Today we announced a $30m Series C financing round led by Insight Partners. This round follows two years of spectacular growth (700 new customers in 24 months) and validates SmartRecruiters as the leading candidate to disrupt the $3 billion ATS market, particularly in the enterprise segment.
For me, it is another important milestone towards the realization of a simple vision. We hear most CEOs claim that people are their number 1 asset. Well, turns out they are right.
The three ingredients of successful business are well known: Money, Ideas and People. Their relative importance, however, has evolved over time. In the 19th century, money ruled. It was the early days of capitalism. You had money, you had success. Then the 20th century was all about ideas (think cars, planes, hotels, computers, etc). Now, with the current rate of disruption, it’s all about the people. All traditional barriers to entry for businesses are gone. We all have access to the same technology, the same markets, the same funds, and the same knowledge — the playing field is level. So, the only long-term differentiator for any business is the people. This is what economists call the Talent Economy:
Who hires the best, wins. Who does not, loses.
Consequently, recruiting is transforming. It used to be an administrative function under HR. The primary goal was to process job applicants in a compliant and somewhat automated manner. The key metrics that organizations tracked were time to hire and cost per hire. Not anymore. Talent Acquisition (TA) is now a C-level imperative. Simply put, to beat your competition, you must beat them at the hiring game. That’s why smart companies now run recruiting like a sales and marketing function and focus far more on the actual quality of hire, ensuring they do hire the absolute best talent to win in the market.
Hire like you market and sell.
Unfortunately, the technology to support that new paradigm hasn’t been there for Talent Acquisition leaders. The Applicant Tracking Systems were never designed for this.
I know. I built one in the late 90s. It was meant to…track applicants. We automated the file cabinet. Nothing more and nothing less.
Now, 17 years later, recruiters struggle with their ATS: the candidate experience is poor, companies have no marketing capabilities, and managers refuse to use the ATS. Most of the process is run offline and tracked in spreadsheets. Some TA leaders tried to patch the ATS with a CRM or a recruitment marketing platform, but that only added to the confusion. Meanwhile, recruiters are trying to save the day by hunting candidates one-by-one on LinkedIn. But they struggle. Clearly the entire paradigm and approach of the legacy ATS model must change if we want to elevate recruiting.
The days of the ATS are numbered.
With that in mind, I founded SmartRecruiters in 2010. We literally started from a blank sheet of paper with a simple question: In an ideal world, what should an enterprise recruiting platform actually do to deliver Hiring Success?
It came down to three core requirements:
1) Market: Allow organizations to find and engage great people across all channels (inbound, outbound, website, referrals, events, sourcing, CRM) while offering an amazing candidate experience from click to hire.
2) Collaborate: Drive consistent hiring decisions by engaging hiring managers and interview teams through a collaborative hiring process to vet and close the best candidate.
3) Manage: Bring all data, processes and suppliers in one single platform, acting as a recruiting OS, to ensure efficiency, control and compliance.
One platform to find, engage and hire amazing talent.
That took some time to build, but 200 years later (50 developers x 4 years), we released the SmartRecruiters Talent Acquisition Platform for enterprises. Since then, we have been fortunate to partner with over 700 amazing organizations to help them transform recruiting on a journey to Hiring Success.
Today’s announcement is an exciting milestone and validation for our vision, our mission and our execution. I could not be more thankful to each and every one of our customers that partner with us daily to drive the platform of their dreams forward, to each and every one of our Marketplace partners and, most importantly, to each and every SmartRecruiters employee who believed in our crazy mission to “make hiring easy.” You have worked fearlessly and passionately every day to get us to where we are today.
While I am humbled by what we have achieved to date, I am even more excited by the prospects ahead of us. We are clearly at the dawn of a new era for recruiting. One where the best companies invest in recruiting to hire better candidates, just like they invest in marketing to acquire more customers.
So what will you do in 2017? Process applicants or hire amazing people?