Gergo Vari’s decades-long journey through founding, funding, and exiting startups taught him that the hiring process is broken—and so is how we search for jobs and develop our careers.
That’s why he created Lensa, a company that offers a technological solution to the crisis of the career marketplace.
A founder by nature, Gergo first tasted entrepreneurship as a child selling fruit from his grandfather’s orchard. From there, he became a serial founder in the startup space with a passion for human-centric recruitment technology.
SanomaMedia acquired his first company, Profession.hu, Hungary’s first online job board and leading recruitment platform, in 2005 for a precedent-setting sum.
As Lensa’s strategic head and a member of the Forbes Technology Council, the Fast Company Executive Board, and the Newsweek Expert Forum, Gergo brings key players from HR and recruitment into the discussion to create products that move the industry forward.
Where did the idea for Lensa come from?
The idea is reflected in the company name. At Lensa, we are providing a “lens” that job seekers can look at jobs and their careers through — one that lets them see the possibilities in a new light. At the same time, this lens gives them a realistic picture of employer-employee fit thanks to our rich data sets on the US job market and job seeker trends.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up early, help get my kids ready for school, and then it’s off at 10 a.m. to train in Japanese sword-fighting. This gives me focus and centers me for my workday afterwards, which is divided between meeting with and helping my teams and doing deep work to chart the future of the company.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I surround myself with smart people and experts who know how to make those ideas happen. Then I trust them to do so and am there to support them along the way.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I think job interviews in the metaverse could be very interesting and improve hiring for some remote roles.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I give myself structured time to think about the future of the business, outside of operations.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be patient and your work will bear fruit.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
AI and machine learning are a good thing for job seekers.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Let myself fail at experiments. Not all experiments can succeed, and if you’re not experimenting, you’re not growing.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I have always believed in investing in culture, creating a special atmosphere in the workplace so that people can relax and be themselves. This starts with onboarding, which lasts a mammoth three months — but at the end, we have teammates who stay with the company for the long term.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I had to learn that selling “sets” of something (i.e. the complete end-to-end experience) rather than the individual parts is far more lucrative. Once I figured this out, I started building much more holistic businesses.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Travelers always need somewhere to stay, and some love getting to know locals. Create an alternative to Airbnb for backpackers and charge a premium for pairing people with the perfect local host for their needs.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I took my family out to dinner. All too often, we forget to make time for the most important people in our lives, and eating out together is a wonderful way to enjoy the everyday in a non-everyday setting.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I love Miro because it helps me visualize data creatively. Indispensable to structuring my thinking.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Snow Crash. It will help you understand the vision behind the metaverse.
What is your favorite quote?
“Try, fail. Try again, fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.