During October’s HR Tech Conference, we spoke to David Hurwitz, CMO, about how the SmartRecruiters Talent Acquisition platform works to maximize efficiency in the recruiting process. SmartRecruiters is built around three core components: recruitment marketing, collaboration, and management. With an emphasis on deep, bidirectional integrations to major HRIS systems, SmartRecruiters has helped clients triple their recruiting productivity along with building collaboration across a company’s recruiting infrastructure.
Introduction to SmartRecruiters Talent Acquisition
What is the SmartRecruiters vision around recruitment and hiring?
Our vision is set by Jerome Ternynck, our founder and CEO, who is a longtime veteran of the recruiting industry. He founded a very successful recruitment agency in Europe in the ‘90s before becoming a software entrepreneur.
Jerome came to realize that talent acquisition is about so much more than just applicant tracking. ATS is more about compliance and internal “check-the-box” than about finding, sourcing, marketing to, and recruiting the best candidates. Additionally, it did not stimulate the collaboration between hiring managers and recruiters.
ATS systems needed to be supplanted by a new generation of technology that would support the holistic, full-lifecycle approach to talent acquisition. He founded SmartRecruiters in 2010 as a next-generation talent acquisition platform that includes ATS functionality at its core.
SmartRecruiters Key Value Proposition
What are the core components of SmartRecruiters beyond ATS?
We think of it in three pieces:
1. Recruitment marketing, including outbound marketing and sourcing, and also getting the talent brand out there to draw inbound candidates.
2. Collaboration, so that members of hiring teams and recruiters can collaborate widely and easily inside the company and across departments.
3. Managing the entire talent acquisition operation so that users are integrated with internal systems like HRIS along with all the external service providers like assessment vendors, background checks, job boards, LinkedIn Recruiter, and so on. This also involves integrating analytics into the entire TA lifecycle, with insights such as time to hire, time to fill, cost per hire, and quality of hire.
What are some of the pain points that SmartRecruiters is built to address?
In order to acquire great talent efficiently, you have to hit on all three metrics around hiring success: speed, quality, and cost. Every company wants to get better candidates faster and spend less money doing it.
Inbound flow of qualified candidates
Let’s start with the first one: getting a better flow of qualified candidates. We have client after client report that they see the impact from the moment they turn on SmartRecruiters. Users can post to countless job boards, enjoy deep integrations with LinkedIn, and build a more attractive career site. We routinely see that the inbound flow of qualified candidates triples for our clients.
One of our customers, Ask.com, instantly tripled its flow of qualified candidates upon going live. They were able to hire a VP of Software Engineering and a Chief Architect, two senior level software positions, off of inbound leads. Typically you would use a recruiter for those types of position. We’re not saying it’s going to happen all the time, but it’s an example.
Additionally, SmartRecruiters has outstanding sourcing capabilities, including the deepest integration of LinkedIn Recruiter and Referrals. Whether clients are looking for outbound sourcing or marketing for inbound flow, we can help them vastly boost the flow of qualified candidates.
Collaboration among hiring managers
The second opportunity is the ability to engage hiring managers and hiring teams in a way that is incredibly easy for them. Historically, a lot of hiring goes on off-system, and the only people who are pained to go into the ATS are the recruiters. SmartRecruiters is very easy for hiring managers to use; it can be used on their phone, like when they’re in line at Starbucks or checking in at the airport, and people really respond to that.
I was interviewing Claudia Leyva, the director of recruiting at Marc Jacobs, and she said that they have hiring managers—both in the corporate office as well as boutiques around the country—who love using SmartRecruiters. They don’t even use email.
This becomes a force multiplier for recruiting; companies don’t have to chase after hiring managers, wondering if data was entered or the spreadsheet was entered. Now, our platform eliminates the need for workarounds like spreadsheets because it’s the easiest way to stay in the flow with what’s going on with an expanded pool of qualified candidates.
Integration with HRIS and other systems
Another pain point we solve is integration with HRIS. SmartRecruiters is a modern, open platform with open, restful APIs and templatized integrations with all the leading HRIS’s, such as Workday, Oracle, SuccessFactors, and Ultimate Software. We routinely build out deep, bi-directional integrations with major HRIS platforms within days. Jobs are approved in HRIS as an open position and then flow immediately into SmartRecruiters to handle both the external and internal recruiting process. At the conclusion of the process, users can push the accepted offer and hire back into the HRIS.
Externally, it turns out that most TA functions use anywhere from five to over 100 third-party online providers. SmartRecruiters TA platform includes a marketplace, which is built to take advantage of and utilize these third-party services such as job boards, LinkedIn Recruiter and Referrals, and any host of other third-party services. Users can kick off an assessment or background or reference check at the click of a button, managing the spend all in one place, helping users capture their cost per hire.
The Importance of Integrations in a Talent Economy
What is the advantage of using SmartRecruiters as opposed to using the recruiting capabilities in an existing HRIS?
We’re living in what we call the “talent economy” right now. We have customers in many industries, but we also tend to have a lot of customers in technology, where they are recruiting software engineers, UX designers, and architects and so forth, positions that are very difficult to fill but are absolutely critical to the success of a company.
For companies of any size or space, talent acquisition is a strategic process. There is nothing more important than getting top talent into a company and doing it as quickly as possible. To do that right, you need a dedicated TA platform, and we have shown our value by tripling recruiter productivity, tripling the flow of qualified candidates, and cutting the overall cost of hiring.
The current decision for many people is to just use the present recruiting module within their HRIS because of integration, but we have solved the integration issue at SmartRecruiters. We do it faster and better than HRIS vendors can do it themselves, which is sometimes a difficult notion for HR IT people to accept.
What specifically goes into the integration?
All the functionality in SmartRecruiters is exposed in our restful APIs, which are located in our “Live Docs.” which anyone can go try out without committing any code. Our APIs can be used for a wide variety of integrations, not just HRIS. Specifically for HRIS, we have developed a method and adapters that work with all the leading HRIS vendors that can be set up in hours or days.
Talent Management Buyers, Customers, and Product Evaluation
How many customers do you have, and who is your typical buyer?
We have 500 customers, ranging from small to large, including IBM, Atlassian, and Equinox Fitness. All of the medium and large customers have integrated. The people who typically make the decision to purchase our platform are typically the heads of talent acquisition, who usually reports to the CHRO. Another important player is HR IT, especially in medium and large accounts. Their concern is a strategic commitment to their existing HRIS provider, and they want to make sure that anything else involved in that stack will integrate easily and effectively.
Our customer base is diverse. It includes tech companies, financial companies, transportation and logistics, retail, etc. We’re in every industry where talent acquisition is important. We start off very small. People can do a single user on our personal plan for free. The team edition is for small and mid-sized businesses, and the corporate edition includes integration to HRIS, among other things.
What questions are people asking when they’re evaluating SmartRecruiters?
We find that people want to know how to be more productive and get out of the drag of being administrators and chasing after people. People want to find out how to boost their qualified candidate flow, how quickly they can get started, and how they can engage their hiring managers and teams in a way that is positive and collaborative. We have streamlined the process, eliminating copy-pasting into all of the different job boards or to and from LinkedIn and HRIS systems. Our users are going to get a tripling of their recruiter productivity along with a much healthier collaboration with the hiring managers.
What are the key trends for recruitment platforms in 2016?
Mobile and collaboration. You’ve got to make it easy for people to use their phones, both candidates and hiring teams. Candidates need to be able to do one-click apply on their phone, and to see where they stand. You also have to make it easy for hiring teams to see their inbound candidate flow and who they’re interviewing that day, for example.
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