Ken Morris, CEO, ChordifyKen Morris, CEO
For any business operating in an increasingly digitized world, hiring the right technical talent is paramount for organizational growth. This is especially true for startups, which require the appropriate tech expertise at almost every stage of their development – from laying down the blueprint of their product to taking their minimum viable product (MVP) to the market testing stage even beyond. However, startups are frequently challenged by time constraints, as their hiring managers have to don several hats within the company and conduct the interview and recruitment processes.

Moreover, finding competent technical talent is no cakewalk, and that too while operating under time constraints, as products wait to be launched within stipulated timeframes. Further exacerbating the issue is the overall inefficiencies in the current hiring process, wherein a bunch of resumes is dumped in the hiring managers’ inbox, who then has to sift through them to determine the suitability of the candidates before interviewing them. Listing out job positions and skill requirements, sorting through the candidate responses, conducting several rounds of interviews, shortlisting, and finally onboarding them is an incredibly lengthy and cumbersome process, wherein startups and enterprises lose out on precious time, possibly the right technical talent.

Amid this scenario, Chordify is carving a niche in easing companies’ technical talent-hiring challenges. The Sunnyvale, California-based company assists tech startups and product firms in the San Francisco Bay Area in hiring seasoned software personnel quickly with its expertise in software development, technical team management, and talent acquisition.With a smart screening process, Chordify locates, assesses, shortlists, and matches skilled technical experts to companies’ specific requirements and fasttracks and streamlines the talent hiring process for the software industry.

In an interview with ManageHR, Ken Morris, CEO of Chordify, discusses how his company boosts growth for startups and software product companies by rapidly providing them with experienced resources equipped with technical talent and software skills at every stage of product development.

Could you introduce us to Chordify?

We see ourselves as the trusted partner – and not just a vendor –for providing technical talent to emerging startups and enterprise companies. Our clientele comprises mostly early-stage and seed-funded startups and some enterprise customers. Being well acquainted with the startup ecosystem for years, we bring an in-depth understanding of their challenges in developing their products. We support them in releasing their products by providing them with the required resources equipped with software and IT expertise. As a service provider to the software industry, we remain alert and prepared and keep learning and constantly evolving to serve startups and software companies at any point.

Could you briefly describe Chordify’s journey through the years?

My partners and I have been in the software industry for the last 30 years, and we have a combined experience of almost a hundred years—our desire to work with startups and help them grow motivated us to establish Chordify. The company’s inception was in 2007 when it was just a singleperson company. In 2014, we expanded our operations, added partners, and started to serve the startup community with our network of tech professionals.

What trends have you noticed in the software industry that Chordify serves?

The dynamic software industry markets are frequently disrupted by events like the financial meltdown in the early 2000s, the introduction of the iPhone, cloud technology, and big data in mid-2014 when Chordify ventured into technical talent management. At that point, many companies wanted to build mobile applications or base their company on iOS or Android mobile applications. Soon the big data trend arrived, and we were one of the first companies to provide talent in the data science and data analytics area.

Also, we saw the software market in the Bay Area gradually replicate in Denver, Dallas, Austin, Seattle, Boston, New York, Salt Lake City, Jacksonville, and Miami as funding becomes flush for startups with a widening pool of VCs and angel investors. We are trying our best to cater to all these markets, but right now, we are focused more on the Midwest part of the country and Denver.

How does Chordify support startups?

With advancements in cloud technology, startups find it very easy to start operations. However, software companies still need a team of technical experts to initiate product development. This is where Chordify steps in. Based on our discussions with clients, we create a product requirements document (PRD) to gain clarity on the product being developed. Once they approve the PRD, we start designing the product aided by our offshore engineers, who assist our client in developing their MVP.

In working with startups, we don various hats to help them grow. In some cases, we spend time with them to iron out their issues or challenges. For instance, we sometimes help them in their go-to-market strategies or get them some significant amount of funding.

Could you elaborate on Chordify’s talent management methods?

