A little over a year ago, I made a jump from the CRM industry to the HR Tech space. I had the good fortune of being an executive at the two fastest growing companies of their respective decades – Siebel Systems in the 90’s and Salesforce.com in the 00’s. When I made that jump, everyone I knew asked me why. A well known public company CEO in the HR tech space who I knew from my days at salesforce.com asked me the same question – although I suspect more out of competitiveness. Did I make that jump because I had studied the market and its landscape for a number of months? Did I make that jump based on some detailed rational analysis where I discovered something that others couldn’t see? The answer to both of those questions is a resounding no.
I made the jump because I trusted my gut on one simple assumption – the software that is made and sold to human resources organizations is not only horrible in every way, (user experience, technical stack, integration capability, configuration, etc.) but it’s design principles were focused on the wrong-end user. If you think about Human Resources, its a crucial function to ensure that what matters most in any organization, its’ people, thrive. But if you really think about Human Resources, it is a shared services function who must partner effectively across all functions throughout a company.
Everyone knows that. Then why has every piece of HR software built never taken that simple basic construct to heart? Why is it that in my 15 years of working at the two fastest growing software companies in history where hiring the best as quickly as possible was required for success, I had never ever logged into a software application to assist me in this worthwhile endeavor? Why is it that even in my 11th year of salesforce.com, my weekly recruiting conversations usually consisted of a google spreadsheet, a conference call, and frustrated discussions with my managers and the recruiters?
Simple, because the companies that make HR software essentially ignored the line of business (or in the case of recruiting, the hiring manager) completely in their design process and software architecture. Which ultimately leads to frustration, ironically with the recruiters and HR teams who these terrific HR systems were built for, as they are left alone deploying and using a piece of software the rest of the organization rejects. Because software vendors have falsely misled HR buyers that if HR wants the control and compliance around the hiring process that they need, then they must sacrifice end-user delight and ease of use. I won’t even get into what this has done to the candidate experience, that is a topic for another day.
It has been one year since I joined SmartRecruiters and my gut was unbelievably right. We have been in market with our Hiring Success Platform for less than six months and in my conversations with leading HR executives at the world’s largest companies, i am just thrilled to see them come to the same emotional and more rational conclusion than I had a year ago. Last week, i was asked the following question by an SVP of HR at a Fortune 1000 company after we spent three hours with his team reviewing our platform and their needs.
“A great user experience for candidates, hiring managers and recruiters. A modern platform that easily integrates all the relevant vendors and applications that I need. What am i missing – this seems all too good to be true?”
To which I answered obviously there were some features and gaps, but at the high level, it is not too good to be true. Because why should the following be too good to be true:
- An application whose user experience mimics the way hiring managers, recruiters, and candidates work, regardless of their modality.
- An application which provides the level of collaboration at its core across these three constituencies for the most social activity of all – recruiting.
- A platform that provides the level of control and configuration HR and teams need but does so elegantly and in a manner that doesn’t mess up the end user experience.
- A platform with modern APIs and pre-built integrations that allow for seamless integrations into the rest of your vendors and applications.
Because this has become the expectation for success in every other software category.
But up until today, apparently not for HR. If I were an HR executive, I would feel like Howard Beale of the 1976 movie, Network, (clip provided here for your entertainment) and refuse to be treated like a second class citizen by the tech industry. Because, damn it, HR deserves great software too.
I will be writing a monthly blog where I will go into more detail of the specific examples on how SmartRecruiters provides insanely great software and rejects all the false myths and notions that HR has been led to believe. Join me and I look forward to your comments.