I was going to title this post Mr.Bean, but that didn’t quite match up to the message I want to portray. There is no similarity between the calamitous character portrayed by Rowan Atkinson, and the C.E.O. of on-line recruiting technology Broadbean. Rowan Atkinson aside though, it is a title that fits because Robinson lives and breathes Broadbean. 
Robinson founded the company in 2001. He is a career recruiter, and it was his desire to find more efficient ways of working through the emerging on-line technologies for the recruitment business he founded MECS Europe Ltd. Prior to founding MECS, Robinson was the MD of Compuvac  growing revenues from £1Mn to £25Mn. Robinson was MD of the business between 1989 and 1998. Robinson has a passion for recruiting, citing the industry as the only one that you can legally make six figures from a standing start, with no experience, and have fun doing it. It is the desire to do things better that led him to develop the product that ultimately became Broadbean.

Broadbean are one of those companies that seem to be omnipresent around the industry. Nearly all of the recruiting businesses I have been involved with have been Broadbean customers. They are the market leaders in the job posting market, with over 35,000 customers around the world. Broadbean make job posting to multiple job boards and response management quick and simple. Robinson developed this product for MECS, and was quick to recognise the potential for the industry as a whole.

Under Robinson’s leadership, Broadbean have been a constantly evolving business. The product range now includes a whole range of social, referral and mobile options as well as comprehensive search products. Robinson is a big believer in developing new products, and is quoted as saying:

”I love creating new products and solutions for the industry. Success benefits everyone,”  

It is this attitude to innovation and customer service that has propelled Broadbean to the top of the market and kept them there. When you speak with Robinson, it is these two areas that really stand out. He talks and thinks like a recruiter, and understands that as the recruiting market evolves, so the technology that supports it needs to at the same pace, and that means constantly finding or inventing new ways of doing things better. Having been a recruiter for so many years, Robinson understands the importance of keeping customers happy through responsive customer service. recruiters work under intense pressure and tight deadlines, the companies that support them need to work at the same pace, and make sure that they are fully supported, because it is service that differentiates suppliers.

In oct 2008 Broadbean were acquired by Associated Northcliffe Digital, the digital consumer division of the Daily Mail and General Trust. Robinson was keen to stay with the business, but was keen to take on a new challenge and build something new. The solution was to change his focus and move to the U.S. in order to establish the Broadbean Band in a new continent. The challenge has clearly suited Robinson, setting up an office in Newport Beach, Orange County and quickly building a team. It has been great to witness a UK brand going global, with additional offices in Australia. Robinson clearly relishes the challenge of building businesses, and speaking with him, I suspect that he draws paralells between the US set up and the early days with Broadbean, when they were first known as Firebean.

Earlier this year I ran a post announcing the launch of the Evenbase Group, set up to encourage collaboration between the on-line recruitment businesses of DMGT, which also includes Jobsite. Robinson sits on the board of Evenbase, bringing his own take on on-line recruiting to the group. Away from the business he dedicates his time to the other loves of his life, family and football, where he coaches kids teams and supports Totenham.

I always enjoy his company, and look forward to seeing him again at #Trusanfrancisco later this month. He has been there and done it in terms of on-line recruitment, and is clearly back for more. I salute his and “The Beans” achievements so far, and wish him well in his quest to conquer the recruiting world with the Bean.


Robinson On LinkedIn