I like people who are disruptive and do things in different ways. People who challenge the status quo and don’t just do what everyone else does because thats the way things are done. A year ago today I first met Jerome at #TalentnetLive in SanAntonio. I know it was a year ago today because it was Maren Hogan and Crystal Millers birthday. (Happy Birthday Maren and Crystal.) I liked Jerome a lot. I thought he was a bit mad in what he was trying to achieve because no one had done it before and could see a few holes in the plan, but Jerome was oblivious to the holes and was focusing on the opportunity, and like I said, I like mad people who ignore the barriers.

Jerome’s plan was to build a fully functioning socially integrated A.T.S. and provide it for free for anyone who wanted to use it. Not freemium, with a very basic version or a trial period, but free forever. I couldn’t see at this point where he was going to be able to make his money, or that the product was sustainable beyond beta.

Jerome is driven by a belief that saw him launch the #ZeroUnemployment campaign. He doesn’t believe that the problem in the economy is a skill shortage, or a lack of jobs, but rather one of connecting the people who want jobs with the jobs that are available, and this is a problem he feels has been created by technology. The process of finding and applying for opportunities needs to be simple, with a process that is designed to suit the candidate as much as the employer. There is a bit of an imbalance here at the moment.
I don’t remember the exact number, but at #Talentnetlive Ternynck gave data around the average number of candidates applying for some fairly low-level service industry jobs requiring limited skills. In the current economy you would expect that number to be huge, but it was actually incredibly low, less than 5. Jerome spoke passionately about wanting to fix this, and to make it easy for people to connect and express interest. This is what Ternynck has to say about unemployment:

200 years ago there was no unemployment. Now, almost a tenth of our workforce isn’t producing. The root cause? An inefficient labor market in which finding the right talent is long, hard and expensive. Think about it. What would the economy look like if businesses had easy unlimited access to talent? How many more businesses, projects, jobs would be created?

And this is what he has to say about recruiting:

3m vacant jobs, 9% unemployment… That sucks
Recruiting, as a process and as an industry, is broken. But we can fix it. We live in a connected world in which hiring should be fast, it should be social, it should be fair… mostly it should be easy. Let’s make hiring easy.

Over the last year I’ve been watching his company SmartRecruiters evolve out of Beta, to see what he is achieving, and so far so good.
The business model is quite a simple one to understand. SMART Recruiters is built on an ATS designed for projects and SME’s, that includes full job posting functionality. Users post jobs to job boards and paid for media (including Facebook), and the commissions are paid by the media providers to Smart. The revenue is in the job posting and not the technology, and any company regardless of size get a full recruiting suite that includes applicant tracking system, job posting (that includes paid and free media, and automatic one-click posting to the job aggregators), job distribution in to social channels, a collaborative recruiting platform that enables hiring managers to make notes and rank candidates, analytics that show how paid for and free media has performed in the past for similar job roles, a searchable database of all resumes ever received, reporting and analytics that includes legal reporting, progress tracking and effectiveness through detailed K.P.I.’s and a recruiter dashboard that makes keeping on top of activity simple. Another of the features I really like is that employers can create an integrated career site from templates and a unique URL built with drag and drop functions. No need for expensive design or coding expertise. Each career site is mobile optimised, with the option to add apply through LinkedIn and or Facebook, there’s also a Facebook fan page apply button, WordPress plug-ins to post jobs direct to any page of a WordPress site or blog and job widgets that can display jobs anywhere. They seem to have most areas covered.

Ternynck is originally from France, though now based in the bay area of SanFrancisco. His background before founding SmartRecruiters is a bit like the history of on-line recruiting. He created e-recruitment business Mr.Ted in jan 2000.  Ternynck  developed the company into a leading global Talent Acquisition vendor with over 150 enterprise customers and 60,000 users worldwide supported by offices in Asia, Europe and the US. Gained worldwide analyst and market recognition for the MrTed Talentlink platform, a true multi-tenancy pure play SaaS leveraging advanced cloud computing architecture. MrTed was sold to Stepstone Solutions (Now Lumesse) in 2010.

Between Jan 2007 and Dec 99 Ternyck set up and grew Talents Technology in to one of the largest staffing companies in the Czech Republic and Poland before selling to Kelly Services.

Between October 1992 and December 19999 he founded and grew Accord Group ECE in to one of the largest staffing companies in Central and Eastern Europe, with 200 staff in 6 countries. I think it is this mix of background between traditional recruiting, the emergence of e-recruiting and now social recruiting that positions Ternynck in a strong position to understand how the market needs to change now. He also has a track record of significant success, which means you wouldn’t bet against him this time around.

I’m going to be seeing Jerome soon at #truSanFrancisco on August 15th – 16th. I’m looking forward to talking #ZeroUnemployment a little more. Come and join us if you are in the area, and as for Ternynck, I salute your efforts.



Jerome Ternynck – LinkedIn