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Taking the headache out of hiring

Published 26-OCT-2016 14:47 P.M.


4 minute read

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Soaring staff turnover rates – part and parcel of the ever-increasing job mobility enjoyed by younger generations – is leaving many HR departments stressed and stretched.

While becoming busier, many are also shrinking, so there’s less time to recruit for more roles and quite often the issue of a dwindling budget too.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing of all, are the layered inefficiencies at every turn of the recruitment process.

Online job boards mean that employers and recruiters are often inundated with applications from applicants who are seriously keen to find work, but equally, they also attract timewasters merely ‘clicking through’ the motions of job-hunting.

Many professionals in the industry are calling it a ‘broken system’ —and I’d be willing to bet that anyone who’s been through the tedious job-hunting process in recent years would agree.

So if this system is (to put it bluntly) stuffed, why is it still the main one?

There’s been an influx of digital HR solutions in the last 2-3 years. And many of them are finding their way onto the ASX in search of funding.

The presented solutions typically go beyond professional recruitment firms (who charge between 10-30% of the candidate’s first year salary) and the successful ones all make use of mobile technology. No surprises there.

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Melbourne HR tech start-up LiveHire came onto the market mid-year, raising $10 million through an IPO. They call themselves the talent technology company, existing to match the best people and employers across individuals’ careers.

They’re not quite LinkedIn, and they’re not SEEK. They’re not short-term shift options like OneShift and they’re not entry-level or casual focussed like SpotJobs.

That’s a long list of digital disruptors in the HR and recruitment sectors right there. And yet cloud-based LiveHire is claiming to offer something different to all of them.

They get their money through adding potential candidates to member companies’ ‘talent communities’. Through this they aim to bring “quality human connection back to recruitment through rich data and user experiences”.

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Intervening one step further along the process is Aviia who provide a tool for on-demand video screening interviews. The idea is to cut some of time barriers like scheduling clashes and geographical distance to allow companies to get to top talent faster. It’s cloud-based too, and allows employers the ability to compare multiple interviewees’ answers on a digital platform, question by question.

Sydney-based Xref automates the candidate referencing process via a mobile-ready cloud platform. It claims to increase the expediency of reference checks, which – when you think of the modern-day challenges resulting in endless ‘phone-tag’, time difference issues and emails that seem to go missing – could be a huge cost saver for an organisation. Particularly larger employers who may need to fill hundreds of roles a year.

Another one, San Francisco-based company 1-Page is an online recruiter all about the quick and easy one-page summary of a candidate. It listed on the ASX in 2014.

A lot of these companies, whether based in Australia or not, are washing up on the ASX in search of investors. Whether that’s necessarily good or bad depends on your perspective.

Nick Waterworth, co-founder and chairman of Ambition Group, was quoted in The Australian saying there will still be a place for a “high touch, high price bricks-and-mortar presence’’ of the traditional recruiter. “But it’s a little bit fuzzy at the moment. There is room for pure online plays and disruptors but there are too many around.”

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Then there’s LiveHire’s competitor, ApplyDirect, whose biggest selling point seems to be the guarantee that jobs found on their platform will exclude listings from recruitment agencies. Both ApplyDirect and LiveHire’s listing on the ASX returned mixed results rather than blazing a trail as expected.

With all of this digital disruption flying around, old-school online boards like SEEK are still going strong with a near $5 billion market cap, branching successfully into international markets and continuing to rake in sales revenues.

According to the chair of LiveHire Geoff Morgan, the success of any of these products will be their ability to deal with the pain inflicted by the current recruitment process, which he describes as “an anathema”.

“It’s not about recruitment, it is actually about rejection. It is why looking for a job is one of the most painful things you can do in your life,” he said.

These factors, it seems, create an ideal commercial environment for disruptors such as LiveHire and Aviia given their innovative ideas and solutions that are already making looking for a job a great deal more enjoyable, and just that little bit less stressful.

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LiveHire Management Team, Geoff Morgan (left), Michael Haywood (centre) and Antonluigi Gozzi (right).

Like in so many fields, it’s the average user who needs to love your product to ensure it doesn’t become just another failed start-up. And it needs to start with winning back some of the trust that’s been lost to a broken HR and recruitment system.

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