We bring our talent network pool from various trades from our previous consultants. Once we get a requirement from a client, we thoroughly question and quiz them on their exact resource requirement as per the project they are working on. At the end of the session, we understand the customers’ actual needs and wants. Then we look at our talent pool and seek out other available prospective candidates. We then follow a two-step process of conducting interviews with the candidate.

We shortlist around ten candidates depending on availability, following which we do a technical evaluation by way of a 30-minute written on-camera test based on the required skill sets demanded by the client. The test, accessible from laptops, is designed so that the testing stops if the candidates switch the browser. At the end of 30 minutes, we gauge the difficulty level of the test and assess the candidates’ skills. Based on the clients’ criteria and the candidates’ test performance, we provide a printed or an online document of the test results stating the latter’s skill levels to the client along with their resume.

We make it a point not to submit more than one or two resumes for each position because we shortlist and weed out the candidates who don’t meet the particular standard the client wants. This allows the client to save enormous time in conducting the interview and hiring process. The client can skip the introductions, go straight to the crux of the interview, and decide the candidate’s suitability – all within 30-40 minutes.

How does Chordify approach clients’ organizational culture?

We spend a reasonable amount of time with the client to understand their organizational culture, the nature and pace of their work, the kind of teams they require, and their location, either onsite or offsite. We try to understand during the interviewing of the client, to understand better as to what kind of talent they want, not only in terms of the skill sets but also in their expectations of work-life balance and the company culture they’re getting into.

We don’t change our clients working style. We work with them to understand their actual situation, which could be subject to changes, especially for startups. There are certain phases where they need a rapid development pace, for instance during product or feature set launches. We need to be aligned to their goals and timeframe to ensure that the talent we are providing is also aligned to their needs, as it is about setting expectations on both sides.

What makes Chordify stand apart in the talent management space?

Firstly, we see ourselves not as a vendor but as a partner. Secondly, we make it a point to ask the hiring managers the tough questions regarding their exact candidate requirements and their new hires’ expectations. The answers we get are enough to select the right candidates from an industry perspective. Lastly, we have this highly curated testing system with which we ensure the candidates are tested thoroughly before their resumes are submitted to the company. Chordify is differentiated with this combination of understanding the customer requirements well and making sure that the candidates are the right fit by testing them beforehand. This approach has earned approval from our clients as well as industry experts.

Could you cite any customer success stories?

For the last few years, we have been partners with Iterate. ai, a startup based out of Denver and San Jose. The company provides a low-code platform for developing AI, IoT, blockchain, and enterprise apps. With the onset of COVID, Iterate received a lot of requests from eCommerce companies and retail customers to add curbside pickup features to their current delivery systems, which led to a rush to seek the appropriate resources with the right tech expertise. Chordify worked as Iterate’s in-house recruiting team to help the company meet the increased demand by hiring and onboarding the right candidates on their behalf – all within 48 hours over a single weekend.
  • We see ourselves as the trusted partner for providing technical talent to emerging startups and also to enterprise companies

In another instance, back in 2014-15, Chordify provided several talents in the field of big data and data science within a few weeks for a Texas-based enterprise client in the oil and gas industry. This was when data experts were difficult to come by as it was an emerging field, and it took several months to find and hire them. We have been instrumental in helping the company form its core data science and data analytics team and continue to partner with them.

What lies ahead for Chordify?

In line with the new post-COVID market trend, where offshore hiring is becoming increasingly prevalent, we have started globalizing our talent sourcing operations. Apart from the US, we have set up a regional office in India, which will help us fulfill our overseas hiring needs. We’re already in advanced talks with a company in India to acquire a substantial part of the talent pool. Right now, we are strengthening our talent sourcing model from Eastern European countries and Russia. We also intend to hire technical talent from Mexico and South America.

In the next five to 10 years, we would like to see ourselves as a global technical talent provider for companies in the US. In a nutshell, we see ourselves growing internationally.Along with this global expansion, in the next two years, we plan to provide our customers options to recruit new talent from a particular geography or from the US itself