SmashFly and the new world of recruiting

Brian Sommer Profile picture for user brianssommer November 14, 2016
Smashfly put on heard some of the best customer speakers I’ve heard at any ERP or HR user conference. Here's what's on offer.

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Recruitment Marketing (RM), an emergent field in the HR space replaces a lot of what’s not working well within traditional HR recruiting technologies and processes.

Traditional recruiting technologies allow recruiters to:

  • Book job advertisements in various newspapers, job boards, etc.
  • Store applicant resumes into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
  • Prepare offer letters
  • Schedule and route applicants through an internal interviewing process

What’s wrong with the old recruiting technology is that it assumed that:

  • The only potential hires to consider were the ones actively seeking new employment. They mostly ignored passive job seekers.
  • That people would submit resumes into an ATS and magically keep coming back to update them. They don’t/didn’t. People will keep their LinkedIn profile current and especially if they're contemplating a move.
  • Employers have all the power but they don’t. Old processes assumed that people should be lucky that any firm would be interested in them. As it turns out, if you’ve got hot skills, great employers come to you, not vice versa.
  • Employers only needed to announce the availability of a job and jobseekers would come a running. It turns out that the best and brightest want to be courted or seduced. They want to be the subject of an earnest, long-running campaign to win them over and get them to work for a company that truly wants them. Great people don’t like to be treated as transactions.
  • People have employment choices and many of them want to work with companies with a great employment brand, culture and values. Old recruiting methods never addressed any of these concerns.

Enter firms like SmashFly.

SmashFly sees recruiting as a funnel driven process akin to the way Sales and Marketing is a funnel driven process. In Sales & Marketing, scores of raw sales prospects enter the top of a funnel. As the prospect has ever greater interactions with the company, the prospect either gets converted into a more educated and qualified lead or is removed from the funnel.  For recruiters, scores of potential future employees enter the top of the pipeline and after a succession of interactions with HR, operational leaders, the website and website content, the person moves from being just a resume to someone who knows plenty about the firm, its culture/values, its people, etc. (and vice versa).

 Why is this approach to recruiting so important? There are several factors impacting the employment space and old approaches will simply under-deliver for a lot of employers and their open positions.

If a company is already facing a war for talent, then a new approach is mandated if only to get a better handle on the prospect pipeline and to begin the wooing process earlier. If a firm is in need of all-new skills or skills in extremely short supply, then these potential workers will go to the firms that seek them out and court them. Want-ads will not deliver the volume (or quality in some cases) of candidates for scarce skill sets.

At the recent TransformRM show, the audience heard some of the best customer speakers I’ve heard at any ERP or HR user conference.

These speakers described how they had to build business cases for RM technology, fix employment brand issues - many had low or negligible Glassdoor ratings/feedback, create content that reinforced the company’s brand/values, capture all-new kinds of metrics and data, etc. They did this to improve the quality of hire, lower the cost per hire, improve retention and deliver a greater level of service to the business operations.

Some of the speakers were actually educated/trained in Marketing but are now driving the Recruiting Marketing processes and technologies at their firms. We heard from firms like accountancy PWC, semi-conductor manufacturer Intel , publisher Thomson Reuters and more.  SmashFly has a number of great name-brand customers (e.g., United).

more smashfly - milestones

SmashFly has enjoyed steady growth since its founding. It is, however, moving into hockey stick growth as customer and revenue growth are showing curvilinear trends. This marks an inflection point in a software company as hockey stick growth may require:

  • Additional capital to acquire the needed office space, cloud data centers, headcount, etc. to service the hyper growth in customer demand
  • New/supplemental talent in the executive ranks. For example, an executive that could manage a 50 person development group might not be able to run a 100 person team in 6-9 months.

Hockey stick moments can be dangerous. For some firms, they can’t grow to match the evolving demand. They may plateau prematurely and never fully recognize the market opportunity before them. Some firms plateau, not because of any self-inflicted issue, but because their solution is too transformational.

Transformative solutions may sell well to innovators and early adopters but are really hard to get sold and implemented in more slow-moving, conservative firms. How will SmashFly fare as it sells to more sectors in the technology adoption life cycle? Only time will time.

SmashFly used the event to highlight some recent product enhancements. One of them is Events. This functionality allows an employer to manage any number of activities like campus recruiting functions, open houses, etc.  The tool has wizards that automate invitations, to-do lists, etc.

 SmashFly also showed a number of enhancements to the visual display of recruiting metrics/statistics.  Like a marketing automation tool if the kind offered by Markets, recruiters can see where prospective hires are in their recruiting funnel.


SmashFly customers also showed other sources and kinds of data that their firms monitor. Everything from open rates of web content, changes in Glassdoor rankings over time, etc. are being watched. This is in contrast to (or in conjunction with) old school measures such as effectiveness of different job boards/advertisements, time-to-hire stats, referral data, etc.

My take

There is a clear logic in approaching recruitment from the marketing point of view. An RM solution, like a marketing automation solution, works best when it has lots of data. To get the best out of a SmashFly solution, users may want to have access to data from their career websites, Google, Glassdoor, Facebook, RivalIQ, LinkedIn, focus groups and more.

Other data to be captured could include Net Promoter Scores, recruiter response rates/timeliness, candidate quality, time to offer, importance of different recruiting messages, global differences in the above, etc.  To round out a great RM solution, users might also want to supplement SmashFly with other recruiting products from vendors like HireVue and Entelo.

Before companies can take advantage of an RM solution, they’ll also need to know where they are starting from. SmashFly’s CEO Hennessy pointed out a great example of this when he discussed the leaked M&A target list of  The Glassdoor CEO Rating and Glassdoor Would Recommend scores for these potential targets were at the top of the evaluation criterion. However, you do need to caution on using these sources. We know for example that Glassdoor is easy to game such that positive or negative sentiment can be influenced.

Companies and potential new hires both check out these values. Data points like these (especially when compared to one’s competition) will help recruiters understand where they’re starting from and what they’ll need to do to be more successful in recruiting.

As mentioned previously, a SmashFly implementation can have a massively transformative impact on a firm. It may require a number of meetings and co-ordination with operational leaders, Marketing, other HR executives and so on.

Done well, a SmashFly implementation should transform how companies are perceived by jobseekers. It will change how jobseekers are courted and how the organization’s leadership interacts with them days, months and even years before they get hired. It’s not the old want-ad approach to hiring and the differences will require education and reinforcement so that all-new practices replace old, ineffective and irrelevant ones.

What SmashFly needs are courageous recruiters and HR leaders with political capital. Are you one?

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