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Former UC Student's Staffing Firm Helps Businesses Find Most-Compatible Employees

A staffing company co-founded by a former University of Cincinnati student is playing matchmaker between employers and the talented employees of their dreams.

Date: 3/13/2017 12:30:00 PM
By: Michael Miller
Phone: (513) 556-6757
Photos By: Vooru
Former UC student Andrew DeZarn, center, co-founded consulting company Vooru in 2015 with business partner Matt Sutton, right.
Former UC student Andrew DeZarn, center, co-founded consulting company Vooru in 2015 with business partner Matt Sutton, right.

A former University of Cincinnati student is harnessing the math used in popular dating apps to help companies find compatible job candidates in finance and accounting.

Andrew DeZarn, a former student in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, co-founded the executive search and consulting company Vooru in 2015 with his business partner, Matt Sutton. The Washington, DC-based company uses more than 250 data points about employers to match them with job candidates, similar to the algorithms used in some popular online dating tools. The goal is to improve both job satisfaction and employee retention by striking a compatible match, DeZarn said.

“We have a huge network of professionals we partner with. We track analytics to show where they are in their current position,” he said.

Vooru’s analytics can tell when potential job candidates might be ripe for a change, even if they’re not actively looking for a new job, he said. And since it relies heavily on numbers, there is less chance of personal  bias, DeZarn said.

“Everyone has internal biases. It’s just part of human nature. But this system not only suggests a better fit but also leads to people staying at companies a lot longer and being happier in their careers,” DeZarn said.

Employee recruiting is a $28 billion industry in the United States, according to 2016 numbers compiled by market-research company IBISWorld. About half of these companies provide permanent placement services; one-third are dedicated to executive placement and the rest help place temporary employees and independent contractors.

The industry is highly fragmented with the four biggest companies controlling just 15 percent of the market, which made it easier for Vooru to enter the market, DeZarn said.  IBISWorld predicts demand for recruiting and placement services to increase by 2 percent annually over the next four years or to nearly $32 billion by 2021.

Vooru uses social media to build a grass-roots base of upwardly mobile professionals in finance and accounting. It costs them nothing to join Vooru’s pool of job candidates.

One clever Facebook post before the final presidential debate noted that only one of the two candidates would get the job: “Vooru is here to make sure that the other can successfully make the transition to the next step of his/her career. Happy debating everyone!”

DeZarn said his experience at UC encouraged his entrepreneurship. His first internship at a Chicago hedge fund helped land him a job at Google, where he tackled hiring and retention for Google Express. Google Express offers home delivery of groceries and household products from partner retailers such as Costco, PetSmart, Staples and Whole Foods Market.

“A big part of that project dealt with staffing. I got to network with a lot of industry people,” he said.

That’s how he met Sutton with whom he developed a business plan to capitalize on the Beltway’s consistent hunger for finance and accounting talent. This part of the country is considered somewhat recession-proof, he said.

“The DC market has relative immunity from the typical ebbs and flows of the economy. So much of what goes on here is tied to the federal government,” he said.

A robust economy is good for search companies such as Vooru that rely on fees collected from clients for its consulting services and analytical expertise. Companies pay a one-time fee, usually a percentage of the position’s first-year base salary, to place a single employee or pay a monthly fee for Vooru’s consulting services to fill multiple jobs, DeZarn said.

DeZarn paid his way through college at UC, where he studied psychology. While he completed his mathematics degree elsewhere, DeZarn credited his time at UC with launching his sense of entrepreneurship.

“UC definitely provided me with tools and resources to be successful,” DeZarn said. “The student body was phenomenal. The professors I had were nothing but helpful.”

Vooru now works with businesses in major cities around the country, he said. The year-old company expects to have 15 full-time employees by summer.

“There are some very obvious metrics for success — whether the client hires us again. How long are employees staying,” he said.

The goal is to get the professionals he places in positions to see the value in his services and return to Vooru when it’s time to do their own hiring, he said.