Skill-Based Hiring To Become the Norm, SmartRecruiters Product Chief Says

Skill-Based Hiring To Become the Norm, SmartRecruiters Product Chief Says

Interview by Nikola Djuric
Published: October 09, 2023

The shift toward skills-first hiring is unmistakably gaining traction, reflecting a transformative approach in recruitment processes.

Recent data reveals a notable uptick in skills-based search criteria among recruiters on LinkedIn, signaling a broader industry transition. With a 25% increase in skills-filtered searches since 2019, and recruiters 50% more likely to search by skills over years of experience as of 2023, it's evident that the skills-first hiring model is gaining substantial ground.

At the forefront of this transformative wave is SmartRecruiters, a platform that has progressively evolved to meet the modern-day challenges of talent acquisition. From a lightweight candidate management tool to a comprehensive enterprise talent acquisition suite serving global organizations, SmartRecruiters has allowed enterprises to reimagine the way they source for new hires.

DesingRush spoke to SmartRecruiters Product Chief Rebecca Carr about unique features that set this platform apart, how it leverages AI and automation to enhance recruitment processes, and why skill-based hiring is becoming a gold standard in the business world.


Who is Rebecca Carr?

Rebecca is the Chief Product Officer at SmartRecruiters. With over 15 years of experience in the HR technology field, Rebecca has led global product teams at Jobvite, Branchout, and Playdom. Her profound grasp of the customer problem space, and ability to deliver innovative products, expand product portfolios, and deepen customer relationships, give her a unique perspective in the industry.

DesignRush: How has SmartRecruiters evolved since its inception in 2010, and what was the last big milestone that ensured your hiring platform’s continuous success?

Rebecca: When Jerome Ternynck founded the company in 2010, SmartRecruiters was a free job distribution tool with some lightweight candidate management capabilities. By the time I joined in 2014, we were focused on trying to upsell this customer base on our new, and more robust, applicant tracking platform (ATS).

Now, we’re an enterprise talent acquisition platform with tools to source, convert, screen, and onboard candidates serving organizations from 10 to 500,000 employees around the globe. We were lucky enough to secure our Series E financing at a valuation of $1.5 billion in July 2021 and have continued to grow from there. This funding has allowed us to continue innovation, expand to new markets, and invest in powerful customer programs that help our customers achieve hiring success.

Your company highlights the idea of achieving hiring success. Can you elaborate on what it means and how SmartRecruiters facilitates it for its clients?

SmartRecruiters describes hiring success as the ability to hire quality talent on time and within budget. Our hiring platform supports faster and smarter hiring by enabling:

  • More usable experiences compared to other legacy hiring tools
  • Flexible configurations that scale globally without additional technical support and unlock agility for our clients
  • Deep connectivity with each customer's ecosystem of talent acquisition tools so they can maximize data access and get powerful insights to help them make better decisions

This translates to a native CRM, robust AI/ML features, workflow automation, integrated interview and assessment tools, and powerful dashboards and reporting capabilities for operations teams - all configurable at the local and global levels.

What are the standout features of the SmartRecruiters platform that differentiate it from other talent acquisition solutions?

SmartRecruiters has always differentiated itself in three ways:

  • Experience — Given the very different types of users that log into our platform each day, it’s important that we invest in consumer-grade experiences that make it easy for first-time users to quickly access our tool and take the actions they require without training and education. This includes embedded AI tools and insight which help these users accelerate mundane tasks, increasing productivity.
  • Flexibility & Scale — Without the cost burden of heavy consulting support or engineering, customers can adjust their integrations and configurations on demand, including compliance settings, rules, and data retention logic.
  • APIs — We expose a significant portion of our product to a set of RESTful APIs that enable a lot of customization for customers. Integrations can be painful, but we get a lot of feedback on the authentication, security, and coverage of our API infrastructure and continue to invest heavily in this area.

How is SmartRecruiters leveraging AI and automation to enhance the recruiting process?

