Storytelling about Recruitee with Perry Oostdam

Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 83. This week we have storytelling about Recruitee with Perry Oostdam. During this episode, Perry and I talk about how practitioners make the business case or the use case for purchasing Recruitee.

Perry is extremely humble and has created an impressive product. His passion to build and continuously improve the ideal hiring tool really comes through during the podcast.

Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.

Thanks, William

Show length: 25 minutes



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William 0:26
Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you are listening to the Use Case Podcast. Today we have Perry on from Recruitee. We’re gonna be talking about his firm and, and really kind of exploring the use case that people make for buying Recruitee the software. So Perry, would you do us, the audience a favor, and introduce both yourself and introduce Recruitee?

Perry 0:52
Thank you, William. Thanks for me. Great to be here. Yeah, sure. So a little bit about Recruitee. First, Recruitee is a spin-off company from GeoRun. And it’s a mobile gaming company I co-founded in 2012, together with Pawel Smoczyk, a co-founder. And we were actually kind of struggling ourselves in hiring, seeing how occupied our agenda was with recruitment. So kind of like from our own needs, we started to build it, the ideal hiring tool we kind of foresaw back then in 2012. Already. Sorry, 2012 was around 2015. Was actually when we started Recruitee, so not too long ago, actually.

So long story short, Recruitee for us is a mid-market solution for hiring. So consider everything you need to know in an ATS in one place, including a mobile app, and everything really focused on the end-user. So mid-market soaks for us. And maybe just a little bit of me, I live in Amsterdam at the moment. And our companies has been remote already. So half the team’s in Poland with Pawel, where he has the technical team, and then the marketing sales activities are in Amsterdam, and we have an office in New York, actually since April last year.

William 2:05
And Perry are you Dutch?

Perry 2:08
I’m Dutch. Yeah.

William 2:10
So a question because I’ve been to Amsterdam, about 1000 times. Do folks from Amsterdam actually go to some of the tourist traps? Or do they avoid the tourist traps? I’ve always wondered about that?

Perry 2:24
Like in any major cities, actually, they are things you tend to avoid, to be honest,

William 2:28
Yes. Okay. That’s every time because I thought you know, visited the Van Gogh Museum and other things like that. I’ve always wondered like, Are there other Dutch people here or they just avoid this altogether? But yeah, so Recruitee, just for everyone, when they’re looking this up, it’s recruit so spell out recruit. And it’s two E’s at the end of it. So as we talked about Recruitee just, that’s, that’s how the spelling goes.

So Perry, let’s talk a little bit about it, I love the origin story of basic basically trying to fix this because you tried to fix it for yourself. What was the first thing when y’all you know, was started down this path? What was it that you wanted to fix? Was it the interview? Was it, was it just tracking? You know, people going through a process? The funnel itself? Like, what I mean, cuz you’re gonna get into all of it obviously. But what was the one thing that you really, you know, that really struck you and Pawel that like, Okay, we got to fix this.

Perry 2:40
Yeah, it’s funny that you mentioned the word funnel, because that was exactly it. I remember, you know, by being a remote company from day one, we had to organize our work online. So Paul, and I very much used to work in project management tools that tend to organize to work efficiently online, rather than having offline solutions, of course. So for us working in the cloud has been something we’re used to in and very much, you know, tend to streamline our efficiency. So when actually starting to hire, we figured, wow, this is not only a very complex process, with so many bits and pieces floating around, there wasn’t a real nice way for us to organize and streamline that that particular process and then in particular, the funnel that you mentioned, so that the very first MVP we built, the very minimal viable product we built was exactly that funnel.

You know, had like a Trello board for those who are familiar with Trello with this project management tool, and it was literally building these drag and dropping just a way to organize the candidates. And really initially just build it kind of for ourselves, we’d use it ourselves internally. And then left to right startups around the started to use it. And it really was, you know, a process of adding feature by feature and then getting, you know, slowly into the more complex requests, of course, as customers kind of joined of different sizes and geographies. But really the core of the need for us, like how do we organize our process efficiently? That was the core to us.

