Podcast: Building Recruiting Tools for the Digital World

Candidately Screen

Mark Feffer: Welcome to PeopleTech, the podcast of the HCM Technology Report. I’m Mark Feffer. My guest today is Jan Jedlinski, co-founder and CEO of Candidately. They describe themselves as builders of a digital storefront for staffing and recruiting teams. The idea is to prepare them for the day when even online recruiting transactions have a consumer-like experience to them. He’ll take us through what that means.

This week’s conversation is sponsored by UKG. Combining the strength and innovation of Ultimate Software and Kronos. Together, they’re committed to inspiring workforces and businesses around the world. Learn more at www.ukg.com.

Jan, welcome. Tell me about Candidately. What does it do?

Jan Jedlinski: Sure. So we founded Candidately a couple of months ago actually. It’s a pretty new product. We call it the digital storefront for staffing and recruiting companies. So what Candidately does specifically, it solves currently two use cases. One use case is candidate presentation. So we help staffing account managers and recruiters to present candidates that they are submitting to their customers in a digital format. So when you look at the current process today, an account manager or recruiter would typically attach a couple of resumes to an email and send it to the customer, go back and forth, and follow up with the customer about those submissions to try to get some feedback. It’s a pretty cumbersome process and pretty old school.

Jan: So we are sort of transforming that into a digital experience. So the customer essentially now, gets a digital link that they can click on, view a digital version of the resume, quickly get feedback through a thumbs up, thumbs down button, have a chat to interact with the account manager. On the other hand side, the account manager that is presenting those candidates is actually able to see analytics. If the customer has actually viewed the resumes, if they are viewing them right now, they would have a nice way to sort of interact with their clients. This essentially forms one use case of what we call the digital storefront.

Jan: The other use case is candidate marketing. So when you look at the staffing market today, typically if you are a traditional staffing company, you would have your website. Maybe you have existing customers that you interact with. But most of that is done via email and usually request forms on a website. So when you look at the buying process for an employer interacting with a traditional staffing firm, that’s pretty manual. So there is no digital way to basically review candidates, find candidates, interact with the person to schedule an interview compared to actually a couple companies that are on the market already, but are now more prominent, like an Upwork, or a Fivver, or an online staffing company that basically creates a much, much better buying experience for the customer to access talent.

Jan: So basically, what we are trying to do is help the traditional staffing and recruiting companies transform their business into this digital buying experience, meaning that when they are shortlisting candidates, if they have candidates coming up assignment, if they have candidates that they have interviewed but not placed, create those Candidately links that they can share with their customers to give those customers an easy way to search and find candidates, request interviews, and essentially interact with the staffing firm in a more digital way that they do today. So those are the two use cases that we are solving today, but we’re building on top of that, and we’re going to build even up to the point where the staffing company can actually charge their customers through links, collect payments, and so on.

Jan: So we are essentially transforming a traditional staffing firm into a digital platform and helping them to stay ahead of the curve with what’s going on in the market currently.

Mark: Now, is this whole approach rooted in your experience with VMS because-

Jan: It is, yeah. So we started in the market a couple of years ago actually as a staffing company, and then we moved towards building technology for the industry. Our first product is actually what we call VMS Lite. So a very lite version of a traditional VMS that staffing companies are actually using. So over the last two and a half years, we’ve been in touch with hundreds and actually thousands of staffing companies, owners, recruiters, and account managers. From there, we actually learned why the need is there for the new product, Candidately. A lot of the features that we have build, a lot of the feedback that we got over last years, we incorporated into the new product. The interesting thing is when you look at the staffing market overall, 400-plus billion dollars.

Jan: On the left-hand side, you would have the enterprises working with the VMSs and the MSPs. So you have already a big chunk of the entire market being digitally transformed through software like VMS, through processes of the MSPs, and sort of consolidated on the enterprise side. Then you have maybe on the right-hand side of the market, the executive search and then sort of very high touch work. Then the rest of the market in the middle, couple hundred billion dollars is pretty much spent that is done with staffing firms and recruiting firms with their direct clients with almost using the old technology outside of the staffing companies, traditional ATS. So we see a huge opportunity to essentially capture a piece of the market with Candidately that will help the traditional staffing firms that are not working with MSPs and VMSs, that are not necessarily executive search firms, but are doing essentially traditional staffing and recruiting business also be more digitized.

Jan: So it’s like we’re fitting in essentially between the current players in the market and are integrating with the applicant tracking system that the staffing company is using.

