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1Mby1M Incubation Radar 2010: Hireplug, India

Posted on Wednesday, Oct 13th 2010

Hireplug is a SaaS recruitment technology company whose products are designed to help companies to recruit talented candidates from employees’ social networks and boost employee referrals in the process. Hireplug has two components – hireplug.com and the Facebook app We Are Hiring.

Founder Rajan Chandi worked as a software architect at Perficient before founding Hireplug in 2010. He participated in pre-sales and was considered part of the strategy team in addition to working on software integration and implementing content management systems to handle terabytes of data. He also cofounded a venture for part-time staffing needs, Highthought Solutions. The company taught Chandi a lot about recruitment and the software consulting business. After working part-time in the recruiting industry, he realized that there was significant scope for improvement and that some aspects of recruiting have not changed for years. He was living in Carmel, Indiana, and didn’t have the funds or the visa to implement his idea in the United States, so he decided to move back to India and build Hireplug at a low cost.

Hireplug says that it is being approached by major companies including Capgemini, Wipro, Accenture, Bank of America, Intuit, and Samsung. It considers Fortune 1000 companies to be its potential customers because of their talent needs and estimates the total addressable market for this segment at $2 billion. Smaller companies can also use Hireplug, more for its branding value and less for its recruitment value, says Chandi, but Hireplug is not going after that market at this point. IT companies, technology companies, and companies that do not block social networks are all target segments.

As mentioned above, Hireplug has two main products. Hireplug.com is used by recruiters to post jobs, receive applicants, and so forth. For clients of Hireplug, the Facebook app, We are Hiring, is present on all of the client company’s employees’ Facebook pages and displays jobs open, company logos, videos, and other branding material. The application also publishes “this company is hiring” messages in all employees’ friends’ news feeds to raise awareness and recruit from employees’ social circles, with the goal of matching qualified people with jobs more quickly and cheaply.

Hireplug’s integration with more than 40 social networks, including Twitter, LinkedIn, rediff.com, meinVZ, Ning, Orkut, and MySpace, and the program’s ability to refer and track friends on these social networks makes it a global product, says Chandi. Other features include building private talent pool for the company, featuring jobs on a company’s Facebook page, displaying referral bonuses to employees and tracking employee referrals. The product costs around $1,000 a month for a company with about 1,000 employees.

When Hireplug was founded, the main competitor was Jobvite, which has a candidate relationship management (CRM) application and a recruiting and applicant tracking platform. Other competitors are Jobs2Web; which has solutions tailored to social recruiting, diversity recruiting, campus recruiting, hard-to-fill jobs, and so forth; JobMagic, which has separate products for individual recruiters and corporate employers; and Work for Us, a Facebook app funded by the company Work4Labs. Hireplug wants to build a more feature-rich platform than Jobvite from a social recruiting and talent engagement standpoint. It chose not to build its own applicant tracking system (ATS) so that it can integrate with ATS companies around the globe.

On any possible mergers or acquisitions, Hireplug says that Monster and LinkedIn employees have registered accounts on Hireplug.com but it doesn’t consider them as buyers or a strategic fit. Nor does it see Monster or CareerBuilder as buyers because those companies want job seekers to go their portals, and Hireplug want jobs to reach the job-seeker through social media connections. Finally, it doesn’t see LinkedIn as a potential buyer because if professional life is part of personal life and jobs are coming to people’s Facebook pages, why would they need to go to Linked In? This argument is not entirely convincing – the popularity of both LinkedIn and Facebook shows that people do want to keep their personal and professional lives separate, even though the degree of separation may vary among individuals.

In truth, the companies that are most likely to buy a company like Hireplug are SuccessFactors and Taleo. Both are in the talent management space, and both have recruitment solutions as well as social media modules.

Thus far, the company has been funded with Chandi’s own money. Hireplug is open to talking with investors who can add considerable value to the business in addition to money, especially in sales, marketing, and media. Chandi says Hireplug has just started to bring in revenues, but owing in part to the low overhead the company could soon be cash flow positive as it starts signing more deals. Profitability can be achieved in the next six to eight months if everything goes smoothly.

At this point, the company is not focused on an exit. The team would like to grow Hireplug as an independent company and maybe have an IPO sometime down the road. Hireplug presented at the roundtable on October 7, 2010; the recap is here. Members of the 1M/1M Facebook page chose Hireplug as the best business presented at that week’s roundtable. Sramana advised Rajan to close half a dozen name-brand enterprise customers ASAP, even if that requires significant discounting. She also committed to introducing Hireplug to a major enterprise customer that is looking for precisely this solution.

Recommended Readings
Social Recruiting 101 (a presentation on Slideshare)
Deal Radar 2010: Jobscience
Deal Radar 2010: nowHIRE

This segment is a part in the series : 1Mby1M Incubation Radar 2010

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I think the price quoted by Hireplug.com for the Indian market is just too high. 1000 USD for a 1000 people company will just not cut… and maybe even for the International Market. The pricing will have to be more target driven…

Rohit Monday, January 31, 2011 at 2:16 AM PT

We have option pay-per-resume pricing that we consider.

Rajan Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 8:31 AM PT

More about HirePlug: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rwEmu9Q2kk

HirePlug Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 12:37 PM PT