Boston Interviews

FirmPlay: A New, More Transparent Job Search

Working for a startup can be great, but it can also suck. It all depends. It is hard to know – or at least harder than with larger, more established companies – what you are getting into before it’s too late. Sure, there is Glassdoor and other such sites, but these reviews can be misleading. However, we just came across a new company that wants to make company culture and working environments transparent: FirmPlay. Right now, FirmPlay is only in the Boston Market, but they are looking to expand into more U.S. cities in the near future. We had a chance to ask the team a few questions:


What is FirmPlay?

FirmPlay is a new job search platform that takes job seekers behind-the-scenes at companies through in-depth videos, photos, and other rich content to help them discover cool companies and find a job they’ll love. The companies on our site all care about culture and are hiring (and often growing at incredible rates), so it’s a win-win: job seekers have a better chance to find a job and employer that’s right for them (and save time avoiding companies that aren’t a fit before they start applying)…and employers have the ability to showcase their culture in order to attract the right candidates.

Who is your target user?

Anyone interested in exploring the culture at a company before they spend time applying and interviewing could benefit from using FirmPlay. But to be more specific, we’re zeroing in on users who are 21-35 years old with a Bachelor’s degree or higher, are interested in careers at growing tech companies, and care about finding a workplace culture that is a good fit for them.

Why did you build the platform?

Everyone goes through the job search process at some point. It’s often a time-consuming, anxiety-filled process of combing through countless job descriptions that all sound the same. Worst of all, there’s very little sense for what it would actually be like to work at each of those jobs. What kind of people would you be working with? How quickly do things move at the company? What kind of training would you receive? What does the layout of the office even look like? Put simply: would you love working there?

We experienced this struggle firsthand when we entered the workforce after college, and again after graduate school. Methods to evaluate culture exist, but they are time consuming and scattered across various sources: anecdotal testimonials and hearsay, on-campus presentations, tediously combing through the websites of various companies (most of which have abysmal career pages), or interviewing at a company itself (at which point, it’s late in the game). There had to be a better way. So we created FirmPlay.

What makes FirmPlay different from Glassdoor and others?

FirmPlay’s proprietary WorkplaceDNA™, which will let job seekers search by a dozen individual components that make up a company’s culture, such as work pace, hours, events and traditions, and feedback style, to name a few. This will change the way you search for a job, because by searching and filtering for a company based on the criteria that ultimately impact your day-to-day happiness at work, you can avoid companies that aren’t a fit from the beginning and invest that saved time in the companies that are right for you.

Tell us your founding story. Was there an “ah ha” moment?

Sort of. We were brainstorming startup ideas on a rainy October afternoon one weekend, and we started talking about how painful the job search process can be. We realized that it’s kind of like dating – applying and interviewing for a position is essentially a courtship. Except, unlike actual dating, it’s a much more one-sided interaction; think about how much more information a candidate divulges than a company? And if a candidate does get good information on the company, it’s probably later on – they’re either interviewing onsite, or worse yet, showing up for their first day of work. Think about how much time and energy they’ve invested by that point.

So why not make workplaces more transparent, and make it easy for job seekers to peruse this information up front in their job search?

Tell us about the founders and their backgrounds.

Despite always being interested in the startup world, we both spent most of our careers in professional services industries, where there’s a strong culture (for better or worse) – Jason was in investment banking, and Vasilios was in management consulting. We met in business school in 2010, tried our hand at a startup and failed in 2012, and graduated soon thereafter. Thankfully, the startup bug never left us, so the band got back together again in late 2013 to create FirmPlay.

What’s next? What do your short-term goals look like?

We’re focused on building the best product possible for job seekers to discover companies they’ll love to work for, and for employers to find talented employees who are a great cultural fit. That’s our sole mission. To do that, we’re currently focused on adding tech-related companies based in the Boston metro area that are growing and hiring.

At the same time, we’re publicizing our site to talented job seekers who are either just about to enter the job market out of college (and need help discovering cool companies) or have some experience under their belt and are more discerning about what they’re looking for in an employer (and thus need help getting behind the scenes and evaluating companies’ culture).

And later in 2014, we’re planning to expand to other cities in the U.S.