InterviewPenguin.com was founded in April 2011, by recruitment consultant Matej V. (Matej uses an English pen name Matthew Chulaw on the website).
Matej ran a smaller recruitment consultancy called New Generation Recruitment, established back in 2008 in Slovakia. IRBIS, IBM, Orange Employment, Siemens, O’Donnel Griffin belonged to his clients, together with other smaller companies from different parts of the world.
While interviewing job candidates, and consulting corporate managers, Matej realized that most people, from both the ranks of employers and job seekers, were poorly prepared for the interviews.
He decided to start a website, trying to share his expertise, and help job seekers to understand what matters in an interview, and how to get a job. InterviewPenguin.com was founded, and Matej wrote first twenty articles for the website, while continuing to focus mostly on his career in recruitment consulting & interviewing candidates for his clients.
Prison and a change of life
Matej would probably still work in the field of international recruitment, leading interviews and consulting employers, if Iranian security police didn’t arrest him in Tehran on 23rd August 2012, while he was working on one of his recruitment projects in the country.
Iranian authorities accused Matej of spying for the CIA. He spent six months in notorious Evin Prison, facing harsh conditions of solitary confinement and a possibility of a death sentence.
Iranians eventually released him in February 2013, but after what had happened to him in Iran, he could not return to his work anymore. The story of New Generation Recruitment ends, but InterviewPenguin.com project lives on.
Growing in traffic and popularity
During the next twelve months, Matej focused on building InterviewPenguin.com, and he also started more than a dozen other, smaller specialized websites in the field of career advice, either alone, or cooperating with recruiters and interview coaches who specialized in the respective fields (he also started an association called Career Consulting Association, to connect with other experts in the field, share knowledge, and cooperate together while trying to bring great and simple to understand advice to as many job seekers around the world as possible).
He later invited and paid guest authors to write articles for InterviewPenguin.com, to help him with an advice for job seekers in the fields he had no experience with (mostly interview questions and answers for various IT and healthcare specializations). One of the authors, Glen Hughins, has been a major contributor to the website, with over 50 articles in the field of teaching & education administration interviews, which belong to the most popular and shared articles on Interview Penguin.
Experiments, statistics, growth
Matej tried various SEO techniques to improve the position of Interview Penguin in the search results of Google, in 2013 and 2014. The experiments led to both increases and decreases of traffic to the website, until he finally decided to stop doing SEO.
Since then he has been focusing only on building quality content which delivers excellent value to the visitors, and promotes the website in a natural way. The website has been enjoying a relatively steady growth of traffic ever since.
In 2019, 2020, and 2021 the website has undergone a major transformation, with hundreds of new articles being published, and all old content updated to meet the highest standards. Yet our goal has remained the same: To help the job seekers to succeed in their interviews and their career, with a professional yet simple to understand advice. This sets us apart from other players in the field, or at least it is something we aspire to achieve.
Some statistics (see screenshots below, click on the screen to see the full size picture):
- More than 8 million visitors in last 12 months alone.
- The website has welcomed visitors from 240 countries and territories, actually from every single country and territory in the world.
- Various articles on InterviewPenguin.com were shared and linked to countless times, which resulted in receiving traffic from astonishing 3,857 various traffic sources over the years (social networks, bookmarking sites, forums, University websites, blogs, yahoo answers, websites of interview coaches, etc. )
More about Matej & helping the others
Since returning from prison, Matej has always tried to split his time between for-profit and non-profit activities.
He often shares his inspirational story at schools, in prisons, at public gatherings, and basically anywhere they invite him, without asking for any compensations for his efforts.
He has mentored many young entrepreneurs and internet marketers over the last decade, and runs half a dozen smaller non-profit websites & online projects, mostly in the sphere of philosophy, long-distance trekking, and internet marketing. He runs couple of offline non-profit projects as well.
Of course, nothing of this would be possible without InterviewPenguin.com, which earns him enough money to pursue his non-profit ventures, trying to make some positive difference in communities which matter to him. By browsing the website, you help to make all this happen, so thank you again for choosing our website to help you succeed in your upcoming interview!
In his free time Matej enjoys reading & learning new things, and devotes himself to all sorts of sporting activities, especially trail running, mountain biking, cross country skiing and long-distance hiking. He is a minimalist, and tries to keep a low profile in all his social circles. If you want to find out more about his writing career, and perhaps invite him to speak at your venue, you can check his official author website.
You can also consider purchasing University of Solitude (you can find the book on every Amazon marketplace, just search for the name), an authentic account of Matej’s imprisonment in Iran, told in his own words. All money from the sales of this book is donated to Red Cross.
If you want to get in touch with Matej directly, write to matthew[at]interviewpenguin[dot]com . He typically replies to all messages of non-commercial character within 8 hours of receiving them. Thank you!
- Matej’s interview at Smartbrain.io, one of the very few articles that remain online documenting his former career in international recruitment: https://blog.smartbrain.io/software-development-in-slovakia.html
- Report by Slovak Spectator about Matej’s release from prison, talking in brief also about his HR business: https://spectator.sme.sk/c/20046060/is-back-from-iran.html
- Career Consulting Association official website: https://careerconsultingassociation.com/
- An example of one of several small, specialized websites Matej runs for job seekers: https://restaurantinterviewquestions.com
- An example of an online non-profit project Matej runs, a comprehensive website about the longest hiking trail in Slovakia: https://snptrail.com