William 4:54
I love it. So as customers started to kind of come on. So now you have a product and you’re selling it And you’re going about that? How did you prioritize the things that you know, you want to build for yourself? Because you’re solving your own problem, but also the things that the customers will make requests? How did you balance that out? And what got prioritized?

Perry 5:15
That, that’s a very good question. I think this is the most critical question when you consider your SaaS software in general, is that how do you you know, listen to customers keep on building what they want, while not creating a feature monster, as we kind of joke around, you know, we don’t want to become that legacy tool that we use to make fun of five years ago, we started this, like a feature creep. So the way we look at this, and we get, we have about two or three thousand tickets for every two months coming in, in terms of customer feedback.

So we have various ways to we get this feedback. It’s internally and the company employees and kind of like our partners can shoot in tickets. And then we have a roadmap publicly available, people can be shooting ideas and output tickets. So we’re very transparent about, you know, the feature roadmap, and I think we want to we’re thinking about even building in a brainstorm phase of the process. And then we get all these tickets in. So we’re talking about thousands thousand tickets per quarter coming in. And then we literally go and rank them.

When okay, what could have the biggest impact on our customer base, of course, what could have an impact on the revenue, but also just what moves the needle in terms of product innovativeness going forward. So we have a couple of these rating scales, we order it and we tend to let the market do the work and turn it up forwarding and you know, being involved in that process.

William 6:31
So fast forward to today. And, and you’re showing Recruitee to, to folks. What is what’s the thing that I caught the wow factor, the aha moment or there’s several different kind of phrases. But it’s when you’re demoing something for somebody, and all of a sudden, they’re like, stop, I like, go back to that thing? You know, what, what is the thing that people love right now, or that you’ve seen that they seem to fall in love with Recruitee? Right now?

Perry 7:00
Right, right. I think it’s you when you get into the tool. And for us, it was important that everybody in the company, no matter reviewer, a hardcore recruiter has been doing this for years and years already, whether you’re new to recruitment, like invited by an HR director to just help on for us, it’s important that someone goes on the platform. You know what some tutorials follow the onboarding guide, and then after clicking around for, let’s say, a couple hours, see something like, wow, you know, I understand what this is. And the way we do it is about having example reports into a platform, having things ready, you know, like fill pipelines with example data. If you look at your career site, for instance, then we have like demos ready. So that aha moment comes to us. You know, after a couple of hours of kicking around, watching tutorials playing around and seeing like, Okay, I understand what a full system could look like. Yeah.

William 7:52
I love that. And um, so the market that y’all go after. Give us a little bit more about what is the kind of where you’ll fit best?

Perry 8:02
Yeah, yeah, good one, because it is a competitive market. Of all people, you should know, the way we see it, and we found our ideal spot. I think we landed somewhere that we honestly couldn’t foresee five years ago when we started it. But it’s, we started really low market. We started at $19 per month. So it’s almost like B2C behavior. If we look at a company initially, very much in on inbound marketing very much on now on the volume play, you could say. And then by adding features and the server start to mature a little bit, we kind of naturally moved upmarket a bit.

That doesn’t mean enterprise as you know, the big brands were talking about, you know, 100,000 of FTE, I think we found our sweet spots somewhere around 200 to 500, or even 1k of FTE. That’s our real sweet spot, doesn’t mean we have customers, you know, from 10 FTE, all the way up to, you know, 100,000 FTE. I think that’s the strong point that we can serve all those customers. But it’s typically we tend to focus on let’s call it mid-market fit size companies where it’s very much about the sale servers, and where they do appreciate the onboarding support if needed. But then again, the software should be intuitive enough to offer yourself

William 9:14
I love that. Because you and Paul are in Europe, obviously, going after European customers is easy for you. But also, you know, you slip over into America and its massive SaaS market in consumption too. So I’m assuming you got customers all over the world. The question I want to ask is about questions you’ve gotten from recruiters and hiring managers need, maybe even candidates, about language, about, you know, being things being in their language and also in multilingual? Yeah. If you’re working in France, you know, turns out they want things in French. If you’re working in Germany, it turns out they want things in German. Little requests like this. Yeah, that’s right is crazy. What have you, first of all, what have you heard from your customers and prospects? And then what shows approach to that?

