Growing up sharing a two-room house in Bombay with 11 family members, Ketan Anjara, Founder of HireClub, experienced first-hand how life-changing a job can be. A big believer in the power of communities, Ketan built HireClub to allow friends and family to support one another in the job market. As he explains it, a job is more than a job. It’s a way to restore hope, happiness, and security in a person’s life.
What is your business, and what problem you are solving?
HireClub helps friends find jobs to solve the problem of hiring great people. Our end goal is to help every single person find work, whether it’s for full time or contract-based employment. We also believe career-coaching is key.
I became inspired to build HireClub when I owned a design agency. I always needed to hire people that I was will to pay top dollar for, but it was hard to find the talent. I knew my friends had incredible people working with them, so I invited 25 of my friends to a new group called HireClub and the rest is history.
Who is in your core team? How did your team come together?
Thankfully, we’ve never had a problem finding great people. They come to us! Our core team is Annie Jalota who does marketing, Lisa Marie who runs product, Shruti Desai and Mia Legaspi who do design. Our developers are Grace Durham and Omar Jalal. We’ve recently added Vicente Escalante, our HR Coordinator, who helps companies on HireClub find top talent.
Please explain your edge over your competition?
There’s a movement called Zebras Unite that is relevant here. Zebras is the idea that startups don’t have to be this masculine “win everything” business. In that way, I don’t think we have competitors because if there’s a company out there that helps you find a job, I’m all for it.
That said, I think we put a lot of emphasis on our community and our guidelines that encourage healthy, positive discussion. Too many companies focus on just the product. Never undervalue the importance of community.
If you never had to work another day in your life, what would you do? Why?
I would find an opportunity where I can give back to my community. I’d love to either help make houses for Habitat for Humanity or teach young people skills. I believe we are put on this earth to help one other and it truly makes me happy to do that.
Too many founders beat themselves up over imaginary goals.
Advice you would give yourself from 10 years ago?
It’s not about success. Instead, it’s about how you treat yourself and others. Too many founders beat themselves up over imaginary goals. Be kind to yourself. Take care of your health and body.
A childhood lesson that shaped you?
Don’t let others define your capabilities. As children, we often hear no, you can’t do that. I now hear “you can do that” and that helps me stay motivated.
Our community is everything. Letting our community get involved in our future through investment makes so much sense.
Why equity crowdfunding? Why Republic?
It was only afterwards that I met Ken and learned about his vision to let everyday people invest in the ideas they believe in. That philosophy really resonates with me. At HireClub, our community is everything. Letting our community get involved in our future through investment makes so much sense.
Who was an early inspiration of yours?
My father. We lived in the ghetto of Bombay. I lived in two rooms alongside 11 family members. We didn’t have running water and we had shared bathrooms.
My dad came to America in the early ‘80s and is the embodiment of the American dream. He and my mom worked hard to provide for us. It’s not always about entrepreneurs who make billions. Sometimes, it’s the people who make you feel a billion times better. While my dad found financial success, he also raised a family that was loving and supportive.
What makes a CEO great?
A great CEO listens to the people they work with and encourages them to grow. You also need to have vision and focus on the right ideas: you don’t have to do everything. It’s also important to encourage the right company culture.
What are your interests and passions outside of your company?
I love cooking and eating healthy food. I also enjoy spending time outdoors hiking. To recharge, I recently went to Iceland and spent ten days on the road camping by myself. Getting lost in nature is wonderful.
When we help find someone a job, we put food on the table. We validate their strengths and dispel fears and stress that comes from being under/unemployed.
What’s the biggest you believe your company can become?
There’s no limit to how big we can become. Every human on Earth needs a stable job and income. Numbers-wise, let’s get 100K members before we talk about 1 million or more members.
Outside of size, the real way to measure our success is our impact on our members. The mission to change lives through employment greatly resonates with me because of my childhood. When we help find someone a job, we put food on the table. We validate their strengths and dispel fears and stress that comes from being under/unemployed. That impact is astronomical in size. When members message/text/send letters to me about how much we impacted them, it truly makes me happy.
Favorite book? Why?
The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Leguin. Unlike your usual fantasy novel about killing dragons, it talks about fighting shadows inside yourself and ultimately facing your fears.