Mark: It sounds like you’re working on both front and back end. Not only providing tools for identifying and managing candidates, but also for eventually billing clients and handling the business [inaudible] as much as [crosstalk].

Jan: Correct. Yeah. So right now we are handling the… 99% of the stuff that we are building today is a front-end, so it’s presentation. It’s how the candidate looks to the customer, how the mobile experience is, how the interaction with the chat and feedback function is, how sort of the steps from actually sending a candidate to the client, to scheduling interviews, scheduling skill tests, going through a process of actually making the hire. But we are moving towards the process of actually basically transacting, meaning tracking times, helping to track times for the staffing firm, sending invoices up to the point of actually billing the customer, making advanced payments.

Jan: So there is a long road for us, I think. We think that there is a lot of opportunities in the market specifically after COVID. Over the last couple of years, everybody in the staffing industry was talking about digital transformation and what’s going to happen. I think COVID has just accelerated the entire process for at least five years. So now, we see that there is a huge opportunity for the staffing market to be more digital and transform as a whole. So yeah, we are sort of on the forefront on the technology side of that.

Mark: Did COVID impact your plans and your development schedule at all, one way or another?

Jan: We definitely had some pushback when we realized COVID is happening, early 2020. When we got the clients from customers that were in the pipeline, specifically for the VMS product. When we were speaking with companies in the market, they were putting basically everything on hold. So there was definitely at least six months that we had some pushback, generally from the market on all fronts because nobody was thinking about a new technology. Everybody was thinking, “How can we save our business, and how can we actually get out of this?” But then, very soon the conversations turned. So there was definitely some time that we had that was impacted, but very soon, it turned. I feel like, now, everybody’s full steam ahead on what will happen next, how can we improve our processes, what technology can we implement to be faster, and actually use the time now when the market starts to recover to be on the forefront.

Mark: Okay. Now, if we could climb a little bit higher. You’re in a pretty interesting place in terms of seeing the whole business, talent acquisition. You are talking to your customers, employers all the time. What are you seeing in the market right now? Things seem, on the one hand, kind of unsettled because people are starting to get back to something like normal after the pandemic, but we’re not completely there yet. How do you think that’s impacting the whole dance if you will, between candidates and employers in the employers’ decision-making?

Jan: Yeah. So there is mixed opinions of that. When I speak actually with Mike, our customers in the market, and their customers, and everybody in the industry, some are saying that the business is growing. Everybody’s hiring. They had the best months of their last 15 years over the last 2 to 3 months. It feels like the business is booming. So it feels like the employers are going back at it and starting to hire again. But on the other hand side, you will have the staffing firms complaining about talent shortage like they did over the last couple of years already. So I feel like that conversations didn’t change, right? Although the unemployment rates were pretty high, the talent shortage is still there. So there’s definitely challenges on finding the right talent for the right roles specifically on the staffing sites.

Jan: So I feel like yeah, you’re right. We are opening up and everything feels like it’s getting back to normal. I feel like, generally, staffing will have a big upward trend like you would have after every crisis when temporary staffing is sort of recovering and actually is growing much, much faster because people or employers are generally tending to hire flexible work or sort of bridging the gap between full-time employment and hiring a contractor for a year or two before everything settles down. But I feel like after this pandemic, it will be even more of a push because when you look at how employers are currently hiring, it becomes more international. So you can see things like Employer of Record and payroll companies that are helping businesses to hire people internationally and employ people internationally on a legal basis. Booming. There is so much fundraising going on currently in the market for those type of companies.

Jan: So I feel like just the world has opened up in terms of opportunities where you can get talent from, and the employers are open to it. You can basically hire anywhere. I think that it’s going to change the staffing game, as well, because if you look in the past, if you were a staffing company that was maybe operating in New York, you were probably mostly hiring people in New York or working with customers in New York. Suddenly, you can serve customers anywhere in the world and then employ people anywhere in the world for those customers. So I think the market is going to be super interesting over the next couple of years. I think we are just at the very beginning of it.


Jan, thank you very much for being here.

Jan: Yeah. You’re welcome.

Mark: I’ve been talking with Jan Jedlinski, co-founder and CEO of Candidately, and I’ve been doing it here on PeopleTech, the podcast of the HCM Technology Report. We’re a publication of Recruiting Daily.

PeopleTech is a part of Evergreen Podcasts. To see all of their programs, visit www.evergreenpodcasts.com.

And to keep up with HR Technology, visit the HCM Technology Report every day. We’re the most trusted source of news in the HR tech industry. Find us at www.hcmtechnologyreport.com. I’m Mark Feffer.

Image: iStock

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