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Interview with Jeremy Ovenden, Founder and MD of Hireserve

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Recruitment Buzz had the opportunity to sit down with Jeremy Ovenden, the Founder and MD of Hireserve. Here, Jeremy talks to us about his background, future business plans and recruitment trends for 2017 that we should look out for.

Can you give our readers a little background into yourself and your role within Hireserve?

I founded Hireserve back in 1997. Hireserve ATS started life as an ‘online candidate management system’ before developing into the cloud Applicant Tracking System it is today.

In the early days Hireserve consisted of me and my wife Karen, working from home and bringing up our young family. Today we have an international customer base and a team of very talented, inventive and clever people.

As Managing Director, I spend a lot of my time trying to look forward; anticipating new trends in the industry, developing new relationships and overseeing the direction of the product. If I’m honest, some days I’d like to swap my MD hat for a developer one and spend a day back being a techie!

What are your plans for the next five years, and where do you see your challenges and opportunities?

Well, we’ll be celebrating Hireserve’s ‘silver jubilee’ in five years’ time, which is exciting (and makes me feel quite old).

For any technology provider, I think one of the key challenges is to keep one step ahead of industry trends and competitors. Investment in R&D is essential – you can’t take your foot off the gas for one moment in this industry. You need to keep investing in your people to enable their skills, knowledge and motivation to flourish.

I think the GDPR is going to be a significant challenge for technology providers. It will also, however, present an opportunity for the suppliers who can enable customers to be compliant in the most flexible and proactive way possible.

AI is also going to take us on an interesting journey over the next few years. We can’t yet tell what level of artificial intelligence in-house recruitment teams will want, so the challenge (and opportunity!) will be how technology providers can meet that level of need quickly and effectively.

Looking back at your career, are there things you would have done differently? 

If I could go back and give myself advice in the early days when Hireserve was a young start-up, I would have told ‘younger Jeremy’ to manage his expectations more. To try and get a little less excited every time someone told him: “This time next year, Rodney, we’ll be millionaires!”  To always go in with his eyes open and step back to consider the other side’s motivations.

I think that’s still prudent advice for entrepreneurs , though of course it needs to be balanced with a healthy dose of optimism and can-do spirit.

What do you think are the most important qualities for success in business?

Well, the obvious qualities spring to mind: Determination. Passion. Biscuits.

In all seriousness, I think the most important thing is the team you have around you. Employ people you believe in – who you’re going to nurture and develop. Trust your people and give them the freedom to experiment in their work, to try new projects and continually feed their interest and knowledge.

In return you’ll get dedication, loyalty and a team who can give you their all and believe in your business the same way you do.

What are your top three tips for success?

  1. It is important not to get locked into a certain way of thinking. You’ll never be able to predict what’s going to come next, so be prepared to change your direction over the years – particularly if you work in technology!
  2. Invest in your people – both staff and customers. You can only build a business if you have foundations of strong relationships and trust
  3. Always keep your eyes open, your feet on the ground and take a dose of common sense with every daydream.

Are there any innovations that you believe should be adopted by the wider recruitment sector?

The first thing that springs to mind, naturally given our work, is that every in-house recruitment team and  agency should use a form of recruitment software to streamline and automate their hiring processes! (I hear Hireserve is quite good.)

For employers, I think we’ll see greater direct sourcing from the internet as a result of new skills-matching technologies. I imagine employers will be able to find potential hires simply from their digital footprint and some form of automatically generated ‘skills profile’ or rating.

What all agencies and employers should be doing (and to me this isn’t an innovation, it should just be an essential part of how organisations work) is providing faultless communications to all candidates. Timely, professional and consistent contact at each stage of their process should be adopted by every recruitment business and employer.

What trends should the Recruitment Industry look out for in 2017?

I’m not sure if you’d call it a trend, but I come across many employers who still don’t have proper career sites, let alone ones that enable candidates to browse and apply easily via a smartphone.

Mobile sounds like a very 2014/2015 trend – but we need to still be talking about it because a lot of employers still aren’t delivering it  and they’re losing talent as a result.

Do you foresee any issues that business working within the recruitment industry will be facing in the short/medium/long term?

The GDPR is going to be a big question mark for many recruitment businesses around sourcing candidate CVs and obtaining the legal level of consent.

For in-house recruitment teams, they’re going to want to talk in detail with their recruitment technology provider in order to understand how their ATS or recruitment CRM is going to process data in a GDPR compliant manner.

Technology providers will need to give their customers confidence that they can provide the necessary tools to manage it effectively and legally.

Do you have any predictions in regards to the impact of Brexit on your sector?

As a technology provider, I can’t think of too great an impact at this stage.

For employers I think it’s going to be a different story, depending on their sector and how much talent they recruit and retain from EU citizens.

Established in 1997, Hireserve is trusted by in-house recruitment teams across the world. Hireserve ATS is a powerful, agile and highly configurable Applicant Tracking System.

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Established in 1997, Hireserve ATS is an Applicant Tracking System trusted by in-house recruitment teams across the world to manage their recruitment processes online. Behind Hireserve ATS lies a powerful combination: Twenty years of HR, recruitment and technical experience, coupled with a team of forward-thinking and inventive developers who are always seeking new ways of innovating recruitment technology and processes.

With Hireserve ATS, you get more than just applicant tracking technology. The system is packed with tools to help you reduce your administration and better manager your workflows. You’ll get a
mobile-optimised careers site to bolster your employer branding and enhance candidate attraction. You’ll be able to build your own reports, to answer the questions you really need to.

Using Hireserve ATS means you’ll have access to thousands of configuration options, so you can tailor the system to meet your processes spot on.

And, most importantly to us, you’ll get a team of people who are passionate about helping you get as much as possible out of your recruitment technology.

Hireserve: Recruitment software with a human touch.

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