This post is part of a series on creating friction-free brand experiences. Read our first article on friction to learn more about the concept and what the series aims to accomplish.

In a number of industries, friction is not always immediately apparent. It can take some digging to really pinpoint the barrier that is creating resistance and making it harder for us to achieve our goal. Or, the process seems to run so smoothly that the average person would never stop to think, “Isn’t there a better way?” Such is not the case with today’s topic: the recruitment industry.

Often fraught with frustration, job hunting and finding top talent can be extremely tedious, time-consuming, and, quite frankly, fruitless. Enter Hired, a company that aims to revolutionize the way people and companies make an incredibly important decision: where to work and whom to hire.

I recently spoke with Lauren Tilden, Client Executive at Hired, and she explains how this innovative company took on the challenge of turning a tired industry on its head and removing seemingly impassable barriers to success.

Making the Right Connection

The dynamic has shifted in the war for talent: Power now lies in the hands of the workforce, and employers are desperately looking for a way to attract and retain, attract and retain. But if this is true, why does the media continue to uncover widespread evidence of job discontentment, demographic marginalization, and soulless, time-consuming search processes?

Lauren succinctly laid out the problem: “The recruiting industry is a rare marketplace where both sides are unhappy.”

So, why are both sides unhappy? Friction. Plain and simple.

Lauren goes on, “It’s clogged with middlemen who don’t bring enough value to the process.”

A good hiring experience–for employers as well as for applicants–is all about connecting with the right people at the right time. Often, the sea of headhunters and third-party recruiters who exist in the space between applicants and employers will promise to make such connections effortlessly and consistently… and we all know, whether from direct experience or secondhand, this is rarely the case.

Hired is not your run-of-the-mill middleman. Lauren explains that Hired enables candidates to control the job search experience while simultaneously ensuring the clients—the job recruiters—are taken care of too. Hired does this through a “rigorous vetting process,” says Lauren, that reveals the best candidates for the position.

Hired removes the friction from the experience of connecting the right people in a maze of many-to-many relationships by being a diligent curator, evaluator, and matchmaker.

This candidate-first approach has paid off for the startup, which serves both candidates and employers in a two-sided industry and has expanded into six new markets in 2015, bringing Hired to a total of 11 markets, both nationally and internationally.

Why is Hired’s Model So Effective?

Plenty of recruiting agencies have come and gone before Hired, in an attempt to facilitate these connections, especially with a focus on tech and innovation disciplines. Many fail because they are too transactional; they don’t invest properly in talent or client relationships.

On the other hand, Lauren explains, all of Hired’s users are paired with Talent Advocates. Because these Talent Advocates aren’t driven by commission or required quotas, they can build authentic and strong relationships with users and help them actually find the right jobs.

“Users get unmatched transparency around salary, equity, and bonuses,” Lauren says, “and are able to compare offers concurrently so they can make their next career move with confidence.”

Hired creates small wins and smoother processes from end-to-end where both sides win in the long term.

What specifically sets Hired apart? What does the recruiting process look like for candidates, as well as clients, and where is the company working to eliminate stubborn friction from the overall experience?

1. Candidate Experience

The old way: Resume, cover letter, resume, cover letter, resume, cold email, interview, rinse and repeat… It’s cold and lonely in here.

The new way: Get in front of more recruiters as a known candidate with desired qualities, working the whole time with an advocate who knows that true success means finding the right job, not just any job.

2. Client Experience

The old way: Finding the right talent is exhausting, and whether you search for it by fielding applications, posting jobs hither and thither, working with an agency, or networking like crazy, it also costs a ton of time and money.

The new way: Hired actually works; it focuses and vets the talent pool for you, cutting through the noise, which means that any fee you pay is more than accounted for in terms of saved time and resources, superior talent, and a more fulfilled workforce.

3. Brand Experience

The old way: Many independent recruiters and agencies have serious drawbacks for both candidates and clients, whether it’s lackluster sites with obscure job postings or trying to cater to a broad, unfocused talent market across too many industries.

The new way: Hired lives out its values in both abstract and tangible ways–Hired has a clear, focused target market; it has great incentives that attract better talent; it champions exclusivity and accessibility in the perfect balance; and it makes recruiting enjoyable and valuable for everyone.

What’s next for Hired? The company plans to begin leveraging its leadership in the tech sector into other areas and become a true game changer. Lauren and her team have plans to continue expanding into new markets, new industries, and new job functions throughout 2016 to keep pace with demand.

Lauren shares with me her optimism for the future: “We are well-poised to take on the $700 billion recruiting market, and we are well on our way to becoming the de-facto solution for anyone starting a job search or any company looking to hire great talent.”

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What Can Marketers Learn from the Hired Story?

Reframe Conversations: Break through the Noise by Asking New Questions

In one of my favorite texts about marketing best practices for brands today, Adam Morgan advises “challenger brands” to create symbols of reevaluation to help them win against the “big fish” of their category. That is, find the friction points that consumers and clients have all become accustomed to or accepted as necessary evils, and ask what the world would look like if your brand could eliminate them?

Hired is honest about what’s wrong with recruiting agencies today, who continue to ineffectively tweak existing models. Hired asked the difficult question: “What would recruiting look like if we put the talent first?” Then, it actually built a business around the talent. In Lauren’s words, “Unlike traditional job searches, we bring the companies to the candidates.”

Be like Hired. Find a way in which your own brand can look at the category in a way no one else is, or has, and package it concretely so that it becomes actionable for the business itself, not just a cool way to talk about it.

Stay Focused: Traction and Scaling in Two-sided Markets is a Marathon

A struggle for many nascent brands today, as well as other brands we’ve worked with, is effectively balancing marketing resources in a two-sided market. The reality is that building that ecosystem takes time to do properly. Starting small gives brands a chance to understand each stakeholder group’s needs and pains, gain saturation in a single market, use tests and feedback to iterate and refine, and then expand geographically.

Hired’s approach is a great example. Lauren knew that small wins would propel the company, so Hired made “liquidity and instant gratification” two of its most important goals as it launched in a single local market at a time. In doing so, her team has managed to reach critical mass repeatedly within each market by controlling the brand experience.

What are your thoughts on eliminating friction in our digital world today? What new technology can brands leverage next? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to catch next month’s post in the Friction Free Series.


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