San Francisco-based startup SmartRecruiters is on a mission to end unemployment, according to Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jerome Ternynck, and it’s pursuing that aim by providing free recruiting software to small businesses. On Tuesday, it expanded its offering with a new tool: Mobile Career Sites.
The company created a mobile career website for each of its existing 10,000+ small business customers, free of charge, and Ternynck said it would build a free mobile career website for every company that uses its software.
“The mission of SmartRecruiters is to make hiring easy,” Ternynck said. “We believe that if we are able to make hiring easy and remove friction from the labor market, we have a good chance of eradicating unemployment.”
Ternynck explained that SmartRecruiters gets its revenue from value-added services –like candidate assessments and background checks — offered to small businesses that use its free software. SmartRecruiters has also partnered with job sites like Monster and Career Builder, as well as career aggregators, and it receives a percentage when SmartRecruiters customers use their services.
“Some people have compared us to an iTunes environment,” he explained. “You can use iTunes to manage your music library for free, but you can also use the iTunes store to buy on-demand as needed.”
It also aggregates data.
“As we continue to scale up, we are now seeing that we have enough volume that we can use data to actually make our customers smarter,” Ternynck said. “We have posted 35,000 jobs in the last eight or nine months, so it’s starting to get really relevant and you can see good trends of where to find what kinds of people.”
But small businesses don’t need to use those extra services to benefit from what SmartRecruiters offers.
Ternynck said that even as the U.S. struggles with an unemployment rate hovering around nine percent, there are about three million jobs available that have yet to be filled. The reason, he explained, is friction in the labor market — difficulty finding the right candidates to fill the open positions. In many cases, he said, small businesses have an opening, spend three to six painful months seeking a qualified candidate and then give up and eradicate the position.
“We are in this very weird situation where, on the one hand, you have the government and virtually every media outlet saying that if we want to get out of this crisis, we need to find a way to help small businesses hire people again,” Ternynck said. “We’re doing a lot of things to help small businesses create jobs, but a lot of small businesses are telling us, ‘we’re hiring, but we can’t find the right people.'”
SmartRecruiters is an attempt to reduce that friction by providing small businesses with the sorts of tools that large enterprises have at their disposal to reach appropriate candidates and manage the assessment process.
“Over the last month we have been building an arsenal of tools for small businesses to be able to source and manage candidates in an effective way,” Ternynck said. “You as a small business owner don’t need to think about where you should go. You don’t need to go to multiple places. We want to take complexity away from recruiting to make sure that small businesses, just like big ones, have access to the talent they need to grow.”
Mobile Career Sites is the latest tool in the suite. It allows small businesses that use the SmartRecruiters software to optimize their websites to make it easy to find their jobs online via mobile devices. SmartRecruiters developed a proprietary style sheet that Ternynck said makes viewing and navigating job data on a mobile device as natural as it is on a desktop computer.
Candidates who use the site can search for openings the same way they check their Facebook news feed and apply for a job with a single click using their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles.
“Smartphones are everywhere, so it makes sense that companies should target these devices like they do the desktop,” Ternynck said. “By optimizing career sites to improve the mobile experience, candidates are more likely to search from their smartphones and companies will find it easier to locate good candidates.”
Ternynck founded SmartRecruiters in September of 2010, and raised $1 million from angel investors in October 2010. Since then, Ternynck said small businesses using the free recruiting software platform have hired more than 17,000 workers. It launched its Zero Unemployment Movement in April 2011 with the goal of eradicating unemployment globally.
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