ZipRecruiter: From the Kitchen Table to the Big Time

The idea for ZipRecruiter stemmed from CEO and Co-founder Ian Siegel’s own frustrating experiences hiring talent, “No one, I think, enjoys creating a job ad, posting it, going through a stack of candidates.” The website’s mission is to help jobseekers find employment fast and help employers hire candidates at the same speed.

The Early Days

Siegel walked away from the highest paying job he ever had to sit at his kitchen table with the other founding members to start ZipRecruiter. Siegel likes to refer to this time as “Legendary customer support.” He explains, if you called in and began talking to me on the phone I would merely repeat out loud what you were saying while my partner would furiously fix whatever bug you were encountering and then I would say, “Just refresh and tell me if you still see that and miraculously problems would disappear.”

ZipRecruiter’s kitchen table days are behind them. Now, the company has over 400 employees with offices located around the world. While their customer support team has grown to 45 members, they remain committed to providing exceptional service.

Picking Up Speed

In the startup world, there is a common saying notes Siegel, “First, they ignore you. Then, they mock you. Then, they try to kill you. And then, they buy you.” He recalls starting at step one and then leap frogging to a capital raise of $63 million in series A funding, making him the envy of other start-ups. However, Siegel quickly learned the value of being discreet, “In one week, every single one of our major partners changed their relationship with us. Some of them said, "‘Nope, now you’re a direct competitor,’ and dropped us entirely. Others cut our budget substantially.”

The Takeaway

Siegel realized that ZipRecruiter hit it big when he was having dinner with three friends from high school some of whom he had not seen in years. “One of them asked me what I do, and I said, ‘Oh I built a company that helps jobseekers get hired fast.’ And he said, ‘Do you mean like ZipRecruiter?’ and I said, ‘No, I mean ZipRecruiter.’”

How would Siegel advise young startups? “Find your one thing and once you find it, your mission is not to build more things. Your mission is to build the loudest megaphone you possibly can to tell as many people as possible about your one thing.”