Perry 10:08
Yeah, no definitely. Like to us, I think it’s an advantage that we originate from Europe because we’ve had to adapt quite quickly to customers that are bilingual that actually have, you know, offices in multiple countries. So quite early on, I think after two years or so we had the request of customers saying, hey, I need my job offers to be available in couple of languages. Now, how can I add that? So we now have over 3,000 customers in more than 75 countries, actually, 60% is in Europe, it’s actually quite a lot. Also, in the US, we think about it. But coming from Europe, we quite quickly added German, French, you know, Dutch, English to the platform. And then on top of that, we add the ability for customers to add their own languages to the tool, so they can actually go, you know, as far as I think 10 languages, for instance. So we had to adopt basically, in order to serve the local markets. Yeah.

William 10:58
Well, I think it’s, I think it’s good for the candidate. I mean, if we flipped a flip this and just talking about them in the hiring process, you know, it’s a better experience. Again, if you’re Dutch, you’d like to see things in Dutch. I mean, I think every, English does cross a lot of things. And pretty much as I’ve traveled Europe, everyone tolerates English. I don’t know if they love it, but they tolerate it, but they other than the French, but they, but they, they’d rather speak in their natural language, which makes it makes all the difference in the world.

The question, you know, in terms of kind of that where in the workflow you sit. So there’s, let’s say, there’s sourcing, you know, way out here then possibly recruitment marketing or some type of CRM or, you know, something like that, or features and functionality that do the basically how do we drive candidates to apply. Whatever that is, and then there’s onboarding on the other side of you. So once someone said yes to an offer letter, and they become an employee, they go on to this other process? What do you all? First of all, if, if I’ve described that process correctly? Where y’all can sit in that? And what are you connected to? Like, what do you find yourself connected to for your customers?

Perry 12:15
Yeah, yeah, I think it’s crucial to be part of an ecosystem. So we had to make a decision, you know, really a couple years ago is, are we going deeper in ATS market, and really, you know, focus on more mature features in ATS space? Or do we go wider in terms of offering? So we decided on a combination of both. So we have our marketplace set up with or hundreds or 1000s of integrations, think about job boards, think about background checking tools, think about e signature tools. So we have to be able to offer the full suite to our customers, let’s say. And then we are selling focused really on the ATS part. And since actually, February this year, we announced a partnership with Providence, and our sister company Simba was in the core HR system from the Nordics. So this, this was for us pretty clear. Like we also figured, okay, one day left, right, we should be building core HR we should be offering this week like you mentioned the full process. So we can now do it together with the Simba. I think you have both, you know, the recruitment, as well as the onboarding cords are in one family at least.

William 13:19
I like that there’s and here in the States, there are a couple of companies that have done relatively well that having a partnership and having a like said deep integration, I think it helps customers because they can just, they don’t have to worry about that data, you know, have to be re-entered and errors and things like that. So take us through kind of the sales process, if you will. And specifically the questions I want to ask you are from practitioners, what would you like to hear more in the buying process from practitioners? Like, what types of questions or what questions would you like to hear from them? And the opposite is also true. What would you if you could, what would you love for practitioners to stop asking me about?

Perry 14:09
Okay, I think we maybe it’s because we’re in Europe, but we tend to get a lot of questions surrounding security and things about compliance and security. This, of course, is super, super important. But we also see it sometimes getting over complicated. You know, it takes a really big piece in the buying process these days. So we have, for instance, we made white papers, which is over 60 pages, you know, we have like webinars, we have ebooks. All are all not just to show compliance but also go into pretty much detail to just to satisfy that need in a buying process. That’s something we see as extremely important.

Something which we don’t hear often funny enough questions on you know, how long does it take me to onboard my people? You know, if you think about it buying in recruitment software, or I guess any song for that matter? A simple question here. Can I get a demo account to play around with instead of just you know, sit back and see a demo, just do it yourself? What is the big difference between a tool that’s up the screen in, you know, one or two weeks or till there takes you four months to set up? Right, including, you know, any new stuff to onboard? So in terms of getting a, you know, giving a tip to potential buyers, I would definitely seek you know, to play around and test how long it takes to set up. Yeah.

