believer in grinding, getting a little better every day. Keep your head down, and stay focused.”
Who is Underdog.io looking for?
Goldstein keeps a close eye on hiring trends and acknowledges that needs change from time to time. Often his companies are looking for developers, designers, data scientists, and software engineers. Many also need staff for sales and marketing positions, media, and human resource positions. This is only a partial list of positions Underdog.io places candidates in, and they welcome job seekers at Underdog.io.