Israeli startup WalkMe tests candidates’ writing skills by how they talk to their mothers
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Credit: Shutterstock

In honor of mothers’ day, here is a story of how one mother inspired a startup and how the startup uses that inspiration for its hiring decisions

Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

Moms deserve a lot of credit all year round for doing the world’s toughest job. Not only did they change our diapers and deal with our teenage rebellion, but they also inspire us everyday and for that they deserve a big thank you.

One Israeli startup, WalkMe, has decided to honor its co-founder’s mother by asking potential employees to submit writing samples in the form of a letter to their mothers explaining the company and their potential job. The idea came about as a way to check potential hirees’ writing skills and their understanding of the company. Of course, how people treat their mothers is also a good indication of character.

WalkMe, which just last month received $11 million in funding, all started because co-founder  Eyal Cohen’s mother constantly nagged him to show her how to do things online. (What good is a son in high tech if he can’t show you how to log in to a bank account? Or access Google?)

Of course, it wasn’t nagging to Cohen, who wanted to help his mother, but like any good innovator, decided that it was better to teach his mom how to fish (adage-ly speaking), instead of just helping her out every time she needed something.

Cohen and his co-founders Dan Adika and Rafi Sweary then created WalkMe, an online guide platform that works sort of like a GPS to guide users through online tasks. Through a series of interactive tip balloons overlaid on the screen, tasks can be broken down into short step-by-step guided instructions. Today, the company boasts some big customers, including Adobe, Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Citrix, Stanley Black & Decker, U.S. Foods, Bank of Montreal and Kimberly Clark.

All thanks to one mom asking her son for some help online.

In honor of Cohen’s mom, and mothers around the world, here are a few letters from WalkMe job candidates, explaining the platform and what they could be doing for it.

Happy Mothers’ Day!

“Hi Mom,

Sorry about downloading all my new music on your iTunes account.

Don’t worry, I’ll pay you back soon.

I had a really good interview with a company called WalkMe today. Hopefully, they’ll hire me and I’ll be able to afford legally downloaded music. Walkme is a startup hi-­‐tech company in Tel Aviv. The brilliant men and women working there, created a product that makes using difficult computer programs and confusing websites easier.

This is how it works: When your having difficulty with a website, you can click the WalkMe button. A series of bubbles will pop up on the screen to help explain what to do and where to click. It’s interactive so it will anticipate where you need to go-­‐ it will change according to your needs. Imagine someone holding your hand and taking you on a pleasant “Walk-­‐Thru” the website to help you quickly and easily complete your online tasks. It’s sort of like having a personal tour guide to tell you where to go and what to avoid in the winding alleys of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Remember when you said the best birthday present you ever received was a Blutooth headset because you had such terrible neck pains from holding the phone between your neck and shoulder while on hold with AirCanada?

Well, WalkMe provides many of the answers you would normal seek from a customer service helpline. Instead of talking to someone in India reading from a script, you can avoid confusion the first time around. If you get lost, WalkMe will guide you back on track. Now that you understand how WalkMe works, wouldn’t it be a great addition to your business’s website? Prospective clients will get all the information they need and can then be guided to fill in fields so that Laura can get in touch with them.

Cool, eh? Wish me luck!”

 

“Dear Mom,

Hope you’re doing well.

I’m pretty excited myself.

I had a Marketing Director interview tonight with a really cool Tel Aviv-based company called WalkMe. They offer a software for corporate websites that acts like a personal assistant in navigating your way through the site and helping you better achieve your tasks.  Even though the company just launched their product earlier this year, they already have lots of customers, and are looking to hire more team members (they are close to 70 in the office).

To give you an idea of what WalkMe does, think about the frustration or confusion you sometimes feel going through your credit card statements online.   ‘How do I check my balance?’ or ‘How can I make a money transfer from one account to another?’ are questions I’m sure you’ve scratched your head over quite a few times.

What WalkMe essentially does is hold your hand and assist you every step of the way.  It’s built into the website as a widget on the side of the page – no need open up a new browser window, tab or program.  One click of a button, and WalkMe’s simple-to-use software will show you how to open your statement, look specifically for your balance, and indicate where you should go if you want to check ATM transactions. It’s kind of like having a GPS unit give you driving directions, but instead of navigating your car down the parkway, it helps you efficiently complete your website activities.

The company is looking to expand the marketing team, starting with this Marketing Director position. Rafi, WalkMe’s president, explained that the work will be intensive and often challenging, but I really do see that as a positive.  I know that I have a lot to bring to the table in this type of capacity –  I’m creative, a diligent and practiced writer going all the way back to my college days as an English major, and I have a wealth of experience in writing marketing materials in the public relations field.  But, of course, there is more to marketing beyond just the creativity and the writing – namely, effective communications, which I have had a chance to improve upon for many years working now.  And as I mentioned to you recently, what I’m looking for is a job that will enable me to integrate the skills I learned from PR with other marketing activities.

The WalkMe team seems very friendly and interactive (I picked that up after only a few minutes!).  It seems like everyone is young and motivated to really build the company from the ground up – there is an acute feeling of excitement in the air, which I find very attractive.

So we’ll see where it leads, but I came out of the interview on a high. WalkMe seems like it would not only be a great place to work, but an environment in which I could really thrive.

I will keep you updated. In the meantime, keep the rest of those Mah Jong ladies on their toes!

We’ll see you on Shabbat!”

 

“Mom,

I miss you all and cannot wait to come back home for the weekend.

It is been a while since the last time we discussed about the effects of the internet on our everyday life and the necessity of you getting familiar with as much online functions as you can.

I know that it is been hard for you to use the online tools for your advantage but I think that I found a way so you can simplify the online experience and exploit the online tools for your use and without me been around as your personal guide.

Recently I came across the perfect website for this manner. It’s called “walk me” and it will answer your need for a personal guide in most of the software’s that you use.

I know what you thinking and no, it is not a super smart robot that been sent to help you at home, but it is the closest thing that can be. The way it works is similar to watch tutorials on YouTube but much more intuitive and user friendly. All you need to do is follow the instructions one at the time until you learn the function that you needed.

Therefore, I think that “walkme” will meet all of your software instructions needs. At least until the first “Roboguide” will be available at the retail stores.”

Photo credit: Shutterstock, mom and baby in spring time

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Aviva Gat

About Aviva Gat


Olah Chadasha and former finance reporter from New York City. Gat is a writer, runner and traveler who came to Israel for the good food and weather. She writes for Geektime’s English and global desk.

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