SmartRecruiters Blog

Vegas, Baby, Vegas: HR Tech 2013

Vespa giveaways. Mad Men Costumes. Basketball hoops and Skeeball. Just another year at HR Tech.

On the week of Oct. 7, over 300 vendors and 8,000 attendees (customers, vendors, analysts) in the HR space converged on the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino for the 16th annual HR Tech Conference. But it wasn’t all candy cigarettes and Elvis impersonators. This year’s conference brought together some of the more innovative players in hiring, talent management and benefits.

Josh Schwede, Vice President of Business Development at HireVue, was quick to identify a trend: “What we witnessed loud and clear from visitors to our booth is the dynamic between the high number of candidates that companies have in their recruiting funnel, and the challenge they face in meeting the hiring demands of the business.”

The level of innovation in Recruitment Marketing Platforms and Social Tools — combined with job growth in the economy — has created a burden on recruiters, says Schwede. “This has made it hard to find the right candidate for the right role.”

WePow, another of the innovators in video interviewing, was also in attendance.  Says Co-founder and COO Imo Udom, “We got a decent amount of leads and built some great relationships with potential partners.”  Of course, Udom is being modest:  for those of us lucky enough to receive a pair of their signature-blue Chuck Taylors, the relationships crossed from a clear “great”  into “awesome.”

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“It is always a great event when you have the opportunity to “geek” out with the best of the best,” said Bridget Webb (surrounded by Jeff Waldman and Ravi Mikkelsen).

Of course, SmartRecruiters was also in Vegas this year.  Like HireVue and several other exhibitors, we decided this year to leverage the awesome power of our happy customers to communicate our value to potential customers and partners alike. Joanna Lawler, Head of HR for Moonstruck Chocolate Company, was on hand, as was Kostas Klokelis, Head of Personnel and Talent Acquisition for KarmaLoop and Katie Pontius, Director of HR & Recruiting for The Onion.  Both were invaluable to our efforts to spread the SmartRecruiters word – plus the time we spent in Vegas brought us even closer to three already valued customers of ours.

SmartRecruiters assessment partner Chequed was in Vegas to continue their battle against bad hires.  Founder/CEO Greg Moran was struck by the new generation of talent acquisition and talent management tools on display. “There is a clear movement from just the efficiency driven platform into technologies tied to clear business results where a company can easily attain the tools they need to identify and screen talent both easily and with a clear emphasis on quality,” says Moran.  “SmartRecruiters and are examples of this movement as well as many others exhibiting at HR Tech 2013.”

Chequed’s mascot “No Bad Hires Man” was a clear hit at the conference – but one with a serious message.  “We think that represents a new breed of data driven hiring tools, and our goal of ‘No Bad Hires’ was certainly present on the show floor,” says Moran.  “Attendees were looking beyond tools designed to simply make the hiring process faster; they sought out tools with an eye toward a clear, objective- and data-driven hiring process.”


Another of our valued assessment partners, Findly, had a big presence this year at HR Tech.  “The Findly team had a great experience this year at HRTech,” said Findly’s Alexis Stephenson.  “As always, it’s great to tell the Findly story in person and see how strongly our vision of On-Demand recruitment resonates with the industry. And we were thrilled to receive third party recognition in the form of HRE’s product of the year award!”  While I don’t personally need any more convincing of Findly’s amazing potential for candidate assessment, the espresso bar at their booth didn’t hurt.

Tuesday’s Awesome New Technologies for HR panel featured SmartRecruiters neighbor Entelo.  Director of Customer Development Vivek Reddy highlighted the launch of Entelo’s newest product, Entelo Inside (“a product that refreshes companies’ Applicant Tracking Systems or Candidate databases with fresh social data”).  The new offering further’s Entelo’s goal of keeping candidate data relevant.  “Lots of time and money gets spent to attract candidates to apply,” says Reddy, “but that data can become stale real quick as those candidates may obtain new skills, experience, etc in the future.”

As has been a growing trend in recent years, HR Tech featured a number of niche job boards and niche board networks. Beyond was on hand to promote their extensive network of job destinations. “Social features, talent communities, and social behaviors are becoming more a part of the core for talent acquisition as evidenced throughout the event,” said Beyond COO Jim John.  “Beyond, with its traditional focus on niche talent communities, is not surprised that other career organizations are focusing on these areas to improve overall recruitment quality.”

David Wieland, CEO at RIVS and fellow player in the video interview space, had this to say: “It’s clear that as HR aggressively expands its role in talent acquisition, it continues to shift from late to early adoption of emerging technologies that can give it an edge.  The energy at HRTech this year was unprecedented.”

Rivs Mug

Dice President Shravan Goli was attending HR Tech for the first time.  Said Goli, “It was exciting to see how the triad of big data, human influence and the art of successful tech social recruiting will continue to put tools like Dice’s Open Web as the new dream model for laser-focused discovery of the undiscoverable candidates.”

SmartRecruiters’ neighbor Reppify was also in the house. Said CEO Chirag ‘Chi’ Nangia, “the conference  exceeded our expectations. Some really quality conversations on both customer and partnership fronts, as well as great validation for all the work our companies are doing in the next wave of awesome recruiting solutions.”

Background screening solution provider Kentech Consulting traveled from Chicago to attend. CEO Kenneth Coats said, “the HR Tech show was exciting this year, with many new innovative tools to address total workforce management.”    Anthony Locke, Business Development Manager at big data player Inflection, was similarly impressed with the new tools on display: “The team and I had a fantastic experience and at HRTech; we were really struck by impact that some of the newer industry players were making through thoughtful refinements to the HR professionals’ toolset.”

HireRight‘s Praful Dabir was impressed to see “how a variety of HCM vendors are investing and innovating in key areas of Social, Mobile, Cloud and Video technologies to provide better user experience and drive results for HR teams.”  HireRight’s central theme for the conference was “HireRight is a recruiters best friend. Whatever you need, whenever you are, HireRight can support you any language, on any device, anywhere.”

Ravi Mikkelson, Co-Founder and CEO of Bay Area-based jobFig, reckons that HR Tech is among the best conferences each year to see where the future lies in terms of software and technology for the HR department.  “In just the past year,” says Mikkelson, “companies have taken tremendous leaps forward in terms of recruiting, interviewing, and on-boarding tools through the use of social and behavioral analytics. Systems for employees are becoming easier to use and coming into line with modern consumer applications, making them more beautiful and a delight to use.”

Christine Bird of Cream.HR summed it up thusly:  “The HR Tech conference was invaluable by providing a platform for knowledge gain and the ability to connect with HR leaders and growing companies; leading to valuable partnership creation and thought leadership exchange. All that and one big Vegas party – what more can you ask?”  What more? Indeed.

HR technology

Benjamin Klafter

@BizDevBen is a native of San Francisco, practices martial arts, and is on a quest to partner with all the best recruiting services.