SmartRecruiters Blog

Behind the Scenes with SmartRecruiters’ Hiring Success Hackathon Judges

In the first-ever SmartRecruiters Hackathon, customers tested the limits of the platform API and their own creativity in just 24 hours.

When the right tools for the job don’t exist you need to invent them. This sentiment captures the spirit behind SmartRecruiters’ first-ever Hackathon challenge, issued at the Hiring Success conference last March.

The feature-rich SmartRecruiters open Marketplace API offers development teams a platform to build applications for direct integration into the SmartRecruiters Talent Acquisition Suite. To test the flexibility of the SmartRecruiters API, the Hiring Success Hackathon gave four customer teams a SmartRecruiters advisor and 24 hours to design, build, and implement new platform features that would offer value to users, and demonstrate innovation and creativity. With a $5,000 grand prize on the line the four teams quickly set upon their task.

At the end of the competition, the four teams presented their finished products in front of judges Bill Boorman, Steve Fogarty, and Ethan Medeiros, all of whom were beyond impressed with the final results.

“The one thing we were unanimous about was that we genuinely could have made any one of these products a winner,” said Bill Boorman. “That made it difficult to judge because they were all on the money.” Steve Fogarty continued, commenting that “every one of those products we found useful.”

“I was impressed with all of the teams,” said Ethan Medeiros. “Every one of them came up with an idea and a build-out in just 24 hours.” Boorman went on to praise the teams for their efforts, claiming, “I think the standard of product after 24 hours was better than I’ve seen at a Hackathon before. What you usually see is more buggy, and you have to imagine what the products will eventually look like.”

After a brief deliberation, the judges declared team Visa the winner for its internal candidate mobility add-on. With more companies focusing on promoting candidates from within their organization, the Hackathon judges recognized Visa’s solution to the rising demand for in-house talent. “The product that I’m being asked about most often is something for internal candidates,” said Steven Fogarty. “Right now they can search for a job and apply and that’s it. This next generation of talent coming through the door cares about transparency, their data, and what feedback people are giving them.”


Team Avery Dennison
Avery Dennison, the global manufacturer and distributor of self-adhesive labels, apparel branding tags, and label materials, focused on creating a tool to optimize their recruiter tasks, as high-volume hiring is a key function of their business. The average time for a job posting is about 1.5 hours and can cost $37.50–$457.50 depending on the method. For companies like Avery Dennison that need to fill thousands of positions, recruiters and hiring managers spend too much valuable time manually publishing and updating their open job postings.

Rather than navigate a littered desktop of notifications and hastily scrawled Post-it notes, Avery Dennison built a Google Chrome plugin that allows recruiters to specify a date range for open positions as they input the job description and details. “As recruiters publish jobs, they don’t need to set a reminder,” says Mike Penny, TA Manager at Avery Dennison. “It eliminates some of that potential for error in forgetting to unpublish or pull the req down.”

To further automate the process, when a job posting expires, the feature deploys an email to recruiters and hiring managers with the total number of applicants and the top-match candidates according to the SmartRecruiters AI Recruiting Assistant.

Team Square

Square, the financial services company producing software and hardware payment products for mobile and tablet, looked to also reduce the number of non-value-added recruiter tasks by optimizing their interview scheduling protocols.

Square processes multiple candidate interviews every week, and manually coordinating six different schedules for the members of their hiring committees is inefficient. “That time cost from the recruiting coordinating side is extremely intensive,” says Stephanie Snyder, Recruiting Manager at Square, who estimates the company spends an estimated 240 hours per week on scheduling tasks.

Aiming to cut that time in half, the Square team built an application that assembles an interview panel of your choosing and schedules an interview time slot. Currently, panel organizers at Square toggled Google Calendar and SmartRecruiters to view team availability and schedule interviews, but the Square team predicts that a future version of their application would include a visual calendar UI that integrates these two functions in one dashboard to improve scheduling efficiency.

Once a panel is created, members can also access and revise notes about a candidate throughout the hiring process, a feature that eliminates the need to manually pull candidate data after the interview.


Visa, the financial juggernaut with over 12,400 employees in five major hubs worldwide, sought to answer the question: How can we retain our best talent after hiring? Visa’s answer was to build internal mobility add-on that makes it easier for employees to apply for new opportunities within the company.

Visa’s team of developers structured its strategy around three essential criteria that internal candidates seek:

  1. More details, transparency, and information on the front end of the recruiting process.
  2. Updates about the status of applications already submitted.
  3. Where they are in the application process.

To encourage more internal candidate applications, the Visa team of developers designed their tool to be a seamless and transparent process, beginning with the login page, which quickly ushers internal candidates to the dashboard with a single-click sign in. To smooth the transition from Visa’s internal portal to the SmartRecruiters ATS, the team branded their dashboard, which automatically prioritizes newer internal postings on top of the feed.

When a new position is available, candidates can view the names of the recruiters and hiring managers for that position, and apply with just one click, as their user profile automatically fills in all relevant user data on the application. Candidates can view all jobs to which they have applied from the main dashboard.

Team SmartRecruiters

Riding the wave of excitement following SmartRecruiters’ spring release announcement, SmartRecruiters’ own team of developers couldn’t resist building their own new feature for the Hackathon. The SR team built an integration between Facebook Jobs and SmartRecruiters that allows companies to advertise their open positions in the Facebook Jobs page and give candidates the ability to view, share, and apply for jobs through their social profiles.

“This is all live, people can apply for these positions right now,” said Jem Sweeney, Product Manager at SmartRecruiters, demonstrating how the integration encourages candidates to share open positions among their network and answer screening questions all within Facebook’s platform. “You get a massive boost in your ability to get jobs in front of people and get referrals, as people can recommend jobs and apply immediately.” To attract applicants within certain industries or demographics, companies can also leverage Facebook’s native advertising and targeting algorithms to reach candidates without any additional effort or resources.

Scott Wardell