Cork tech firm aims to modernise recruitment process

The Hire Lab co-founders Maurice Buckley and Lorraine Scroope.

A Cork tech firm is aiming to modernise the recruitment process for employers, writes Trish Dromey.

Cork start-up The Hire Lab has harnessed the power of technology to streamline and automate the recruitment process for employers and provide an enhanced application experience for candidates.

Targeting the healthcare sector, government agencies and companies engaged in large volume recruitment, the Carrigaline-based company now has sales in the UK and Ireland and plans to make a move on Europe and the US within the next three years.

Set up in 2013, the company had an early success in 2016 when it won a contract, jointly with accounting firm BDO, to develop an intelligent matching recruitment solution for the Jobs Ireland brand.

“The contract with the Department of Social Protection was worth €4.5m over eight years,” said company co-founder Lorraine Scroope, pointing out that this was a huge achievement for a young company.

“This year we’ve gone on to win a contract with the NHS in the UK, which has been another major success for us,” said Ms Scroope, explaining that The Hire Lab is now partnered with the NHS Jobs website.

Shortlisted for a Technology Ireland award in the emerging digital company of the year category, The Hire Lab is, according to Ms Scroope, now achieving rapid growth.

“In 2017, our turnover grew by 40%, and this year we expect to exceed this.”

Currently employing a staff of 15, the company since last year has an office in the UK, a market which now accounts for 45% of sales.

In setting up The Hire Lab, Ms Scroope, who previously founded two start-ups, was joined by Maurice Buckley, who had 30 years in the technology industry and had previously worked for Motorola.

The establishment of The Hire Lab was prompted by two realisations — one was that recruiters who were

basing their interview choices on CVs were not getting the information they needed and were wasting their time

interviewing unsuitable candidates.

The second, said Ms Scroope, was that candidates were often being badly treated by the system.

Candidates were complaining that their CVs werefalling into a black hole, and that they frequently never heard back fromemployers.

Signing up with the New Frontiers programme in Tralee, the founders set out to develop technology to improve the process “We started with the idea and talked to employers and multinationals. All of them said that dealing with CVs was not giving a good insight into candidates and that candidates were being treated poorly because of a lack of time and resources.”

By the end of the year, The Hire Lab had developed a minimum viable product and landed their first few clients, which included Ibec and Enterprise Ireland.

Five years on, the company has a solution which automates the recruitment process and includes tools which allow employers to match and filter CVs, carry out language, psychometric and skills testing, and also conduct

interviews online.

“We provide a candidate portal which ensures a great brand experience for applicants. It handholds them through every stage of their hiring journey — from application and assessment to interviewing to offer right through to full contract management and onboarding,” said Ms Scroope, adding that The Hire Lab is the only recruitment system with a candidate centred philosophy at its heart.

Back in 2014, The Hire Lab raised €500,000, half from Angel investors and half from Enterprise Ireland and used the funding to set up operations in Carrigaline with a staff of eight.

Since winning the contract with the Department of Social Protection in 2016, The Hire Lab has moved to Carrigaline and taken on over 30 customers including recruitment firm CPL and Harvey Norman in Ireland as well as the designer house Mulberry in the UK.

The focus for 2019 will be on the UK, where the company will be paying specific attention to the healthcare market. Chief executive Maurice Buckley expects sales contribution there to grow to 60% next year.

Aiming to double its workforce during 2019, the company is already in discussions with government agencies in Denmark, Sweden, Scotland and Canada and is planning to enter the US market by 2021.

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