William 15:21
It gets me to think about training, you know, like, again, with any software, you’re gonna need some level of training, right? So what do you What’s your approach, you know, with, with clients, especially new clients, how do you start that process, the integrations, the implementation, but lets you know, the most important, let’s, let’s think about how you go about training new users to the software.

Perry 15:48
Yeah, it’s funny enough, about a quarter of all our customers signing up, they actually don’t go through any sales channel, they kind of onboard themselves. So it’s a self-service, even though we tried to get ahold of every customer signing up, or every demo requests or so we just can’t always get a hold of someone, because of the times over simple people don’t pick up and they actually become a customer anyway. So I guess that kind of shows that there’s about a quarter that signs on, goes on to play around, then just watch a tutorial, some initial guidance, you know, like, I think the tool very much speaks for itself from that perspective. And then there’s another part which, which actually needs a bit of guidance on you know, what should be on board? Or what are different roles, you know, who should have what axis, et cetera? And then we have a customer success team that helps you build a bit of a timeline, you know, in which week, should we do what in the upcoming month or so.

William 16:37
I love that, well, that speaks to the intuitive nature of the software, if someone can, you know, buy it and use it without you that that’s, that’s a huge compliment. And then if they need to, they can reach out to you. And you can obviously help them as it is. We talked a little bit about integrations and your marketplace. Let’s go back to that for just a second. The marketplace itself. These are other you know, you said job boards, these are background checks, assessments, etc. So they’re already pre-integrated. Customers can then pick the things that they want or not pick anything. That then, if true, tell us about what you think the future looks like, for y’all.

Perry 17:24
Yeah, it’s, it’s very interesting, because we, like I mentioned, we have hundreds of partners. Think about just everything you need surround your recruitment process, where does background checks or, you know, e signature type of things. But what’s more interesting is we actually looked at the behavior of our customers in the marketplace. And there’s something which is a kind of behavior, which is very discovery-like. So.

So people actually tend to look around and click on integrations they don’t have an account with yet. So you can imagine a couple of issues or two tools. So it seems that our users are actually looking around the marketplace and kind of like just a ratio, but the mystic on Hey, what’s out there? Is there any sourcing tool I should look at or any, you know, any candidate marketing tools, like CRM you mentioned or so. And that’s interesting, because seeing this behavior, we’re actually you know, approaching partners proactively saying the key could be integrated, because I think we can actually bring relief, and I think that it brings value to our customers. So I think the marketplace could be a very big ecosystem that’s beneficial for these partnerships.

William 18:27
I love that. And, again, pre-integrated, so you don’t have to worry about that as a, as a practitioner, you don’t have to worry about I like this and I like that. How do I, how do I get them to talk to one another? So I so I love that. Alright, let’s talk about competition for just a second because this is a competitive market. Who do, who do you kind of? There are two parts to this question. Who do you look at Recruitee? And say, we want to be like them? And who, who does clients? if they if they, you know, tell you, who do they compare you to? In terms of like in the, in the marketplace? Who they come and say why, you know, we’re looking at, you know, pick a company, I’m not gonna, I won’t give you a name. But we’re looking at so and so as well. So if those are two different companies, what is that?

Perry 19:17
Yeah, definitely, I think we see two types of competitors, we have like the more international oriented companies, which is like, you know, the likes of Smartrecruiter Greenhouse, Lever, Workable. You know, these players are very well established, and we have a lot of respect for them in terms of, you know, an operative of the solutions. I think it’s a big compliment. I mean, we’re humble Dutch guys here to actually play with the big boys and to also win pitches from those guys is, I think, a big compliment for us. So there’s, those are definitely companies we look up to as well. And then another set of competitors or something we call more of the local heroes, and that’s something we come across even more often than these international oriented companies, which is in French or in Germany, or maybe Every country-specific ATSs. So the competition in Europe I think is more local-oriented. And then when we have, you know, customers that tend to focus on more international markets for candidates, then it’s it’s the names I mentioned earlier. Yeah.

