HR Tech Interview With Henri Nordström, CEO at Jobilla

Journey into Tech

Hi Henri, please tell us about your journey in the technology. What inspired you to start Jobilla?

Jobilla was started when we had challenges with recruiting Software developers and salespeople in our previous business. All the best people we hired were not actively looking for a job and they never applied to us. We needed to manually headhunt them and that was a very manual and time-consuming process. We found out that in the recruitment market there weren’t any cost-effective and reliable services for attracting the best talent. It felt that every company in the industry offered the same ineffective methods that had been used in recruiting for decades and these processes seem to provide constantly worse results when the competition of the talent has increased.

Could you help us establish the most contemporary definition for “Digital Recruiting”?

Digital recruiting is using technology for reaching, attracting, activating and hiring employees. For example, you could source your candidates from social media, collect applications digitally and manage your recruitment process with recruitment software.

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How is IT modernization closely knitted with the current trends in modern HR technology for recruitment?

HR technology is clearly far behind many other markets in the level of innovation. Still, recruitment processes are built to make recruiters’ lives as easy as possible at the expense of candidate experience. To succeed, the companies and the HR tech industry need to turn this setup the other way around to put candidate experience as the top priority. The evolution of social media and digitalization in the past few years has opened a lot of new possibilities to create such a candidate experience that wouldn’t have been possible just ten years ago. Currently, only a fraction of the technological potential is used in this industry. We think that already today and especially in the future, the IT modernization of recruiting is crucial to hire talent.

What are the major challenges in any digital recruitment journeys? How does Jobilla help customers identify these challenges and deliver optimal solutions?

People have become less patient and today’s processes are expected to work fast and smoothly. The digital recruitment process doesn’t help you find the greatest talent if those expectations are not taken into account in the recruitment process. Therefore, applying has to be made so easy that the potential candidate can open a connection with the company in a few minutes. This is far from the existing industry standards where the average time to fill an application is close to 3 hours. This is because the information about the candidate is collected by asking for attachments like CVs and a lot of open-ended questions that are really time-consuming to answer. Another problem is that recruiters spend a majority of their time going through unqualified candidates and thus the recruitment process takes a lot of unnecessary time.

Jobilla helps its customers to create an application process where user experience is optimized for both the candidate and the recruiter. The candidate is reached using social media and where they don’t need to make any effort approaching the company. They can apply in less than 3 minutes and the recruiter gets the candidates automatically categorized based on their potential for the position.

How important is it for organizations to understand the pain points associated with creating the “modern recruitment experiences” for the candidates? How do these pain points shape the future of workplace culture?

If companies continue using the old-fashioned methods that are still standard in this industry, they get constantly fewer and fewer candidates. The worst part is that when their competitors start using more modern approaches the best candidates will go to work for the companies using the better processes that require less time and effort from them. The old-fashioned process that takes hours gives such a bad first impression of the company that the best candidates can choose to go to work for the competitive companies that have better processes and thus look more agile as a workplace. Only the candidates that have a hard time finding a job take the time to get through these processes. This trend can already be seen when companies constantly struggle more and more to get candidates using these methods.

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What are the best and worst recruitment channels? How does Jobilla help customers identify these best practices?

The best channels are the channels where your target group spends time on anyway. The worst channels are the ones where the candidate goes only if they are actively looking for a job. Attracting these so-called passive candidates has been one of the hottest trends of the recruitment industry for years, but still, the majority of the recruitment budgets are allocated to the channels that reach only active job seekers. If your job advertisement is not where your best potential candidates, that are the passive ones, won’t know about your recruitment. One good question to ask yourself is; how many of the professionals you are looking for are unemployed at the moment? Only if you have a great number of unemployed qualified candidates in your industry job portals could get you the results you’re looking for.

Using social media and other channels where you can attract candidates when they are not actively in the job market require a completely different approach than when using channels where people are actively looking for a job. If these channels are used without improving candidate experience throughout the recruitment process companies often get even worse results than when using channels created for active job seekers. This is the reason why the majority of the companies using these channels fail to get the results they are looking for.

What does your product and engineering roadmap look like for the years 2022-2023? Which new regions would you be targeting to expand your market and why?

