For the average Yale student, the spring semester marks the height of the job search. This process includes interviews for professional schools, internships and postgraduation positions. Interviews with 10 Yale students indicates that, in addition to using Yale Office of Career Strategy’s practice interview service, several students prepare for interviews with each other. But according to a few Yale startup founders, this informal practice interviewing is not the most efficient or useful method of preparation.
Rohan Misra ’16 and Reeva Misra GRD ’17, a sibling startup team, are proposing a service that matches interviewers with interviewees to more easily facilitate effective practice interviewing. They describe the interview as “one of the most important parts of the career hunt” and have proposed a solution to the current ineffective practice styles: Career Catcher. Their service, housed at careercatcher.net and set to launch Friday, is an interactive website that allows students to connect with advisors in their specific fields of interest.
Sachi Singh FES ’17, a beta-tester for the site, described the interface as “really clean, intuitive and user-friendly.” Singh has tested the site from the “interviewer” end, and believes that the service will not replace traditional college interview practices like the services provided by OCS, but instead could “supplement and complement existing University services.”
Offering an undergraduate user perspective, Xindi Chen ’19 expressed hesitation toward using the service.
“It might be useful as you get older -— but as of right now, for a freshman, I feel like it’s just a little bit far off for me to use,” Chen said.
Amrutha Dorai ’18 said she was skeptical about who would actually use the website, adding that “professionals with real jobs are probably not going to have the time to give away free advice and interviews.”
When asked if she would use this service as a paying customer, Dorai remarked, “I’m probably not going to pay for that.”
The platform is not officially live worldwide, as the team plans on launching the service to one university at a time. This is, in fact, one of Career Catcher’s hallmarks -— it only connects users within a single university’s ecosystem, Reeva Misra said. As of now, only those with a Yale email address can access the service. Rohan Misra said it is more likely that two people with shared interests and with a school in common will be receptive to giving and receiving career-specific help. The program has a two-way flow: “interviewees” can make use of the “interviewers’’’ advice, and “interviewers” can use the marketplace to continue the culture of giving back, which Reeva said certainly exists at Yale.
Unlike established interview prep services available, such as Pramp or Big Interview, Career Catcher operates on an open marketplace model, Reeva Misra said. To the founders, this means removing all possible constraints. The site does not police the type of contact between interviewer and interviewee — the founders actively encourage users to utilize the site for “off-label” uses like mentoring and networking, they said. The service is not limited to any one industry or profession. They offer connections in everything from entertainment to health care. There is also no fixed pricing, and interviewers and advisers can charge whatever they would like. Reeva Misra said that based off of the beta-testing stage, over 65 percent of interviewers have given their time and expertise for free.
Puneet Singh, a YEI venture creation advisor noted that the startup’s idea showed potential, but he added that a startup’s success does not always hinge on an idea’s merit.
“An identifier [of a startup’s tenacity and success] is less about the idea and more about the founders’ attitude towards the idea,” he said.