How does the HR Tech market look like? What is its future? What are the key success factors of any HR tech implementation? At HR Tech World in London we spoke to Jerome Ternynck, CEO&founder of SmartRecruiters.
EmployerBranding.pl: During HR Tech World in London you were the moderator during disruptHR competition. How do you assess this year’s solutions?
Jerome Ternynck: Generally speaking, new technologies in the area of processing HR data are accelerating. New technologies allow us to process a huge amount of data in HR and, because of that, HR becomes much more interesting. The current recruiting landscape is increasingly competitive as companies realize that “you are who you hire.” So management has a bigger focus on HR and its performance, and solutions with a bigger focus on management get better funding. With this said, I have to admit that I have seen an increase of quality over the last years. Founders are doing decent pitches and solutions are solving real problems, which is great.
EB.pl: What do you think about the winner – Textio?
JT: Their claim is “in hiring, every word counts” and I must agree 100%. We see so many job ads every day and, in big enterprises, it isn’t easy to individualize them. As employer branding becomes more and more important, Textio can be a great help and differentiator.
EB.pl: One of the investors during VC panel said that marketing, sales and some other business areas are already automatized, so it’s time for automatization in HR and HR Tech startups. In your opinion, which HR areas are (or will be) the main focus for HR startups?
JT: This is correct. In HR this has been a black box for many years, with companies just “paying and praying.” It’s why HR tech has been somewhat left behind. But now that we have data processing technology and can use it to increase efficiency in hiring, this will change. This is about placing budget (programmatic advertising), collaborative work on application management and understanding the data (AI in recruiting) to focus on what is valuable: making HR more human again.
EB.pl: You live in Silicon Valley but you’re visiting Europe very often. What are the differences between HR Tech markets in Europe and in the USA? Do you see any?
JT: European business is often more cash-driven. As there is less funding and smaller funding rounds, there is a bigger focus on early cashflow positiveness. This often means fewer technologies and less innovation but more solving of real problems and understanding of the customer. So, while US startups often work on the big vision and think big, Europeans make cash. I respect every founder with every strategy; they must adapt to their market and take what’s there, so I’m not making a judgement, just an observation about the differences. But, generally we see an increase in cash to fund a startup and with this also more innovation in Europe.
EB.pl: In your opinion – why there are not many HR Tech startups from Central and Eastern Europe? What could we do to boost the development in this area?
JT: The truth is that the market is dominated by old players who own a big stake of the market. This market was established in the US and Europe many years ago and the entrance barrier is fairly high. I think as opportunities with new technologies are seen more often this will shift in the next year. But slowly this will be everywhere and also allow central and eastern Europe to enter the stage.
EB.pl: What do you think are the key success factors while implementing any HR tech solutions?
JT: Trust and values. We believe in scalable solutions that we adapt to each customer. So, we have built something that is valuable, something that customers can trust. But we put all our hearts into the implementation and great experience for the recruiter and the applicant. We make things happen and work together on the needs of the customer.
EB.pl: There are plenty of HR tech solutions for various employee life-cycle parts. At the same time we might see drop in employee engagement rates and a lot of criticism about candidate experiences. Does it mean the technologies don’t really help to improve HR?
JT: It really depends on which parts we are looking at. We help companies attract jobseekers and get their recruitment process right. This is increasing the happiness of the jobseeker, too, as they receive faster feedback, have a better application process and the company who is hiring makes a better impression. These days, HR needs great technology that will help them get the best talent—let the machines do the manual drudgery so they can focus on what is important: the human being.
EB.pl: Thank you and hope to meet you during next HR Tech World events!
JT: Thank you.
Interview was conducted during HR Tech World in London in March 2016. The next editions of HRTech World will take place in San Francisco on 14-15 of June 2017 and in Amsterdam on 24-25 of October 2017. Find out more: www.hrtechcongress.com.