In the coming years, Jobilla focuses on improving both the candidate and recruiter experience by providing even more automation for the processes. This is utilized using machine learning and AI. Our goal is to make the recruiting process easy, fun, and effective for both candidate and the recruiter.

Which technologies are influencing the recent innovations in HR Cloud and Automation industry? How do you see the rise of emerging techniques in RPA, AutoML and AIops benefitting the whole HR technology industry?

I don’t think there is any single technology right now driving innovation in HR Automation. Rather, it’s the democratisation and availability of advanced technologies to small businesses that help drive change. Service providers and highly abstracted technologies are what helps us innovate and develop new smart solutions, with what is still a relatively small engineering team compared to global giants of our industry– it allows us to have an outsize impact. As for those specific techniques mentioned, I believe RPA to be the most widely applicable, not just within our organisation or HR, but generally within software services. RPA is also one that’s been around for a while – process automation is at the core of what a lot of software does, there’s just recently been a more clear shift towards coining new terminology and dedicating focus to it. AutoML on the other hand is a lot more narrow in its application scope when you’re dealing with HR – HR processes, especially hiring, naturally deal with a lot of personally identifiable information (PII). As such, finding applications for AutoML, or ML more broadly, is about finding places where we can ensure that we treat PII with caution, and build around use cases that can assist human decision making, rather than replace it. This is particularly relevant with the recent EU legal framework on AI, which also identifies the HR category as high-risk for AI systems, meaning there will be some strict guidelines and requirements for the application of any AI system, which is of course a core use case for AutoML. AutoML does make ML more accessible to small companies like ours, but is by no means any silver bullet, and any company evaluating it needs to be well aware of what it is and isn’t capable of, and whether it makes sense to apply. AIOps, lastly, is really something that’s become more and more relevant in fast-growing software companies in the last few years. However, with its application being within IT operations, it’s not so much bringing specific benefits to HR, but rather any software company looking to be data-driven in all parts of its business.

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Mike, this is my favorite part of the interview: You are highly acclaimed as a service provider for digital headhunting. Tell us about your Data Governance and Compliance management policy that secures your recruitment engine?

As for data governance, we look very critically at how we store the sensitive information within our systems, and the practices within our organisation for handling data. One core aspect of data governance is communication – both of the data itself, and of the policies surrounding their use. For our customers, this means they own all their data, and can control its access as they see fit. For us within Jobilla, it means centralising control of data and its access, ensuring correct integration of systems that need to share data, and developing clear and sensible policies. We align our practices with international standards and certifications for our information systems and organisational work, as a way to ensure compliance in a widely recognised fashion. We believe it’s important for us to stay ahead of the curve and to be a leader when it comes to how we work with data, compliance, and security, so we constantly work to improve our practices and to align with industry best practices.

Any tips or advice for the young professionals looking to join or are already working in the HR Technology industry. What skills would you hire for in 2021-22?

To succeed in this industry you need to have a broad knowledge of the latest technologies and be constantly updating your knowledge because these technologies change rapidly. Even more important than this is your experience and the knowledge of the HR industry itself. The right expertise in the market and experience working with the latest technologies gives you all the knowledge you need to succeed in this industry and create services that make life easier for the people working in HR.

Thank you, Henri! That was fun and hope to see you back on HR Tech Series soon.

[To participate in our interview series, please write to us at sghosh@martechseries.com]

Hiring talent has become one of the core problems for the growth of companies. Because of the increasing competition of talent companies don’t get enough qualified candidates using traditional methods. Jobilla started 2015 with a goal to create a predictable cost-effective solution to get candidates digitally. Jobilla managed to create a disruptive solution for this problem and is now growing rapidly from 1,9M revenue 2020 to estimated 4,7M revenue in 2021. Jobilla helps companies to attract passive candidates using social media and automates the recruitment process in a way that recruiters can spend their time only on candidates that match the criteria they are looking for.

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Jobilla revolutionized recruiting with the introduction of Digital Headhunting in 2016. Today, Jobilla leads the candidate-driven recruiting market with Jobilla’s recruitment software and Digital Headhunting services. Jobilla provides a seamless recruiting experience throughout the whole recruitment process by focusing on ease of use and result-driven recruiting tool development. Jobilla helps companies all around the world by increasing companies’ recruitment results and reducing recruitment costs.