Her wide circle of friends and acquaintances call her a hustler. Deep down in her heart, she wants to be known as an alchemist. What can she say? The ability to transform a valueless entity into something irreplaceable has held Candice Aw spellbound since she was a child.

Before discovering her true love for the tech industry, Candice had a brief affair with a handful of broad-ranging career paths in banking, entertainment, and hospitality. Working in these well established and diversified companies proved to be a shrewd move. Her past roles as a sales trader and treasury specialist were a propitious stepping stone to her next adventure at Venn.

Venn is a career discovery startup that matches talents with companies. It gets rid of the traditional “Upload your resume” approach, and uses artificial intelligence to help talents find their dream jobs.

“It’s like OKCupid, but for jobs,” reads its tagline.

In a mere 2-minute quiz, talents will be able to nail down their ideal job based on these four factors: personality, strengths, ideal work culture, and passions. Currently, Venn has job openings in companies with the likes of Twitter, Hubspot, and AirBnB.

Venn is known for its unexpected job hiring approaches. Last year, the startup masterminded an event called Pitch Perfect where talents were tasked to pitch themselves to a judging panel on why they should hire them. There were no resumes and interviews – and it was a minty breath of fresh air.

Growing up, Candice relished in reading the Choose Your Own Adventure gamebook series. The freedom to decide the protagonist’s actions and resolution of the story rubbed off on her so much that it spurred her to live a Ralph Waldo Emerson-esque life – in not just the length, but the depth of it all.

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Source: Venn, Joel Tay

Now that you’ve read about Venn, ever wondered what it’s like to be the founder who started it all? You’re in the right place. YP spoke to Candice Aw, an alchemist-slash-entrepreneur who has her eyes on shaping the future for the Singaporean job seeker:

I took a peek at your LinkedIn profile and it’s clear your experience came in handy while running your business. If you could time travel back to day one of Venn and have only 10 seconds to impart any lesson, encouragement, or warning with your past self – what would you say?

"Trust and follow your gut. Stop worrying and just do it!"

Venn’s Pitch Perfect was a mega success. It looks like more companies are shifting to unconventional approaches to look for new hires. If you could change one thing about the hiring process in Singapore, what would it be?

"[I’d] make it more interactive and engaging, [like] allowing both parties to get to know each other beyond the CV, and hire for fit and train for skill. Cultural fit cannot be ascertained using a CV.  "

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Source: Venn, Joel Tay

You gave a lot of wonderful career advice in your interview with Today – I especially like the bit where you mention about finding a great boss. Splendid! What nugget of wisdom(s) would you share with a fresh graduate who wants to work in tech?

"Find a company or problem you’re passionate about. At Venn, the question we ask the most is “Why?”

“Why do you want to work for us?”

Also, find out what you want to do! Don't apply to work in operations just to get into the company when what you really want is to work in marketing.

Be honest and authentic. Don't behave or answer the way you think you want the hiring manager to perceive you. It’s a no-win situation for both parties."

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Source: Venn, Joel Tay

Reading countless of success stories has taught us one thing – there is no fixed formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Out of curiosity, what is the one thing you find to be true that most people would disagree with?

"I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer that, but you’re right, there is no fixed formula.

The most important traits are a sense of curiosity, grit, and perseverance. Everyone will disagree with something that you do. To be an entrepreneur, you need to have thick skin and trust your own gut.

And one more thing, validate! Always speak to your users and customers, and stay in touch with them."

What have been your most satisfying moments in Venn?

"Constantly figuring out how to do better, creating something out of nothing, and having people tell me it helped them.

What can we expect from Venn in the future? Will you be organising another round of Pitch Perfect?

We’re changing the way companies hire and how people get hired.

We’ll be providing a more interactive and personalised platform for people to showcase their stories  – which includes personality, values, interests, etc  – beyond a one-dimensional resume in order to get matched to a role and company that suits them.

We have had several requests for another round of Pitch Perfect and we would love to do another one soon! We're planning it. We'll definitely keep everyone posted."

Things are looking up for you. Give the career quiz on Venn a go and tell us the dream job(s) you got!