We think about AI in a couple of ways at SmartRecruiters:

  • AI as a decision-making support
  • AI for task automation

Both of these streams of work provide customers with improved discovery, efficiency, and insights and are incorporated into every product team despite being managed by a central data and intelligence team.

This results in roadmap deliverables which include our SmartAssistant product designed to improve candidate discovery of both internal and external candidates, our SmartPal products which use NLP to educate candidates and employees pre and post-apply, and our AI co-pilots which automate tasks via virtual assistants in the UI.

SmartRecruiters logo on a white background

How does SmartRecruiters cater to the needs of global companies with recruitment needs in multiple regions?

Our platform offers Multi-Region Support, allowing companies to effortlessly configure processes, workflows, and settings tailored to each region, department, or brand. This adaptability ensures that the platform seamlessly aligns with unique location-specific requirements.

Additionally, we facilitate Global Integration by seamlessly connecting with widely-used job boards, social media platforms, and global HR systems, enabling the smooth flow of data and candidate management across borders.

We also provide custom and organization-level job fields, allowing the flexibility to create and customize job and candidate fields. This helps in capturing region-specific data while facilitating well-informed hiring decisions in diverse geographic locations.

With Multi-Lingual Support in more than 20 languages, we ensure a consistent and user-friendly experience for candidates and hiring teams worldwide, promoting effective global communication.

Lastly, our commitment to scalability ensures that our platform seamlessly adapts to the requirements of companies, whether they are large enterprises or small organizations. This is supported by our multi-data center strategy, active in three regions around the world, to align performance and privacy objectives with those of our customers.

What do you see as the biggest challenges in the recruitment industry today, and how is SmartRecruiters addressing them?

Legacy tools often pose significant challenges in the hiring process. Many of these systems hinder the efficiency of recruiters and complicate the entire recruitment process.

Cumbersome user interfaces can be a source of frustration for both hiring managers and candidates, resulting in poor system adoption. These systems often lack the flexibility required to adapt to an organization's unique hiring processes, leading to rigidity and inflexible workflows. The siloed nature of HRIS integrations can become a logistical nightmare, with limited integrations and difficulties in integrating with other critical applications such as HCM.

These challenges underscore the importance of modern, adaptable solutions that prioritize ease of use, flexibility, and seamless integration to streamline the hiring process and drive better results.

For companies just starting to prioritize their recruitment processes or looking to revamp them, what would you say they should do first?

For organizations at the initial stages of reevaluating their recruitment processes, the first step is a complete documentation of existing processes, with a keen focus on identifying areas in need of enhancement.

Equally critical is a thorough evaluation of the potential implications of these enhancements in the areas of usability, flexibility, and connectivity. Drawing inspiration from the experiences of other companies that have navigated similar transformations can be valuable. Formulating a well-defined vision for talent acquisition and quantifying costs, including both direct and indirect expenses, should be analyzed.

Lastly, engaging with vendor demos helps in aligning solutions with specific requirements, while the customization of an RFP underscores the emphasis on high-impact use cases.

With the rapid evolution of technology and shifts in the job market, where do you see the future of recruitment technology heading?

The future of recruitment technology will be marked by increased automation, data-driven decision-making, and adaptability to the evolving job market and workforce needs.

Who, where, and how people work will shift. Automation will extend beyond routine tasks to encompass predictive analytics, AI-driven candidate sourcing, and intelligent talent matching, allowing organizations to optimize their recruitment processes.

Employers will prioritize employee experience & internal mobility, ensuring a seamless transition from recruitment to onboarding and beyond. Proactive talent acquisition will involve building robust talent pipelines, strategic workforce planning, and continuous monitoring of industry trends.

Skills-based hiring will become the norm, with technology facilitating skills assessments and aligning candidate capabilities with job requirements, enhancing workforce agility. These strategies will be vital for organizations striving to attract and retain top talent in a competitive landscape.

Keep up with SmartRecruiters and check out more of our interviews with industry experts!

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