Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Jeff Rubenstein, SmartProcure is on a mission to make government procurement more efficient and less wasteful.
Municipalities and other government agencies are renowned for overpaying which wastes a lot of taxpayers’ money. SmartProcure allows government buyers access to pricing data from thousands of local, state and federal agencies and provides analytics and reporting tools so agencies can see what vendors have the best price.
With information on over 300 million purchase orders from 12,000 agencies across the country, SmartProcure also functions as a powerful lead tool for vendors. The startup recently won the $25,000 SXSW pitch contest for civic tech groups.
SmartProcure has the kind of problem that all startups hope to have: staffing for rapid growth. Adding ten sales positions per month to its growing workforce of 160 presented a daunting challenge for Kristen Ross, Director of HR and her staff of one. With anywhere from 10-17 open positions at one time, they were receiving up to 600 resumes per position. The pressure to hire was creating additional headaches. “We were receiving a lot of resumes, but most weren’t a culture fit,” explains Ross. “For us, finding someone for each of our openings, that is a culture fit, is crucial.” But the inability to find candidates that were a culture fit, made the recruiting process more difficult.
Candidate.Guru first appeared on Ross’ radar when a colleague off-handedly asked if she had ever heard of the startup. “I said, ‘no I haven’t but I’d be very curious to see how they go about doing this and how this whole process works’.” Intrigued by the possibility of finding a better, more efficient and effective method for hiring, she requested a demonstration of the platform. “Culture fit is by far our biggest issue, so the possibility really spoke to me and made me want to try it.” But this decision did come with a bit of hesitation and Ross admits she was skeptical that a machine could actually predict the likelihood that a candidate would be a good match with his/her manager. When it came to implementation though, the process was very straightforward “Candidate.Guru gave me the log-in and walked me through how to use it. It’s a very user-friendly system.” All Ross had to do was present Candidate.Guru with the candidate and the hiring manager and, through machine learning, the system was able to rank the fit.
Since engaging Candidate.Guru, Ross has streamlined her recruiting process by simply turning to LinkedIn to search through highly-ranked matches instead of scouring through hundreds resumes for a position. “I’m really just going through LinkedIn, running a search, clicking people, putting them into the platform and then reaching out to the best fit candidates.” “The system has proven itself, so I trust it. I know whether or not they will be a good culture fit with the direct hiring manager. That’s huge.” This increased efficiency in uncovering the right kind of employee has helped immensely in speeding up the time to hire, but also in creating a workforce that’s more engaged, more productive and more likely to stay with SmartProcure. “We hired 5 out of the top 10 candidates. I was surprised to see how accurate Candidate.Guru’s predictions were.”