To most, the face isn’t a familiar one, but when you mention the name WhatsApp, nearly 20% of the world’s population will know what you’re talking about – that’s a whopping 1.5 billion people, with 1 billion of those using the mobile messaging application on a daily basis.

The chap in this picture above happens to be the co-founder of such an app, Brian Acton, who hasn’t always had the most success when it comes to interviewing, but perhaps has one of the most legendary job-seeking stories of all time and is a truly iconic final stage candidate.

To find out why means taking a trip back to mid-2009 when Brian, having left his job at Yahoo to go travelling for a year, decided to get back into the field and applied for Software Development roles with both Twitter and Facebook, only to be declined at both.

Although the reasons for his rejections were not made public, one of his Twitter posts read, “Facebook turned me down, it was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life’s next adventure.”

After struggling to find work with another big name company, he teamed up with close friend and previous Yahoo employee Jan Koum to give start-up life a chance and that ‘next adventure’ happened to be cloud-based messaging service WhatsApp, which quickly became one of the most used mobile applications on the planet.

Now such success doesn’t go unnoticed, and a few years after starting the company, Facebook were back in conversations with Brian, but this time, it was to make an offer for the company he had helped build – how the tables had turned.

In late 2014, Facebook confirmed that they had acquired WhatsApp for a mind-boggling $19 billion (more than the GDP of Iceland at the time), with Brian estimated to have netted a cool $3.8 billion and a reminder to job-seekers everywhere as to the importance of resilience in the job-seeking process.

Although Brian and Facebook have recently parted ways, this epic tale is sure to be remembered for years to come and is a great reminder that millions of quality candidates like Brian are declined at the final stages of an assessment process, not because they’re bad candidates, but because they’re not quite right for the company at the time.

Given the sheer number of applicants that can be applying for roles, this is to be expected, but the question that led to the creation of the Final Stage platform was, “What are companies doing with such talent?”.

After posing this question to numerous market leaders in the HR space, the short answer was nothing, something that we saw as a huge area of wastage from recruitment teams and something that we here at Final Stage are looking to change to help benefit both candidates and employers.


If you want to talk with a member of the team about the benefits that Final Stage can bring to your recruitment process, drop us a note to

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