Ram Steps up to the Plate for CSU

Interviewing is a brand-new ball game, thanks to Theo Rokos (’97)

By Becky Jensen (’93)

Theo Rokos sat wedged in a cramped airline seat on another cross-country flight. The week-long recruiting trip had been a total time suck, and it wasn’t over yet. For the most part, he could tell ten minutes into a face-to-face interview if a candidate was a good fit. Was he really flying back and forth across America for a series of ten-minute decisions? It didn’t make sense. The cost – in wasted time, energy and money – nagged at Rokos. There had to be a better way to recruit.

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Theo Rokos (’97)

Rokos grew up playing football, basketball, and baseball in southern California. Although he had other offers, he decided to play baseball at Colorado State. But CSU threw Rokos a curve ball when they dropped the collegiate Division I baseball program shortly after he arrived.

Rokos could have transferred to another school, but he loved CSU and decided to stay and play for the Rams’ club baseball team. Rokos admits he wasn’t a model student. “I read a lot, just not what my professors told me to read.” After earning his liberal arts degree, Rokos launched his career building sales teams for Fortune 500 companies. He felt like a drone doing mindless work.

“You’re sitting in a meeting to determine when you’re going to have the next meeting, and it’s presented with a 65-page PowerPoint deck,” he says shaking his head. Adding insult to injury, Rokos was working within the constraints of an inefficient recruiting system that had him flying a staggering 150,000 airline miles every year. He’s not bitter, but he considers the decade spent recruiting for corporate America as prison time that he’ll never get back.

Rokos made a break before the job broke him. “Entrepreneurs have to have a little bit of an authority problem, right?” He joined his brother, recruiting industry veteran Greg Rokos, to form GreenJobInterview in 2007.

GreenJobInterview provides live- and recorded-video solutions that reduce the time and costs associated with scheduling and conducting interviews. Rokos says a big focus is on superior customer service, so they hire the best people to provide top-notch technical support.

Virtual interviews allow organizations to reach a global talent pool, and less travel reduces their environmental impact. The flexible interview option is proving extremely popular with employers and job seekers alike.

More than 300 of the world’s leading organizations, including PepsiCo, Mayo Clinic, Walmart, and UCLA, use GreenJobInterview and saved a combined $26 million in travel, time, and efficiency in 2014.

As luck would have it, Alexis Kanda-Olmstead of CSU’s division of University Advancement and Development went to UCLA for a talent management site visit. Her UCLA counterparts raved about GreenJobInterview, so she filled out a generic online form to request more information.

Kanda-Olmstead was more than a little surprised to hear back from the CEO, and thrilled to learn he graduated from CSU.

“It’s fun when you accidentally come across an alumnus doing really great things, and then you hear how much CSU still means to them,” she says with a smile.

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Theo Rokos and his family outside Moby Arena

Both recognized the strong green (and gold) alignment between the two organizations.

Rokos was excited to reconnect with CSU and wanted to do more for his alma mater, so he donated a GreenJobInterview product trial to CSU. Kanda-Olmstead gladly agreed to pilot the interviewing platform in University Advancement for six months. She plans to measure the amount of time, energy, and money it saves her division, gauge the product’s effectiveness, and share that information across the University, as well as with Rokos.

Kanda-Olmstead is happy to replace clunky conference calls with GreenJobInterview’s recorded (one-way) and live (two-way) video interviews.

“This is how people are interviewing,” she says. “This is the future. It’s convenient and saves time.”

“Candidates and hiring managers typically don’t like conference calls,” she adds. “If you consider that 70 to 75 percent of communication is nonverbal, we were missing a lot of visual cues during phone interviews.”

Kanda-Olmstead feels that GreenJobInterview is a great opportunity for CSU to save big as it does the right thing for the planet. She’s confident it could annually save the University tens of thousands of dollars in recruiting costs and lighten CSU’s carbon footprint to boot. If all goes well with the pilot, she’s hoping CSU will give GreenJobInterview the permanent green light across campus.

“This has been a wonderful partnership between a successful alumnus and CSU. His ability to give back through intellectual property is helping CSU trail blaze in sustainable recruiting and hiring practices.”

As for Rokos, he might have missed the opportunity to play Division I baseball at CSU, but he stepped up to the plate with his donation, and he sure hit a home run with GreenJobInterview.