Late last year, at an industry event, I learned that Hired, which I knew previously as a permanent-hire talent marketplace, was now serving the contingent workforce segment. Given that news, I thought it was time to take a closer look. Accordingly, I arranged to meet some of the Hired team at their San Francisco office to get a better understanding of the company.
My visit confirmed that Hired is a superlative example of what I would call a next-generation, platform-based staffing supplier, an important emerging category for HR and now contingent workforce practitioners to learn about. What follows is a brief introduction to Hired, which Spend Matters will no doubt be covering more often in the future.
Hired was founded in 2013 and has since raised a total of more than $113 million in of venture capital and investment (it raised more than $70 million in 2016 alone). At this time, the company has more than 200 employees and serves organizations and talent in 16 urban markets in North America, the U.K., France, Australia and Singapore. According to the company, the platform has been used by more than 8,000 companies, from Fortune 500 companies to fast-growing startups.
With regard to types of talent, Hired specifically focuses on “in-demand technology workers such as software engineers, designers, product managers and data scientists.” While Hired was originally focused on enabling organizations to source and hire full-time employees, in the past year the company has begun to enable the sourcing and engagement of contingent or independent workforce (an area team members told me was growing rapidly) — an important step.
“As companies grow and scale rapidly, they're beginning to realize that the only way to continue their momentum is by engaging freelance, contract, and contract-to-hire workers in addition to full-time employees, Matt Pierce, staffing veteran and now global director at Hired, told me. “Hired saw the opportunity to enable contingent worker hiring and offer clients a total talent acquisition solution.”
The Secret Sauce
Hired refers to itself as an “intelligent talent matching platform,” but that description may be a bit too narrow.
While there is algorithmic matching and machine learning at the core — and it is critical — vetting and curation are also overseen by real live people. Moreover, Hired employees also play talent-facing and client organization-facing roles: Talent Advocates and Account Managers also work hand and hand with intelligent automation to efficiently provide services and support to talent accepted into the Hired talent pool and organizations that are Hired clients. Hired team members told me that providing services and support to talent is a big priority.
The model of sourcing and engagement is quite unique:
- On the supply side, individual talent applies for admission to the Hired talent pool by creating an initial profile with is subject to algorithmic and to lesser degree human vetting and curation.
- On the demand side, client organizations submit open positions and the Hired platform returns a limited set of matching candidates. At that stage, client organizations are able to choose candidates and offer candidates an interview, while at the same time disclosing the salary level, bill rate, or SOW amount (complete visibility, candidate can take it or leave it). The interview process goes on as any normal one until a candidate is hired.
- The matching of candidates goes beyond optimized matching to jobs. Over time candidates can be optimally matched to companies, departments and hiring managers.
- Candidate Sourcing starts with applications to enter the talent pool (a pull model). Typically applicants are vetted weekly. According to Hired, about 70,000 applicants apply for admission every month, but only about 5% are allowed in.
- The Hired platform is not simply a spot marketplace but is a more sophisticated exchange with specific processes that ultimately can bring organizations and pre-vetted candidates to a consummated transaction. The platform can also regulate supply based on demand; for example, if demand is increasing in a particular job category, then the platform can increase the numbers of individuals in that category being accepted into the talent pool.
Interestingly, Hired also shares many fundamental characteristics with staffing firms:
- Pricing structure for full-time hires is essentially a recruiting/placement fee and, for contingent workers, is basically a “mark-up” similar to that of staffing firms.
- Hired serves as the employer-of-record and payroller of all contingent workers assigned to organizations.
- Finally, Hired partners with leading vendor management services (VMS) and managed service providers (MSPs)
Some areas where Hired’s capabilities and value-add exceeds the traditional staffing supplier model are:
- Time-to-hire, fill-rates and even transaction costs, to a degree, are in many cases superior to traditional staffing suppliers
- Worker information and workers are not lost after an assignment. Information lives on in digital profiles that are stored in an organized and accessible form and informationally enriched over time. That makes it possible for workers to be made available for other assignments at the same or other company
- The type, amount and timeliness of platform-wide data and information and resulting visibility far surpasses that of any staffing supplier
There may be other areas of superiority, but the resemblance of Hired to traditional staffing supplier models bears noting. The term and concept “next-generation, platform-based staffing supplier” may be an appropriate way to look at Hired, at least for some reasons (e.g., making it seem less novel for contingent workforce managers to grasp, etc.) — though undoubtedly others may argue differently.
Contingent workforce practitioners are hearing more and more about online freelancer marketplace platforms and the like, and there is a genuine interest in developing alternative/non-traditional sourcing channels for a variety of reasons. However, in many cases still, it is often difficult for practitioners and their organizations to make the leap to a new sourcing channel or platform about which there remain too many open questions and concerns (e.g., worker misclassification, etc.).
A platform like Hired, on the other hand, would seem to offer more of a step than a leap for practitioners and organizations that want to explore and leverage alternative/non-traditional sourcing channels by combining the core elements of a staffing supplier (e.g., talent acquisition, employer of record, etc.) while going to the next level of advanced technology-based performance, efficiency and visibility.
For these reasons, we think it may not be a waste of time for forward-looking practitioners to have a look at Hired and kick the tires. Perhaps you’ll find that it’s time to trade-up from your old clunker to a vehicle that is more technologically advanced.