SmartRecruiters' Idealism Pays Off

Today, SmartRecruiters will announce a $5m Series A. Yesterday, TalentCulture  had a chance to sit down with Jerome Ternynck, founder and CEO of the Bay Area company, and talk about what this means for his team, the product and the industry moving forward.

First up, the details about the round. Started in October, the “pretty competitive” round came to a head in December with by Mayfield, a top-tier Silicon Valley VC.

“It’s a good environment for startups,” said Ternynck calmly. But, the entrepreneur explained, he thinks it’s a little more than that:

“Free as a monetization model. This is something we are seeing. Free could well be the next generation of software,” he said, echoing a trend that many analysts have been predicting since “freemium” came into play. However, Ternynck takes it a step further:

“From subscription to freemium, free is the logical next step if you can find the right business model. The way we play it is almost a platform play,” opined Ternynck. “Some clients have called us almost an iTunes for recruiting.”

It makes sense if you look at the ambitious product roadmap in place for SmartRecruiters. Essentially it’s free software to manage recruiting tools, no matter how far you look, or how deep you dig there really is no cost to the user to use SmartRecruiters. If you apply the iTunes analogy, it really doesn’t need an attached cost. SmartRecruiters is a platform through which you buy recruiting services and Ternynck is hell-bent on making sure that’s easy to do.

Of course, this isn’t the only funding or acquisition to make the news in recent weeks, but it further cements what Ternynck calls the consumerization of enterprise tech…and the fact that it’s finally hitting the HR Tech Marketplace.

“A lot of the enterprise technology is being brought in by users,” explained Ternynck. Think about the tools you use on your work PCs, iPads and smartphones. Those efficient and brilliant little apps and software platforms are being adopted by consumers, who bring them to the enterprise, which in turn rolls them out on a corporate level.

“This is really something we see happening across all markets. Big change in how you sell to enterprise,” said Ternynck. But selling isn’t really what he has in mind. SmartRecruiters has no plans to amass a huge sales force because the process is actually “frictionless”.

“In the beta phase, we removed all the friction. It’s completely automated, you don’t need to speak to anybody, you actually just need to post your job,” he said. In fact, there is no sign up process on SmartRecruiters. And that’s by design.

“Need to hire someone, come here, post your job.  If you enjoy it, chances are you are going to share it, facebook, social network, use our social referral service…recruiting is not about tracking or automation. It’s about sourcing, engaging and hiring great candidates,” insists Ternynck. “It’s a social encounter.”

No, SmartRecruiters is going to put “all of the money into product awesomeness”. Which makes sense when you have a free product. So what’s next for the product with this new round?

“We want to put jobseekers back at the center of recruiting software. It should be much more enjoyable and much more social. We’re building features around a one-click apply and allowing candidates to express interest more easily,” said Ternynck, ticking off features that the SmartRecruiters team is adding while also naming features that were soon to be gone, like the application form.

And while the Bay Area based team will not be building a huge sales army, Ternynck plans to add at least 40 jobs in the hopes of creating “tens, hundreds, even thousands more.”





#TChat Communication Tools: You Can't Use Them ALL

What’s your morning communications, social media routine like? Mine’s getting more complicated every day. Personally, just email requires checking at least three accounts on three devices. At least one is Gmail, so I green-light Gmail chat and also Google+. Then it’s on to open a Skype window – many clients, friends reach me through Skype instant message. And to make sure I’m truly open, AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo Messenger are active, too. They’re a bit old-school, but a few of my clients still use them, so it’s not really negotiable in my world.  Then it’s on to Yammer to check up on the latest and greatest with my teams.

Twitter comes next. Hootsuite, Old School “regular” Twitter, and TweetChat  helps me monitor multiple Twitter streams and also makes it simple to cross-populate Facebook and LinkedIn with content. Another communications tool I’ve been checking out is the open-source Trillian, which automates the  management of multiple chat clients on both desktop and phone.

When it comes to corporate communications, it’s a whole new ball of wax, Facebook page admins, several WordPress log-ins, all the email and communications platforms like MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber and more. There are even ways to communicate via song (Spotify) and visual interest (Pinterest). Granted, not all of these apply to professionalism, but in our connected world, they sure do influence it.

The new tools can also be overwhelming; it’s a matter of choosing and experimenting. But when do we finally just pick and stop experimenting? What works best for workplace collaboration and productivity? Do you stop communicating? Ever?

Actually, no. Facebook is saved for stolen moments between calls and meetings on my end. I’m trying to use it more frequently, and in a way that does not make my friends have to deal with all my tweets (always a work in progress). Let’s not forget Facebook messaging – again, I’m trying to make it work into my weekly routine. And LinkedIn – the ole social standby – is a great business communications tool, so there’s always a browser tab open for it. Mind you, this is all before my first cup of coffee.

Does your social blend in a way that feels comfortable and consistent yet? Do you sense a theme emerging here? I think many people are trying to determine the very best way to manage communications tools both for  business and for pleasure.

The irony: in this flurry of activity, there hasn’t been  a single F2F social interaction, not even a cat sitting on the keyboard. Over the past year, actual live phone conversations have dropped off a tad. I’ve been making a point to schedule more meetings in person and to call people via Skype, Google Voice, or cell. Sometimes there is simply no time for in-person meetings. I live my business and social life, increasingly, in the world of social media. Some days it doesn’t seem healthy. Some days it feels just right. Some days I wonder how I ever existed without it. Some days I long for more IRL “In Real Life” contact with people.

In this week’s TalentCulture World of Work #TChat – brought to you through the wonders of social media, of course – we’re looking at the good, the bad and the ugly of social communication and workplace collaboration tools. The beauty of  Twitter Chats are clear – hundreds of people worldwide can have a discussion in real time, regardless of physical location – but it’s not clear which other social and workplace communications tools deliver a similar value.

And we have a hashtag where people can show up and share content, insight and fun with us 24.7. It’s become a unique online community and we look forward to continuing the conversation this year. We are going with the connection flow and enjoying every moment.

So let’s come together to explore which communications tools add value and which merely distract us from being productive. Because you can’t use them all. Or can you? Join us Wednesday night on #TChat The World of Work January 18th from 7-8 pm ET (6-7 CT, 4-5 pm PT), where social media and communication topics are in the hot seat. Join meKevin GrossmanMaren Hogan, Sean Charles and Kyle Lagunas for a very special #TChat.

Questions we’ll be discussing this week are here: