Greenhouse Raises $7.5M To Engineer How Startups Recruit…Engineers

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Uber, Pinterest, Snapchat and BuzzFeed all share a not-so-secret weapon in the talent wars: Greenhouse. The recruitment optimization SaaS turns hiring into a science, and guides them through where to source job candidates, what to ask interviews, how to score responses. Now Greenhouse has raised a $7.5 million series A led by Social+Capital Partnership to sell the answers to those questions to everyone.

A year ago when Greenhouse last raised, it was perfecting its recruitment software. Now CEO and co-founder Daniel Chait tells me its hiring engine is humming. Next it’s turning into a platform of integrated recruiting tools and going into all-out growth mode to add more clients to its roster that includes Airbnb, Mixpanel, Medium and Oculus.

“When you talk to companies about how they recruit, so much of it is based on folklore and habits,” says Chait. “They’re in the dark about how many candidates they should have, or when they bring candidates in, how should they evaluate them. All that stuff is made up by every company every time.”

That’s crazy. Most founders cite rate hiring as their No. 1 priority, and their No. 1 time sink. When you’re getting off the ground, one lollygagger or toxic personality can poison the whole company. And in an age of 100X engineers, visionary product designers, and ruthless salespeople, recruiting not just good but truly great talent can make or break your business.

Hiring Process

That’s why Greenhouse’s product is designed to turn recruitment into a well-oiled machine. So what’s it actually do?

  • Sourcing: Greenhouse pulls all your job candidate sources (referrals, social media, events, job boards, prospecting, and external agencies) into a single dashboard. It powers A/B testing of job listings, and lets the whole company pitch in to find potential hires.
  • Interviewing: Greenhouse helps you set up a consistent interview process so candidates get asked the same, thorough questions and can be evaluated apples-to-apples with its scoring rubric.
  • Decision Making: Greenhouse organizes all the candidates, resumes and interview evaluations into easy-to-read overviews that can be compared with your requirements for a role to make the right hire. It also has tools for quickly reviewing applications, comparing your hiring funnel to its industry benchmarks, and figuring out what you need to change about your process.

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 3.36.15 PMCompanies are eager to buy annual licenses to Greenhouse to get all that sorted out, which attracted the investors for this $7.5 million round that brings the company to $11.2 million in total funding. Resolute Ventures and Felicis Ventures joined the round alongside Social+Capital Partnership, whose partner Mamoon Hamid is joining Greenhouse’s board. Chait said he went with Social+Capital because “They’re super well-connected, and for us they provide the right level of input and feedback given the fact that we’re not really looking to have our hands held.”

A Hub Of Hiring Apps

Some of the money will go to marketing its product and growing the team, but more interesting is how it will fund Greenhouse’s platform aspirations. Box.net became the hub of enterprise collaboration apps by building integrations with frontrunners like Google, Microsoft and Salesforce. Greenhouse wants to do the same for recruitment software.

Greenhouse co-founder and CEO Daniel Chait

Greenhouse co-founder and CEO Daniel Chait

The idea is that any app you use for a specific part of recruitment, like video interview tool HireView, can be integrated into Greenhouse so all your hiring data is automatically aggregated. Chait says it can incentivize partners to jump on board because it can pass them back anonymized aggregate data from later in a client’s hiring funnel to help them improve their recruitment products.

This open platform strategy could be what Greenhouse needs to displace the big applicant tracking systems of yore like Taleo and SuccessFactor, as well as less complete startups like Workable. Chait admits the recruitment tool market is “super crowded” and if that bubble everyone’s talking about is real and actually bursts, its client flow could thin out. But Chait insists “Recruiting is always going to be a big competitive issue. It’s increasingly obvious that businesses are competing based on the people they can attract.”

Like Dropbox is professionalizing now, Greenhouse will have to continue beefing up its enterprise IT support and scalability to handle bigger clients. But at least demand is strong. “When we started the company we didn’t know if it would take a decade of evangelizing to convince people hiring is important,” Chait concludes. Instead “we’ve uncovered this movement that recruitment operations is a thing.” If it can keep founders focused on innovating rather than hiring, Greenhouse may have its day in the sun.

[Image: CBS Via January Ember]