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Mystic company makes hiring their business

By Lee Howard

Publication: The Day

Published March 15. 2014 4:00AM
Tim Martin/The Day
Sekhar Naik, right, president of Voice Glance explains his new venture Thursday in the Mystic location, in the Packer Building on Roosevelt Avenue, with Kevin Scanlon, left, manager, and Paul Petrone, center, communications manager. The startup technology firm aims to help businesses make the best hires possible.
Startup uses technology to help ensure best candidate is chosen

Mystic - If you have a pile of 100 resumes on your desk and time to digest only a quarter of that number, what are you going to do?

The answer for many small firms, sadly, is that the top few resumes may be scrutinized, while a random group at the bottom never will be seen. And that, said Sekhar Naik, president of the startup technology firm Voice Glance, is not only frustrating for people who never get the chance at a job but also can be expensive for companies missing out on the best candidates.

Naik has tried to solve this problem by developing software that streamlines the hiring process. With Voice Glance, companies large and small have access to a library of well-researched interview questions that candidates can answer via telephone, allowing anyone interested to be considered for a job and supplying firms with much more information than supplied by a resume.

"We looked at how companies hire," Naik said. "We found that companies get a lot of resumes, but they didn't have time to evaluate and talk to people."

So Naik and six software developers he employs started more than a year ago to develop the concept known as Voice Glance, a project he said has cost about $1 million to launch. Voice Glance employs seven people, six of whom work at the Packer Building on Roosevelt Avenue. With the launch of its new product the company is hiring a few more salespeople - both here and on the West Coast. Naik also heads the data-analytics company MResult that shares offices in Mystic with Voice Glance and has separate operations in Massachusetts and California,

Other companies have launched competitive systems to streamline the interview process, Voice Glance communications manager Paul Petrone said, but most of them revolve around video, which can be more cumbersome to use and more nerve-racking for applicants. The beauty of Voice Glance, he said, is that candidates can answer the questions at their leisure on the phone, and companies have the option of listening to the interview later on or reading a transcript, which provides valuable data that can be evaluated to improve chances of making even better hires in the future.

"It gives every candidate a voice," Kevin Scanlon, manager of the Mystic office, said. "It gives everyone a shot."

Naik added that transcripts can help eliminate bias in the hiring process, because everyone on a decision-making team has the same information and there is even the option of hiding a candidate's name to reduce reactions based on cultural differences.

"The real benefit is the analytics you get for it," said Petrone, who has worked with a variety of industries to develop interview questions for some of the most common job types. "We're trying to find out what correlates to a good hire vs. a bad hire."

Petrone said the questions start by exploring a candidate's background and technical qualifications and then move on to hypothetical situations that call on applicants to think on their feet. Questions, which easily can be customized based on specific company needs.

Voice Glance is a three-tiered subscription service that can be accessed for as little as $250 a month, Naik said. He added that the service is particularly valuable for small companies that have no dedicated human resources staff, but it also can take the strain off large companies that are being swamped by resumes in the current high-unemployment environment.

Scanlon pointed to statistics showing that a bad hire can cost a company an average of $56,000. On the other hand, he said, a typical $50,000 hire who works out well might be worth $200,000 to a company.

"And a bad hire hurts everyone else in that room," Petrone said.

l.howard@theday.com

AT A GLANCE

Name: Voice Glance

Principal: Sekhar Naik

Employees: 7

Years in business: 1

Address: 12 Roosevelt Ave., Mystic

Website: www.VoiceGlance.com

Phone: 860-333-6285

Email: ppetrone@VoiceGlance.com

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