Jake Villarreal – Co-Founder and President of Match Relevant

[quote style=”boxed”]When I have “big wins” in business or life, I schedule time on my calendar to focus on humility and how I can serve others.[/quote]

Jake Villarreal is the co-founder and president of Match Relevant, an IT-staffing entity that utilizes social media and innovative recruiting practices to deliver award-winning talent for funded tech startups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 organizations.

Match Relevant originated in Silicon Valley and was founded to help companies find tech talent quickly and efficiently. The Match Relevant team is a group of successful, entrepreneurial-minded leaders who realized that their ability to build technology solutions was good and their social networking skills were even better. By building a social talent platform that helps boost delivery speed, Match Relevant’s clients gain a competitive edge in recruiting the best tech talent.

Previously, Jake worked for Oracle Corporation and built one of California’s fastest-growing technical staffing companies, which was acquired in 2008.

Where did the idea for Match Relevant come from?

I was raised in Silicon Valley, the pulse of global innovation and technology. After working in technology and building a services company, I felt like we could create a better hiring experience for startups and mid-sized companies. So we came up with the idea of utilizing technology for “people search” while combining it with the experience you’re left with when receiving great technical/customer support. That’s how Match Relevant was hatched.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

My day starts with a physical workout. I believe getting the blood flowing early jump-starts the energy for the day. Then I review the calendar for the week to prioritize our client meetings. We interview clients and prospective candidates throughout the day, so it’s imperative that the schedule remains fluid, yet committed. We use online systems to track our candidate and client pipeline to ensure we’re continually moving things forward.

How do you bring ideas to life?

We have an open culture when it comes to ideas. During our weekly meetings, we explore what’s working and what can be done differently. When someone suggests a new idea, we think about what value it brings and what problem it solves. From there, we choose the best idea and create a plan to track and measure its success.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I think the convergence of services and mobile is disrupting most industries. In our business, it’s about getting information first, connecting with people, and filling gaps in client companies. I feel like mobile will allow people to find jobs faster, allow companies to hire faster, and help recruitment firms perform better.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I like to see the activities I want to accomplish before the week starts. I took ideas from Franklin Covey (daily planning) and David Allen’s award-winning book “Getting Things Done” to create a Weekly Compass. This one-page document outlines everything that needs to get done for the week. However, the secret to making it effective is the habit of completing this one-page Weekly Compass on Sunday before the week starts.

What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?

My family is in real estate, and my role was to pound the pavement and drop off flyers to houses in certain sections of town. I would walk for hours, solicit unwanted sellers, leave fliers on doorsteps that often got thrown away, and never knew whether my work was adding to the success of any real-estate transactions. Because I didn’t understand the complete process of my role, I didn’t know the value of my position. Later, I learned that starting a company or any new initiative takes hard work, consistency, and the ability to handle failure or rejection. An unwanted role or tough work often builds character and confidence and helps you learn to overcome objections and persevere despite rejection.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would spend more time becoming great at organizing and planning. I think these are the cornerstones of any great organization if you go back in history and look at success.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Organize and plan. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get distracted by new initiatives and move in many different directions, but I think it’s important to redirect yourself and others to stay focused on where the revenue is coming from and support those priorities to build your company base.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Our business is about relationship building and connecting with founders of companies. The earlier we can build relationships with innovators, the better positioned we’ll be to help support their growth as they expand. That’s why we spend time with the incubator community that develops technology ideas and leaders. There, we can gain insight into technological trends and introduce the candidates who are in demand.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

In my first company, we didn’t make decisions based on fiscal responsibility for growth. We simply hired for growth without knowing how long it would take to acquire clients and generate revenue. Essentially, we were way too aggressive without the funding to support our potential growth. To overcome the near-collapse of our company, we put financial governors in place that allowed us to grow when the funding was available.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

There’s a lot of value in protecting companies’ investments in people. As a service that matches talent with technology companies, there’s a lot of turnover and less candidate loyalty than in the early 2000s. Unless there’s extreme growth and success at a company, the employee loyalty factor is quite low. Even the best companies, including Google (12-month retention) and Amazon (13-month retention), have low employee loyalty ). It would be valuable to offer tech companies an insurance policy to protect them in the event that a hired candidate leaves within the first 24 months.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

When I have “big wins” in business or life, I schedule time on my calendar to focus on humility and how I can serve others.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

We use a number of online systems for candidate search (including our own) to help growing companies hire quickly. We use CATs for managing our candidate pipeline and clients.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl. It helps me get through the dark times as an entrepreneur when I seek answers but don’t receive them. It will put life in perspective and help you remember what’s important as you prioritize your life during the time-consuming days of building a business. I also like to give this away to clients and friends who have long journeys ahead of them.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Richard Branson because of his constant innovation, risk-taking, and pursuit of a balanced life.


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