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Fireside chat with Ninh Tran, CEO&Co-founder of Snapbrillia

Who is Ninh Tran?

Ninh Tran is the CEO and Co-founder of Snapbrillia, a “Hiring Manager’s Best Friend” and an AI hiring platform, that accelerates the quality of hires and DEI by enabling teams to interview better and hire the best people faster. Ninh is also a SourceCon and ERE author and has spoken on various subjects such as “AI & the Future of Recruiting” and “Today’s Inclusive Hiring Technology” at the UC, Berkeley, Stanford, and global conferences. 

What’s the story behind Snapbrillia?

I created Snapbrillia to address the deep-seated challenges of diversity, equity and inclusion hiring. Even after creating Hiretual which has helped almost one million people get hired at Fortune 100 companies including Google, Amazon, Visa, and Nike in 2020, I wanted to impact the world in a more meaningful way. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the HR technology industry which is one that’s dealing with employment and recruiting have been limited to product features offerings. Only a few companies make DEI their focus so I created Snapbrillia to ensure that everyone, regardless of their gender, race, and ethnicity, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, and academic background will have a fair opportunity to at least interview for jobs they can do. A big part of my vision for our company is to make sure that my team reflects the diversity, equity, and inclusion and that is why I recruited Beatrice, Frank, and James, all of whom are engineering leaders who took the unconventional path to become an expert in their field. 

What was the most difficult part of your experience in the early beginnings?

Building a diverse founding team was challenging in the early days of Snapbrillia. It is crucial that our AI and Blockchain SaaS startup with a focus on DEI has founders who come from different walks of life because we are the ones to set our culture and tone for the rest of the company for years to come. Finding technical experts who are ready to start their own companies with a deeply personal passion to address the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in tech was challenging. I needed to get the right person with not only the right skill sets but also first-hand experience of bias in hiring to forgo their cushy tech jobs for starting a new company with a social mission. I had to seek out people who are willing to personally sacrifice to ensure Snapbrillia and its mission was a success no matter what. We are very blessed because we found the people who cared more about impact than cared about money and not just among the co-founders.

The journey to reach product-market fit for diversity, equity, inclusion software product especially in technical hiring is challenging. Without a product-market fit (PMF), you don’t have a real product that people want and need. The added challenge with PMF for DEI hiring software is that most people are not aware of their own biases but they have layers of unconscious bias. This is where data speaks volumes to companies and hiring managers about how they can use our solutions and real-time analytics to help their people be more aware of their unconscious biases to become better interviewers and hire better team members. We plan to make this mission successful with the help of everyone who is in the hiring position to move the needle forward and reach a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce.

What are you most proud of regarding your business?

I am most proud of the diverse and dedicated team that we have created at Snapbrillia. After all, it’s people who come up with solutions, build teams, and execute on plans that bring our company ever so closer to accomplishing our vision. Every company is tested by market competition or economic downturns sooner or later. That’s when the strength of the company lies in the strength of convictions of its core people. Our core teams are made of people from underrepresented groups like female engineers, veterans, professionals of color, differently able engineers, to self-taught engineers without formal degrees who all very naturally came together to form a more diverse and inclusive company that’s on a mission to make a difference for generations to come.

I am also extremely proud of our culture of dreamers and doers who are all determined to help each other and to do the right thing regardless of whether anyone is watching. At Snapbrillia we understand that the best performers are not always people from Ivy League schools since formal education only has a one percent correlation with work performance. Often the hidden best performers that your organization has yet to hire are people who didn’t get the opportunity to gain work experience or folks who are grossly underutilized. At Snapbrillia we have created a streamlined hiring process and an environment where those that took unconventional paths bring the same value to the company as those who took the conventional path through formal education. The culture and passion to achieve our mission extend to the whole team and throughout the company. Our teams truly care about helping each other achieve our vision.

What is your vision for the future of Snapbrillia?

My vision for Snapbrillia is to help accelerate the embrace of a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce and enable everyone to have a fair opportunity to interview. Along the way, I want to make hiring less broken and fairer for all parties including hiring managers, interviewers, and job seekers. My hope is to make a positive and long-lasting impact on the world by enabling people from underrepresented groups to be afforded the same opportunities to acquire a well-paid job. This will enable a world full of opportunities, not just for conventional candidates but for everyone who is willing to put in the work. Similar to how people immigrate to the US to have more opportunities, Snapbrillia will power more opportunities and open more doors for everyone.

What’s your advice for the businesses that are trying to adapt to this economic climate?

To keep up in this economic climate businesses have to move faster. 

To adapt to this economic climate businesses need to keep their word to their employees and their customers. Taking care of your employees means that they will take care of your customers, and happy customers are much more inclined to be repeat clients or recommend your service. Furthermore, great companies have great teams. Companies need to focus on hiring the best people for their business and worry less about where they come from or where they went to school. Learning more about diversity and the ways it can benefit your company and investing time and money into hiring diverse candidates, is the best way to adapt to the economic and social changes as well as the uncertainties of the future. 

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) like Natural Language Processing (NLP), Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN), and Knowledge Graphs (KG);
  • High-Performance Cloud Computing (HPC2) on Google Cloud Platform (GCP), AWS, and Azure;
  • Web 2.0 technologies like MongoDB, Express.js, React.js, Node.js (MERN);
  • Web 3.0 and Blockchain technologies like Rust and Solana;
  • Serverless Cloud Architecture like Amazon Web Services (AWS) Lambda;
  • DevOps Security and Automation technologies like Kubernetes, Microservices, Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD);
  • Remote collaboration tools like Google Apps, Slack, Discord, Git, Jira, ClickUp, Figma, and many others. 

What books do you have on your nightstand?

I am more of an audiobook person but most recently I have been reading my bible, Wild Mind by Dr. Bill Plotkin, and The Power of Vulnerability by Dr. Brene Brown. All of these books have helped me gather great ideas and apply them to my professional and personal life.

Because of the current economic climate our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

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