Recruitment & HR

Recruitment is among the biggest headaches for startup founders looking to scale.

Advertising positions may not lead to a supply of suitable candidates, while low application completion rates across the industry exacerbate the issue – leaving hiring teams frustrated, potential employees disillusioned and positions unfilled.

Enter inploi. The London startup, founded by Matthew de la Hey and Alex Hanson-Smith in 2016 to serve the recruitment needs of the hospitality and leisure sector through a marketplace, was forced to pivot hard when COVID wiped out its customer base and pipeline.

“Nobody was hiring in these industries, let alone investing in tech solutions,” recalls CEO de la Hey to BusinessCloud. “So we went to ground: everybody took a pay cut to figure out what we were going to do.

“Coming out of the pandemic, we realised that the labour market was fundamentally different to what had gone before… companies up and down the land, especially high-volume hirers at the enterprise level, didn’t have the tools or the expertise to [respond to the new expectations of candidates].

“We had spent the last three and a half years figuring out exactly how to address these issues in the context of inploi as a marketplace. We adapted that model and our technology towards providing a SaaS platform – or as we call it, software with a service – to help big enterprise customers innovate and future-proof their hiring.”

TalentTech 50

inploi, fifth on our inaugural TalentTech 50 ranking this year, “takes aim at the top of the funnel”, says the South African. “How do companies reach job seekers and candidates online, wherever they may be: across social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, through to more traditional job board aggregators and display advertising?” he asks.

Gaining the attention of the prospective candidate is only the first step, of course. Offering the example of client Wagamama, de la Hey expands: “TikTok has been extremely successful for them. 

“If I’m a person living in the right area within the right demographic and the right interests, I might see a TikTok ad asking me to apply to be a manager at its airport location. I click on that, come through to the Wagamama careers hub – our technology, but which sits on the client’s website [with full branding] – to find a beautifully designed space with lots of imagery and rich media explaining why Wagamama is a great place for me to work.

“If I click ‘apply’, I’ll then have a conversation with a conversational UI – a chatbot – to capture key data which is then piped straight into Wagamama’s back-end systems and enters the hands of a recruiter or hiring manager. 

“The alternative to using us might be landing from TikTok on a clunky careers page that doesn’t really work on my phone; I’ve then got to upload a CV which I haven’t got to hand; and open a new tab every time I want to learn more about the job.

“Our solution has super-high levels of web accessibility for people with neuro-divergency – very intuitive application processes using a chatbot to apply, but fully customisable down to job level. 

“It minimises the amount of money that companies are spending, and maximises their returns on investment.”

inploi – Powering the hiring journey, for everyone

Competitive advantage

De la Hey adds: “In an environment where there is an under-supply of available job seekers or candidates, those who really focus on this are able to develop competitive advantage when it comes to hiring people ahead of their competitors.”

Food contractor Compass Group has seen a 42% increase in job view-to-application completion thanks to inploi, according to de la Hey: “If you’re hiring across 3,000 jobs, as they are at any one time, there’s a huge impact on the volume of applications received and reduction in the time to fill roles.”

‘You can’t sprint forever – it’ll kill you’

Hanson-Smith is the company’s chief data and product officer. He and his teams have baked data analytics into the product which tracks the entire user journey, allowing for optimisation of the spend and activity at the top of the funnel. 

“A surprising number of big enterprises are still copying and cobbling together information from disparate sources, provided by a person incentivised to tell them a story – basing that performance on just the number of clicks that they’ve seen, for example,” says de la Hey. 

“Being able to objectively look at all this data via a single source of truth, from the point of first contact all the way through to a completed application and ultimately hire, allows you to get a much fuller picture and to build a much smarter talent acquisition engine.”

Scaling plans

inploi has raised two rounds of funding from friends, family and angels, but no venture capital as yet. It is nevertheless entering a scaleup phase after reaching a revenue milestone and hiring a growth team as well as its first professional salespeople.

“We’ve seen some pretty extraordinary growth from zero pounds of revenue to north of a million, driven by a small team which has dipped in to help across the business wherever needed,” says de la Hey with pride. 

“We’ve picked up some great blue chip clients who pushed us on to multi-year agreements, so we’ve proven our product-market fit. The growth team is looking to bottle that now and accelerate it. 

“The plan is to get this growth experiment to work through – to get the data points to prove that – then probably to raise a round of growth capital in order to grow much more aggressively.

“We have our sights on the States as  our next market.”

Why you should hire on potential, not experience