Startup of the week – Octagon Careers

Published in Aug 8, 2019

Octagon Careers is the Startup of the week! This startup will help to create an application experience that attracts and engages Generation Z. Octagon eliminates the need for CVs and cover letters, and build a challenge specific to the role you are hiring for.

How and when did the idea of your startup arise?

We (Vanesa and Neil) met in January 2018 in Malaysia while participating in a 12 month remote-working program called ‘Remote Year’. The program brings people together from different professional backgrounds, allows them to experience life as a digital nomad, all while travelling the world with a group of like-minded people. Part of the Remote Year experience is participating in various professional development events, and we decided to work together on a project around April 2018. After various conversations and meetings with universities and companies, we settled on a version of Octagon Careers and by October 2018, we had received lots of positive messages and support for our idea. From there, we began applying to start-up accelerator programs around the world. One of the programs at the top of our list was Spinlab – the HHL Accelerator, which is one of the best-rated accelerator programs in Germany. We actually submitted our application while we were in Colombia and pitched via video call from Mexico City in January 2019. Shortly afterwards, we moved to Leipzig and started full-time at the Spinlab in March 2019! 

Which problem does your company want to solve?

Company recruiters and team leads spend a lot of time assessing applications, trying to understand how candidates are qualified for a role, and trying to differentiate between individuals who oftenappear similar in their CV and cover letter. Candidates often spend many hours on their applications, only to receive little or no feedback during the application process, with no possibility to understand how they can improve.

At Octagon Careers, we build we build smart assessments to optimize application processes for skilled, junior positions. We call these smart assessments ‘challenges’.

Following the completion of a challenge, companies receive a list of the best-matched, best-qualified candidates to interview, saving time and energy, and allowing HR to focus on the interviews. Candidates learn more about the company and the role when they participate in a challenge, and they receive fully automated feedback. 

Which is your value proposition?

With Octagon Careers, companies save time and money. They find better matched talent, as job-preview style assessments are one of the best indicators of performance in a role. Every candidate has the same amazing experience – Octagon Careers takes care of reducing bias, and providing feedback to all applicants.

Our smart assessments integrate into existing workflows of companies, and make sure employers do not need to spend unnecessary time dealing with logistic or tech issues.

Thus far, 90% of candidates would ‘absolutely’ or ‘probably’ find an application more interesting if done with an Octagon Careers challenge, and 80% would recommend others to apply for a role through our challenge as opposed to the status quo.


Why is Data so important for your business?

Data is incredibly important because it allows us to build a best-in-class product, as well as provide vital information to companies and university institutions.

Data ensures candidates are assessed consistently and objectively, and that bias is not present in challenges as far as possible. Data also provides a strong demographic representation of candidates, allowing companies to better understand their messaging and audience.


Which are the main benefits of using your products/services?

When a company runs a challenge with Octagon Careers, they can make hiring decisions based on performance, not intuition. Companies receive a list of best-matched, qualified candidates in the knowledge that those candidates have the right skills for the job, and understand their company better.

HR and internal recruiters save time and cost spent on screening and selection, with a digitized screening process that gives clear metrics and results, and easily integrates into existing workflows.

Importantly, we offer a fair, transparent and positive candidate experience for all applicants via an innovative and learning-focused process.


Which are the main challenges that you are facing today?

There are lots of companies operating in the HR tech space, and it is important that we set ourselves apart and really show how unique we are, and what benefits we bring. We have had some very positive responses and we are constantly speaking with companies so that we understand exactly what their pains are. 

What do you expect from Data Market Services?

We’re really looking forward to making use of Data Market Service’s great offerings, and are excited to join some of the next webinars and get involved with the Data Science Academy. Having access to well-respected mentors is also something that will make DMS highly valuable to us.


Have your startup recieved some awards or recognitions?

We have had some wonderful opportunities to take part in various conferences, host workshops and speak at events.

Our CEO, Vanesa, came 1st at both the Fiverr Pitch’n’Win event in Berlin, as well as HHL’s Accelerate conference in Leipzig. We have also hosted workshops at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam, as well as at the University of Applied Science’s HR Innovation Day in Leipzig.

Our Chief Knowledge Officer, Neil, also had the opportunity to present in front of 100+ investors at Spinlab’s Investor Day.

More information!

Prof Peter Wald’s HR blog, on which we were recently featured: