July 23, 2019
Interviews 09 February 2018
Interview: Imo Udom
Dillon Chen

Technology is changing the world and the way companies are hiring. One of the latest new improvements is using video interviews during the hiring process. In our exclusive interview with Imo Udom, the CEO of Wepow, we get an inside look at the world of video interviewing and what it’s like to be a CEO in this industry.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your company and what it does?

Wepow is a video interviewing and engagement company. Our overall goal is to help organizations hire faster, reduce costs and improve quality, while preserving the human connection. Typically, organizations that use Wepow are doing a lot of hiring and are looking for ways to do more with less.

 

What are the mission and core values of Wepow?

Wepow is short for we power, we power your recruiting, we power your hiring, We Power You.

Wepow’s mission is to make interviewing simple and build the next generation workforce.

We work closely with clients as trusted partners to try and improve their recruiter productivity and hire great talent while still maintaining an engaging candidate experience.

 

What kind of features set you apart from others?

Our philosophy has always been “let's make sure our technology can help with making better hiring decisions”, but we have really focused on branding and engagement.

HR and recruiters are realizing how important their employer brand is and are trying to ensure that they are pushing their brand’s content across all different channels.

We work with clients to ensure that the candidate experience is fully white labeled, incorporating the client’s brand at every touch point. Not only does the web experience have the same look and feel as the client’s own site, but our app provides a fully branded mobile experience as well.

One of the other cool features is that it can work completely offline or in airplane mode. This is great for candidates that are in remote areas or countries with low bandwidth. You only need a connection in the beginning and at the end of the experience.

Clients always rave about us providing an enterprise level technology with a consumer type feel. Everything from ease of use to user experience, fast adoption, implementation, and onboarding. It can be set up in hours instead of weeks or months.

 

In your experience, what qualities make for a successful video interview?

Organizations have to take a different approach when it comes to video interviewing. The best and most successful video interviews:

  • Tend to be short on the question side. Successful organizations usually have about 5-7 questions, no more than 10.
  • Have somebody record themselves asking the interview questions. Candidates see the recruiter or hiring manager talking to them and that makes it really impactful.
  • Have other content to engage the candidates. For example, Some of our clients add an office tour video, or a video of the hiring manager talking about the role or team. Candidates can get a sense of what it's actually like to work at the organization.

To really have success with this type of technology, it’s so important for you to set the stage for candidates.

Let your candidates know why you’re doing this: how it helps them get access to more people in your organization, how it fast tracks the process for the candidates; and how it helps them tell their story beyond the resume.

 

What do you predict the future will bring for Video Interviews?

This type of technology has so much potential! Today, video interviews usually fall into 2 main use cases:

  • Streamline Initial Candidate Screening - Replacing the phone screen with an automated or pre-recorded video interview.
  • Live interview efficiency - Multiple people in the organization can get to know candidates better through live video interviews before making a decision instead of bringing every candidate on-site.

The future of video interviewing/video is all about exploring use cases around engagement. Video interviews enable organizations to make better decisions in a way that phone interviews do not.

A lot of our clients are using Video interviews in new and creative use cases. For example, some are using it as a way to increase engagement within their mentorship programs for high potential employees. Some use it to gather feedback from employees around volunteer initiatives that the company is considering. Video profiles are shared with higher-ups and senior leadership, which get much higher response rates.

There’s a lot of growth in this space and we’re excited to be at the forefront of the development with great clients and partners!

  

Give us an overview of what your average day looks like.

The first thing I do is spend 15-30 min looking through email for high priority things that I need to address right away. (investors, partners, clients, etc.)

Next, I go through my action items. Prioritization is critical as a CEO, I use Asana as my action-item tracking tool to prioritize my day and my week.

After knowing my plan for the day, I review industry information so that I know what is going on in the industry. It’s important to find what affects you or your clients in order to prepare future strategies. I’m an early riser, so I try and do all these things before 9am.

From 9am to early afternoon, I set apart time to work with different internal teams to find out where they are having issues and try and work with them to work through issues.

The latter half of my day is for critical thinking and critical work like company and partner strategy, building reports, and meetings. Usually every Sunday I go over what I accomplished in the week and try and plan for the next week.

This structured system has come after a lot of hard work. I worked with a mentor to restructure my days and weeks so that I could get more strategic initiatives done and I wasn’t spending all my time putting out fires.

