Often, startup stories focus more on the product and company than they do the people that made them possible. We at The Startup Collaborative have found that our mission statement to allow everyone an unbiased investment thesis to building their own tech-centric company allows us to step aside and let the entrepreneurs be center stage. The Behind the Founder campaign is meant to do just that — let the stories of those who call themselves TSC Fellows be told from their own perspective.
What’s your name?
Where are you from?
Born in Little Rock, Arkansas grew up in Omaha
How did your upbringing influence you today?
Growing up I was given the freedom and support to explore different paths which allowed my independence to flourish rather than be restricted. Basically, my building blocks to becoming a founder. I’ve always had a very strong belief that anything can be accomplished if you create the right formula and possess the “I’m making this happen” mindset. A lot of who I am today stems from amazing family and friend support allowing me to continually create projects and businesses.
Whether you’ve met them or not, who is one REAL person that has influenced you?
For this specific project (loophire) and my career as a recruiter was inspired by my brother, Brad Jones. He’s a super talented and well-respected leader in the Human Resources community in Omaha. I was in the nightlife/bar business for about 8 years before entering HR. As my nightlife career was coming to an end I went to Brad for advice. I felt I could succeed as a recruiter and asked if he’d take a shot and hire me with this firm. He (respectfully) declined, for a number of legitimate reasons, but most of all I didn’t have the experience or training to be successful in his operation. It’s the best NO I’ve ever received. I’m not one to be deterred, so I landed a recruiter role at a franchised staffing firm that focused on temporary labor. It truly was a start from the bottom, let’s see what you got type scenario. It was gritty, eye-opening and nowhere near the glamour of owning a nightclub which was my last profession. This helped me grow as a person and offered a beautiful shot of humility. I succeeded and was offered a position with Brad’s company and we worked together for 3 years. He’s not only family and one of my dear friends, but a mentor and a voice of reason to my struggles. Thanks, Brad.
From a sketch on a napkin to officially starting up, what triggered the inception of your company?
I launched my own recruitment firm, CJM Recruitment Partners in February of 2018 with the purpose of re innovating the staffing industry. Many of the practices are super archaic and I felt by leveraging technology and my personal recruitment process I could offer a better product. While launching and operating CJM, I was continually exploring products and brainstorming ideas of how my process can better serve candidates and businesses. A lot of whiteboard time, until it woke me in the middle of the night…
Combine the most proven effective hiring methods/processes, create consistency with both the candidate and hiring manager using specific recruitment technologies AND franchise theory, I could build the ultimate solution within one software and replicate it a million times over.
My knowledge in the staffing industry has allowed me to witness so many pain points and struggles within our current hiring system. I pieced together solutions and eliminated unnecessary steps in the process to build what is now called loophire.
Within The Startup Collaborative, what level was the most challenging for you, your company and why?
The beginning. Building validation and people questioning my theories. After spending months and months creating something based on the knowledge you’ve gained professionally over the last 7 years, it was tough to have others question your ideas and offer constructive criticism, at times. This is CRUCIAL for growth. When it’s your idea or profession it’s easy to become narrow-minded and think you know it all. Erica, Nathan and others helped me welcome all questions and challenges to ensure I’m creating a product that everyone will understand and deem useful.
Within The Startup Collaborative, what level has been the most rewarding for you, your company and why?
The Lean Startup Method. Building your product/company through validation was fantastic. I’m accustomed to the “business plan” method which can leave a lot of room for guessing rather than really knowing what your customer segment actually wants or cares about. Step by step the program helps you create your vision into a reality.
Presently, what does a typical day look like for you and your company?
We’re still in development but approaching the pilot phase in September. Presently, our focus is on the branding side and beginning to build messaging campaigns that will help bring awareness to the pilot and eventual launch.
What’s next for you and your company?
Launch the pilot, go to market and change the hiring industry.