On the Floor at SHRM Atlanta: Assessments, Apps & Other HR Stuff

Out here in Atlanta at the Society for Human Resource Management’s Annual Conference & Exhibition, there’s a lot going on for the 13,000 attendees — especially in and around the Exhibit Hall.

Here’s just a taste of the chatter from a few of the HR/recruiting vendors here at SHRM.

PeopleClues just signed on the UK’s Random House Group, which’ll use PeopleClues assessments in its college hiring. I asked PeopleClues’ Chief Strategic Officer Bryan Wempen if PeopleClues has a booth on the exhibit floor. “No, thank God,” he says. “I hate trade shows.”

Wempen says he loves to hire human resources professionals to work at PeopleClues — super smart ones who are great writers, and tech-savvy. The company — kind of like Intel and its chips — mainly works through partnerships, rather than selling directly to human resources departments. It used to have more small business sort of clients, those with just a handful of employees, but that part of its business was, Wempen says, cut as if with a chainsaw in 2009. Expect PeopleClues to announce a big new partnership with a well-known human resources technology vendor toward the end of July.

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  • Simply Hired has made it easier to apply for a job on its site using a mobile phone. You can use your mobile phone to apply using a resume you’ve saved on Simply Hired; or, through a partnership with LinkedIn, you can use your LinkedIn profile. Simply Hired now boasts 30 million monthly users, with more than a million each in Canada, the UK, Australia, and India, and says its job listings have gone back up to pre-recession levels (about 5 million, after having dipped down to about 2.1 million). CEO Gautam Godhwani says he sees some months better now than others, but he certainly doesn’t expect a descent into a new recession. “Employers are just feeling tentative,” he says, partly due to problems in Asia and Europe.
  • Path.to has expanded to New York, Chicago, and Boston, and following an April launch with about 200 customers posting jobs, now has about 150 additional customers. Path.to matches people to jobs based partly on culture, with Bright, for one, giving heavier weight to harder skills and experience. “We’re definitely an anomaly,” CEO Darren Bounds says. That’s because the company’s in (drum roll): Jacksonville, Florida. That cuts both ways: fewer companies with which to compete for its own talent, but fewer techies to choose from in a town that’s not known as a hotbed of computer innovation. Bounds says the lower cost of living in Jacksonville is a good lure for a California employee, allowing them to have a dramatically better living standard at the same salary.

Briefly, regarding a few other firms:

WillbeHired, previously mentioned here, says its launch brought much more traffic than its PR firm predicted … Emergent has shifted a tad since its founding; now, it’s moving away from just working for staffing agencies and hoping to work directly as the employer of record for corporations that use temps … HRworks got a piece of some good action in Texas, helping staff up a GE locomotive factory. It’s also getting some good new business in health care, particularly medical devices … The RightThing is swamped with new potential customers, particularly mid-size companies, so much so that if it would have moved too fast and taken it all on quickly, it would barely have be able to keep up. It’s also seeing growth in Mexico.

All in all today, most vendors I talked to were relatively upbeat about the quantity of traffic here in Atlanta at the SHRM event … though there was the background-screening company CEO who said, in reference to the show being an everything-goes-from-Weight-Watchers-to-Skechers-to-Snagajob view into the HR field, “Todd,” he told me, “I’m not here because I want to be here. I’m here because I have to be here.”