With the shift to remote working under the pandemic, companies had to abandon their in-person recruitment processes and embrace virtual interviews and hiring. Of course, HR tech was (and continues to be) on hand to help.
On the back of this, SmartRecruiters decided to buy Attrax, a UK-based HR tech firm that specializes in personalized career sites. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Given that last year was clearly a busy one for SmartRecruiters, UNLEASH was keen to find out why now was the right time to buy Attrax and what the future holds for the newly merged company.
Building on a long-term relationship
First of all, this is a natural acquisition because SmartRecruiters has been working with Attrax through a pre-integration partnership since 2017. SmartRecruiters’ general manager for EMEA Rob Symons tells UNLEASH he personally has a great relationship with CEO James Saunders and the rest of the team.
“They saw us an innovator in the marketplace” and “they were looking to innovate themselves, so it was a good synergy”, explains Symons.
While it is hard to explain why now was the right time to acquire Attrax, Symons explains that Attrax has been strongly growing its business over the past few years – and now it has “a lot of experience working with big brands” – its customers include Vodafone, Travis Perkins, Admiral, and Harrods.
Personalizing candidate experience
Core to SmartRecruiters’ long-term interest in Attrax has been the product itself. COVID-19 and the new hyper-competitive labor market – dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’ – has highlighted that companies need to get creative to engage with high volumes of job seekers and find the perfect candidates.
“Organizations, large and small, are realizing that candidate engagement is really key” to success – and SmartRecruiters’ customer base was really asking for more of a focus on this.
“Candidates are one click away from your competitors’ websites, so it is really important to serve content that is going to engage them and bring them in” – “strong career sites are core to that strategy”, adds Symons.
While Symons acknowledges that over the past few years career sites have been left behind, but because of the challenges facing its customers, “our attention has swung back to the career site. We see this as core and critical to talent attraction strategies”.
But Attrax’s products go beyond traditional career sites, they are a intelligent sites, which are search engine optimized.
This means users can go beyond engaging with candidates actively seeking jobs, but also “importantly, to passive candidates”.
These are individuals who are currently employed, and not actively looking for a new job, but could be tempted to change companies for the right opportunity.
“We were also really attracted to the way that we can hyper-personalize with Attrax to provide really targeted or dedicated landing pages to find that talent”, adds Symons.
This means that the content that candidates actively see when they arrive on the career site is actually tailored and engaging – Symons believes this is why Attrax claims to have a 50% higher conversion rate.
The sites also come with deep insights and analytics – this means companies can see what is working well and what isn’t, and therefore adjust their recruitment approach accordingly.
Attrax’s team joins SmartRecruiters
Now the deal has closed, SmartRecruiters will be directly integrating Attrax’s capabilities into its existing solution; this means Attrax career sites will be immediately available to SmartRecruiters clients, such as Ubisoft, Visa, LinkedIn, McDonald’s, and Verisk.
Symons is clear that central to Attrax and its candidate engagement-focused solution is its team.So all of Attrax’s employees are being onboarded at SmartRecruiters.
“We’ve started plans to combine the innovation teams and unlock more value with newly combined expertise” – SmartRecruiters is planning to invest heavily in that part of the business in the coming years. All sales operations have also been combined.
Another benefit, according to Symons, is that Attrax’s central London office will become another of SmartRecruiters’ European hubs. He explains that SmartRecruiters’ UK team is currently distributed across the country, but this will create a central location for in-personal collaboration.
It looks like Attrax is just the beginning of a wave of acquisitions for SmartRecruiters. Symons is clear that more acquisitions are “absolutely” a focus for SmartRecruiters’ future. “We are on a really strong growth trajectory” and the Series E “has enabled us to invest in ourselves and really scale the organization”.
However, it will be selective and choose companies who are really serving pain points in the market when considering future acquisitions. “Having healthy mergers and acquisitions and eyes and ears on the market is one of the pillars of our growth strategy”, concludes Symons.