A Cambridge startup is using cutting edge technology to revolutionise the UK recruitment industry after winning investment from ‘Asian angels’ based in the city.Plugin Recruiter’s new online jobs site leverages social media and video content to put a human face on the recruitment process.
The novel platform fast-tracks applications through to multi-user, nationwide and international job networks to slash cost and eliminate expensive middlemen agencies.
The video CV and online interview technique is already speeding up engagement between companies needing to hire fast and job seekers. Its personalised approach puts the head into head hunting, according to founder and CEO Chris Heron.
Plugin Recruiter enables employers and job seekers to engage on an emotional level by helping them to tell their own unique stories through online video content, which can be continually updated.
This is accomplished by integrating social media, photos and videos seamlessly into jobs, company and job seeker profiles.
Nor is cost any longer a barrier to using video applications for vacancies as Plugin Recruiter customers can buy low cost videos from an in-house production team.
The week-old startup is being bankrolled by angels Sunil and Prashant Shah, who are neighbours of Plugin Recruiter at the Innovation Centre on Cambridge Science Park. Their company, Piramal Discovery Solutions (formerly O2h), is a globally successful life science business.
In an exclusive interview with Business Weekly, Chris Heron revealed that Plugin Recruiter was already in discussions with big-hitting international players to take the initiative global. The US is a prime market.
Heron has been involved in the recruitment industry for 15 years and the seeds of Plugin Recruiter were sown when he was winging between the company home in the South of France and the UK to ply his trade.
He decided to employ a UK-based colleague to tour Britain filming videos of both HR professionals seeking candidates for their companies and job hunters looking for roles that suited their skills sets.
The process highlighted the benefit to hiring companies of elevating their brand while job seekers recognised the initiative as a way of promoting their skills while eliminating head-to-head interview nerves. The online job interview was born.
Plugin Recruiter has since negotiated deals with all the leading jobs boards to buy in online CVs and sell them on at a mark-up. As a result, Plugin Recruiter can now push applicants’ videos and online CVs to all the top job boards at a fraction of the market going rate, creating unprecedented reach and for the first time leveraging the different add-ons from sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter along the way.
The strategy has created an unrivalled talent pool accessible through a one-stop resource, according to Chris Heron. And for companies that are hiring, they can filter all the relevant data through one secure online administration area.
Some of Cambridge’s top hi-tech and biotech companies are talking with Plugin Recruiter about handling their recruitment accounts. Heron says that the company is translating its offering into German, French and Spanish as a first step towards globalisation.
A US equivalent is scheduled to debut in six months and the company is talking to potential partners on the other side of the Atlantic regarding joint ventures.
A number of enhancements will be added to the site in the coming months. Headcount at the Cambridge company is heading into double figures after just one week since launch and the question of additional investment requirements will be discussed further down the turnpike.
Heron said: “We have a strong and proven business model and are already generating revenues. This is important to our long-term growth ambitions. For now, Sunil and Prashant’s angel investment and mentor skills are already taking us further than we hoped in such a short space of time.”
Sunil Shah has high hopes for Plugin Recruiter. He said: “The company provides an engaging visually interactive platform that could revolutionise the industry.
“However most important for us is that Chris has all the attributes to be a great entrepreneur; he is creative, hardworking, gets into the detail, has taken personal risk to start his business and has worked in the industry for many years.
“Chris is also based in the Science Park innovation cluster and it is exciting to part of an new tech-based startup in Cambridge in which we can leverage our past experience of working in this sector. You can expect more investments into the local area from Prashant and I.”
• PHOTOGRAPH: Chris Heron (standing) supervises a video production session