5 minutes with Vpply CEO Tom Lipczynski

4 September 2023
How tech can help you stand out from the rest
Tom Lipczynski (B Sc '04) is the founder and CEO of the globally recognised video interview platform, Vpply. Here he shares some advice on how jobseekers can stand out from the crowd by using innovation and leveraging technology.

Born in Poland, Tom moved to Australia at age nine without knowing any English. He spent his younger years in the Southern Highlands before moving to Sydney to study Science at the University of Sydney. He went on to work in diverse fields such as teaching business English in Japan, financial publishing in London, and stockbroking in Sydney.

In 2014 Tom joined a Fairfax-backed job search engine, Adzuna. He fell in love with the startup world and tech industry and later joined Indeed in its early stages in the Australian market. Seeking a new challenge, in 2020 Tom founded Vpply, a web application that allows candidates to apply for jobs with a video profile. The concept of the technology came from addressing the lack of human connection in the first stage of the hiring process.

How did your university education prepare you for the challenges and opportunities you encountered as a Co-Founder and CEO of a tech startup?

Although I studied a Bachelor of Science, the education and experience I developed over the years at the University of Sydney provided a foundation to prepare me for the challenges and opportunities associated with a tech startup. Undeniably, I came across multiple challenges within the three years of launching Vpply, including uncertainty, limited resources, high risk and competition.

Particularly, it was the leadership experiences and teamwork in university projects that honed my ability to manage and inspire diverse teams. While practical experience is irreplaceable, my university experience and education laid the groundwork for my career, helping enhance my adaptability, desire to innovate and understanding on how to manage teams - all pertinent assets to prepare for the challenges and opportunities of a tech startup.

What have been some of the most rewarding aspects of being a Co-Founder and CEO?

There are countless rewarding aspects of being a co-founder and CEO. One of the most rewarding aspects would be witnessing the launch of our own innovative product and seeing the team’s collective efforts come to fruition. Vpply has listed over 200,000 jobs since launch and helped various jobseekers land amazing jobs across various industries.

Witnessing the positive outcomes of helping employers by shortening the recruitment process and finding suitable candidates, and helping job seekers find and land jobs has been incredible. This year alone Vpply was featured on Channel 9 News and also received a diversity focused award from the NSW Government which was a very special achievement.

How can job seekers effectively leverage social media platforms and technology in their job search?

It is critical for job seekers to leverage social media and technology for a successful job search in today’s competitive job market. Job seekers can create a strong online presence by optimising their LinkedIn profile to highlight their skills and experiences, and connect with industry professionals. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook can be used to research and learn more about companies, as well as understanding whether you would be a great fit for them.

The online environment enables engagement in industry discussions and participation in virtual events, which can facilitate networking and allow you to demonstrate your expertise. Most importantly, job seekers should be proactive in their search by exploring job boards and setting up alerts for relevant positions as well as creating ‘searchable profiles’ for top employers. By effectively using these digital tools, job seekers can amplify their job search and stand out in the crowded job market. 

What advice would you give to jobseekers who want to make an impactful first impression through video applications?

To make a lasting impression with video applications, jobseekers should first prepare by conducting research on the company and the position to show genuine interest. We recommend job seekers to get creative with their videos and show their personalities, but still maintain high quality applications. This includes good lighting, clear audio, clutter-free backgrounds, and dressing professionally. Although videos allow for greater creativity and range in applications, it is important for job seekers to remember that they are a part of a formal application process. 

Presenting clearly and confidently, maintaining eye contact, and keeping videos at a considerable length - recommended 60 to 90 seconds - are essential tips to filming a great application. Imperfections of an individual are really what we are looking for to establish a human connection. Dropping an interesting fact or a hobby is always a good idea also.

Looking ahead, what are some goals or aspirations for the future of Vpply and the impact you hope to make in the recruitment industry?

Vpply aims to simplify job search for all users, including marginalised and disadvantaged individuals. The problem we are addressing is the difficulty faced by the job seeker coming from oppression, injury or disablement, or those who are, or may be, the target of discrimination or bias. Vpply is looking to support these individuals in enhancing their profiles and assisting them to return to meaningful work, which may not otherwise be achievable in a competitive market. 

Another focus will be around unconscious bias where we will have an ability to hide videos at the first screening as well as distorting the voice and hiding the name.

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