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Business Observer Friday, May 4, 2018 4 months ago

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A Tampa startup applied the matchmaking capabilities of dating apps to the job-search process.
by: Brian Hartz Tampa Bay Editor

Zachary Senz-Kamler didn’t start a new job-search app and website because of frustration over the job application process.

He did it because he wants to put his mom and dad out of business.

Senz-Kamler, 23, grew up in Boca Raton and worked for his parents’ staffing agency — he describes it as “old school, very time-intensive and expensive” — for 12 years before coming to Tampa, where he majored in entrepreneurship at the University of South Forida and got the idea for Monikl. The company uses the match-making features of a dating app, like eHarmony or Match.com, to help job seekers and employers connect while quickly and efficiently figuring out if a particular job is a good fit.

Mark Wemple. Ken Pomella, left, and Zachary Senz-Kamler are the brains behind Monikl, a new job-search app.

“It takes about 15 minutes to sign up, and it’s a one time thing,” says Senz-Kamler, Monikl’s CEO. “You set up a profile, put in some of your skills, and once you get past that part, our matching system kicks in. And that matches you to employers based on your skills, personality and workplace preferences, as well as your location and salary.”

Monikl’s co-founder and chief technology officer, Ken Pomella, describes the platform as “taking the full-time job out of finding a job.”

Senz-Kamler elaborates: “As a job applicant, you have to send out hundreds of applications, and you may only hear back from 10 to 20% of them. At the end of the day those might be rejection letters. You may get a 1 to 2% conversion rate when you actually go in for an interview.”

Monikl helps boost that conversion rate by matching job seekers and employers on secondary criteria such as personality and cultural fit — soft skills that often go undetected. Senz-Kamler tells the story of a Monikl client who found a top-notch employee who “wouldn’t have been someone that they even looked at on a job board. They said, ‘This is a person that through a keyword search, we would never have noticed.’”

"If you go to a job board you have tons of volume without much quality. You’re basically looking for a needle in a haystack because you get flooded with resumes.” Zachary Senz-Kamler, CEO of Monikl

Senz-Kamler says Monikl’s emphasis on cultural fit also improves employee retention, which in turn helps employers save time and money. “If you’ve got a good job that’s paying you well, the only reason you’re gonna leave is because you don’t fit in with the culture,” he says.

Monikl added 15,000 users since launching a year ago and has raised $85,000 from investors, based on a valuation of $2 million. The company is headquartered at the Tampa Bay Wave business accelerator, where it has 10 employees, including three full-time salespeople.

The company makes money by charging companies a flat 7.5% fee based on the first-year salary of the hired worker — far less than the 18%-33% traditional staffing agencies, like the one his parents run, typically charge for placements.

The majority of Monikl users are job seekers in the Tampa area, but Senz-Kamler and Pomella are courting more companies to sign up, and they’re looking to expand to a second city — Orlando, Miami or Austin, Texas — as they push for an additional $50,000 in funding.

While the goal for clients is to help them land talent, the goal for Senz-Kamler is job-search industry disruption. It’s a “$147 billion market full of middlemen on top of middlemen,” he says. “What Monikil does is it basically solves the inefficiencies of the market while also creating a much more friendly place.”

(This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Zachary Senz-Kamler's name.)

 

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