 

What are the best and most challenging aspects of your job?

Hands down, the best part is interacting with my team and working together to solve problems! It’s exciting to sit down with a team member, come up with a theory on how to solve an issue, implement an action plan, and review after a week and see results.

I also love interacting with clients and hearing what is working, or even what’s not working. I like to hear the impact we have on my customers, clients and recruiters.

The most challenging? Dealing with a flood of emails every day! Tons of People contacting me and trying to sell things or wanting to partner… I really dislike managing my emails, but it's a necessary part of the job.


What does work/life balance mean to you? 

For me, balance is being able to create and spend time with my family. I don't have any set metrics, but one of the things that is so important to me is to be accountable not only to goals and plans for my company, but also goals and plans for my family.

It’s important that you’re not just saying it's a priority, but having it a BE a priority through the actions that you do. 

As long as I’m not neglecting my goals that apply to my family then I think I’ve reached the balance. It’s not always 50/50.

 

What does success look like to you?

Success for me is achieving goals. A few things for me right now,

1.    We’re almost profitable, so getting to that point would be great!

2.    Working on completing a large-scale partnership.

Getting these two things done for me would equal success in the short term.

Sometimes there are internal or external roadblocks to fully driving value to customers. 

In the larger context, I think success looks like getting to the state where we’re able to impact our clients fully in the way we know we can.True success would be to realize that value for all of our customers.

Some of the clients we work with are achieving full success, and I want to get as many customers there as possible. For those already at that point, I hope to create new goals of success for the future!

  

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

Few important things to realize:

1. It’s important to realize that you need help, find mentors or advisors who will teach you and keep you accountable to yourself.

2. A leadership role is serving others, know that you need to find a way to make yourself available.

3. Know how to delegate. Understand that you can’t do everything alone, it’s not your job to do things it’s your job to make sure things get done.

 

Are you involved in the hiring process? What sort of decisions do you make? 

Yes, I’m definitely involved! As CEO, first of all, I look at our goals for the year, what are we trying to do or accomplish? Do we have the team today that we need to accomplish our current and near future goals? If not, what do we need? 

Talking to the team leads, understanding what their team can do, and knowing what the gaps are is important here. Layer 1: Who do we need and why?

Then the team lead needs to consider the profile of who we need to hire. Do we need a junior, senior, or experienced person? Does the person need to be in a specific location? At this point, we have discussions about how our new hires fit in compensation wise compared to our existing team as well as what they will need to achieve to advance in their career.

Finally, the hiring process. We use video interviews, Wepow of course, to screen our candidates. I usually let the team handle the first pass of interviews. The team lead and members review the candidates that go through our pre-screening before I take a look at them.

When looking at our pre-recorded interviews, I’m talking to the team lead and hiring manager about my opinions. If I have a strong opinion, Yes or No, I let it be known. After the pre-screening, we do a live video interview (which I’m not involved in unless the new hire will be a direct report) before bringing them in for an on-site interview (1 on 1 or panel style) where I get involved again. 

 

How do you separate good candidates from bad ones? What qualities attributes do your best hires have in common?

Each role needs a slightly different profile, there's not one set thing we look for. Some things that are important to us though are: 

  • Tenacity- people that work hard and have accomplished a lot with little resources or opportunity.
  • Diversity - We are trying to ensure that our candidate pools are as diverse as possible. Wepow is a very international and diverse organization, so a global perspective when we hire is very important. 
  • Trustworthiness - not an easy thing to screen for but if we can identify it, that’s a positive. 
  • Accountability - People that are accountable to themselves and have a lot of integrity. (Be on the lookout for red flags like blaming others)


Tell us something fun about yourself that not many people know?

My family is from Nigeria, I was born Houston Texas, grew up in London, and I like to travel. 

In one of my International travels, I happened to be in an airplane crash landing! As our plan was approaching the runway, we heard loud noises and the landing gear didn’t come out. (only 1 tire deployed)

As we landed, the single tire broke off and we swerved off the runway into the grass where the wing broke off and the plane caught fire. We had to exit the plane by jumping down the slide!

 

What’s the last thing you watched on TV or book that you read and why did you choose to watch/read it?

The last thing I watched on TV was college football national championships (Alabama won which I was not happy about!) The last thing I streamed was Black Mirror, a Netflix show.