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30 Best Small Companies to watch 2019

An Interview with Mark Stephens, Smart Recruit Online Ltd Founder and CEO: ‘Our Unique Approach to Building Recruitment Tech Gives Us an Edge Over Most Other Competitors’


“Our unique approach and culture differentiate us from all other online recruitment services, but we never lose sight of our commercial objectives.”

Technological advances have streamlined almost all business operations, including recruiting. Online recruiting encompasses online sources used for the recruitment and selection of candidates. These sources can include Internet job boards, applicant tracking systems, resume databases, online testing and assessments. Some recruitment software providers combine all of these technologies for a simple, streamlined recruitment process. One such resource might work for your company’s entire recruiting process, or you might combine several online options.

In light of the foregoing, we’re thrilled to present Smart Recruit Online (SRO) Ltd – an industry leading online recruitment platform and software dedicated to transforming your recruitment strategy.

Smart Recruit Online supports over 25,000 UK recruiters with a unique blend of best-in-class recruitment technology, tools and processes to aid the delivery of a more efficient and effective direct hire recruitment process.

SRO is also one of the largest media buyers in the UK, providing recruiters with a massive network of relevant advertising channels for a low-cost fee and assisting with copywriting and keyword optimising techniques –that maximise response rates from every job advert posted.

The company was incorporated in 2011 and is headquartered in Milton Keynes, London.

Mark Stephens, Smart Recruit Online Ltd Founder/CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Why was the company set up?

The vision was always to make recruitment easier; more effective and efficient for everyone. The recruitment environment is evolving all the time, with new technology and changes in motivations and human behavioral trends and we are agile enough to move quickly and adapt to these ahead of the competition.

Q. A small business/company may or may not function as expected. It takes everything to stand out and compete in the business world, was it same for your company?

The challenge was to resist the temptation to move from 90 percent innovation and 10 percent Sales too soon. Stakeholders want to see business growth, but getting the technology and processes right, so that they were outperforming the competition in the first instance will ensure that we can now grow much more rapidly.

Q. What kind of responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?

Interestingly, most conversations with prospective clients begin with their pain points, so that we can advise and demonstrate how we can help overcome them. The subsequent endorsements, testimonials and successful outcomes that we achieve are both an emotional reward and confirmation that we are on the right track for both parties.

Q. How do you stay relevant to the consumer interests and needs in this highly volatile market?

Our unique approach to building recruitment tech and the way that we help clients to adapt their solutions to include insights generated from the behavioural science, gives us a significant edge over our competitors. We don’t just offer an out of the box solution, we provide customizable user interfaces, that deliver the unique blend of tools and features that the user wishes to utilize and then we help them to apply recruitment processes that optimize their results. At any point in time, new features and processes can be added and redundant ones can be replaced or shut down. This allows each client to adapt the system to their ever evolving needs.

Q. How do you maintain your customers’ trust and loyalty?

Customer Services should not be confused with Customer Satisfaction. We work in close partnership with all our clients, especially while they have live vacancies. Together we work towards meeting their objectives. Even if we are not successful, the customer can still be satisfied with our efforts.

Moreover, the numbers don’t lie. They are the evidence of what works and what doesn’t, but human engagement with both recruiters and candidates will always throw up additional insights that are more emotional than statistical.

Q. What are your company’s core values?

Honesty, transparency, respect, hard work, dedication, and an obsession to be the best at what we do, are at the core of our business and culture.

We do not follow anyone. Our drivers are the objectives outlined by our customers and the market within which we operate. We build and deliver solutions that are often inspired by existing tools and services, but we always try to consider how we can improve upon them.

Q. Do you have any new products ready to be launched?

We continually have one or two major features that we are working on, in addition to improving existing ones. Currently, we are looking at features that contribute towards improved candidate selection, based on team fit, better ways for third-party recruiters to present applicants to their customers via SRO. We are also working on a candidate portal that will allow multi-posting of a CV to hundreds of job boards and will deliver relevant jobs on a daily basis from more than three million careers pages.

Q. Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

I think in two years from now, the biggest commercial change will be that we are likely to be more of a strategic partner and reseller of our services that I hope will be used around the world.


Mark Stephens | A Formidable Leader

Mark Stephens, Founder, is the Chief Executive Officer of Smart Recruit Online Ltd. He has been dedicated to making improvements to the recruitment sector for nearly 20 years. Even before the launch of Smart Recruit Online, Mark has been researching and analyzing data, reviewing new technology and investigating the human behavioral science behind candidate behaviors and online recruitment activities. Since 2011, he has been dedicated to developing SRO into the market leading online recruitment service, based on key metrics that determine the success of a recruitment campaign.

“Our mission is to become the go-to online recruitment service of choice and to maintain our position as the benchmark that all other online recruitment services measure themselves by.”