When tech veteran Hernan Giraldo couldn't find a dot com job following the dot com bust, he created a video resume with great results. Though that turned into a full-time position, a seed was planted about how effective the use of visual communication is in the hiring process. And that in turn has now given birth to his new company, iTOi.
iTOi is a standalone iPad accessory that enables you to maintain direct eye contact while using Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangouts video calls. The device also enhances what you say and what you hear, and with the free iTOi producer app, turns the iPad video booth into a desktop "studio," complete with teleprompter.
"When I was doing research during my own hiring process I learned that 55% of all human communication is through eye-to-eye contact," the iTOi founder told me during our own video chat from his office in Dallas. "The main thing I hear from hiring managers is how they would rather see a 30-second video of someone telling them a few things about themselves than they would read a two-page resume. I thought if I could give more people the tools to do this, make it simple, and make it affordable, there would be a market for this."
The HR pros and hiring managers Giraldo spoke with said even though they like the idea of video most candidates don't use it. Many aren't comfortable in front of a "camera" or other crew members necessarily, and they just wouldn't know how to go about producing something that represented them well.
"This is all about DIY," Giraldo says. "You don’t have to have a crew, or have anyone see you. You get to do this in the privacy of your own home at your own speed and pace, without spending a lot of money. And when you use the video chat hardware it just brings an entirely different emotional connection to the conversation when you are looking straight into the eyes of the person on the other end."
The company, which is now debuting its product in Brookstone stores across the country as well as online, put some early units into the hands of both hiring professionals and job candidates who used it for video interviews.
"It provides a hands-free experience so you can focus on your audience and conversation, it minimizes glare on your screen for a more flattering image on both sides, and our technology makes it possible to look directly into the iPad camera while still looking at the images on screen. If a hiring company uses this in the vetting process, and it saves them even a single airline ticket, it more than pays for itself," continued Giraldo.
The South American native who came to this country on a college tennis scholarship doesn't get to see his parents or other family members in person very often. But he "sees" them regularly in video calls.
"When we are able to speak to someone and look them right in the eye, it is an incredibly human and emotional thing," he explains. "So there is a higher purpose for our company I feel, helping people connect with loved ones and helping connect people to the right job. It's awesome that we have the potential
to enhance people’s lives through better communication. Like we say around here, if you can't be face-to-face, now you can at least be eye-to-eye."