William 20:14
I would have put that together, but as you said it I’m like yeah, of course, it makes sense. If you got an Italian-based ATS, and it’s the four walls of Italy. Yeah, yeah. Makes sense. That does make sense. And you mentioned pricing earlier. We don’t have to get down to the dollars and cents part of pricing, but the pricing model, kind of how, because success can be a lot of things to a lot of people. What’s your philosophy on pricing?

Perry 20:46
Yeah, so So we started off already putting ourselves in a market as a collaborative hiring solution. So our whole vision is, you know, hiring is becoming more collaborative, everyone should be involved in your team, invite the best server engineer, so help refer the next person to team.

So because of that, we didn’t want to have a traditional model that’s based on seats. So our pricing actually very simple. The more job slots you have, at the moment you’re hiring for, the more you pay, think about 20 or $30 product flow per month, depending of course, which feature pack you pick, because we have like tier two pricing, three different tiers. And then the more slots, the more you pay on a monthly basis, or yearly basis. Yeah.

William 21:27
So well, first of all, I love the ease of add for and again, this is self-actualization. If someone wants to our activation, if they want to, they can pick the pricing that they want or the package that they want. And then they can literally swipe a card and start, which makes it so much easier to, you know, again, it’s like you mentioned earlier, four-month implementations like now, there’s not an implementation that’s, it’s starting, and then you might want to learn certain things down the road. The two questions left one is where you want to take kind of recruiting in the future. And again, not giving away state secrets or anything, but just Where, where, where you want to take the firm now that you’ve gotten it up to because, you know, going back to the origin story, it’s very beginning to call all the way to now. Okay, well, what’s next?

Perry 22:25
Yeah, absolutely. Well, to give you a little bit of transparency here, it’s funny that we’re actually growing quicker by the month. So we, you know, we last year, we grew about 45% of the equalization. And I think if you look at it, now, we’re actually compounding the growth into it’s even accelerating. So. So that actually, you know, also seen opening in the US, made us more ambitious than we were before.

And working together with Simpa, we said, okay, I think it’s time to maybe let go of the Dutch humble, just a little bit and start claiming, I think this can be one of the biggest US tech, European HR tech players in that say, four or five years out there where we think about more than recruitment space, right, we think about a more HR tech suite. And we’re putting ourselves on the map here of saying, hey, look, we want to be your biggest here.

William 23:15
Well, I can validate that for you. Because, because I’ve worked with a lot of Dutch companies, and there is a humbleness, you know, to the Dutch that, you know, they don’t beat their chests and talk about how great they are. That’s not there, just not kind of hardwired for that. But, you know, speaking, we’ve, we’ve, we’ve we went through kind of some of the analytics of how many customers and how many countries and how many languages, that’s already really impressive. So I would concur, you’ll probably do need to start activating some of that you might need to hire an American marketer.

Perry 23:53
Yeah, they can make white noise.

William 23:54
That’s because it’s really easy for us to boast about how great we are it but not and not necessarily be able to back it up. But the last question is, what else should the practitioners when they listen to the show? What else should they know about Recruitee?

Perry 24:12
Like, that’s a good, good question. Actually. I think they should know that to us it feels like we’re just getting started. It’s a five-year-old company, it feels you know, how old are you? How grown-up? Are you as a kid when you’re five years old? Actually, if you think about I have a son of two. I imagine, you know, that’s so I feel we’re just getting started, you know, we’re starting to get the hang of Okay, what do customers really want? You know, how’s the team working together? How do we really, you know, accelerate our feature development process. So I think they should know that what you buy today is not what it is in four or five years. You know, this is actually going accelerating, so a lot of good stuff still to come.

William 24:50
I love that. I love that. And you’re right there. There is a lot of good stuff to come. Perry, thank you so much for coming on the Use Case Podcast, kind of breaking things down and educating me and also educating the audience about Recruitee.

Perry 25:03
Likewise, thank you very much for having me, William.

William 25:06
Awesome. Until next time on the Use Case Podcast. Thank y’all.

The Use Case Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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