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Recruiters: You can’t live with them, but it’d sure be nice to live without them. And with the arrival of the new Amsterdam-based startup recruitment platform iHateRecruiters you may actually be able to do just that. Are you sick and tired of recruiters looking for 21- to 26 year olds with at least fifteen years of experience? Then join the club and get in line to sign up with iHateRecruiters.
Uber for the recruitment industry?
What Uber did for the transport market, iHateRecruiters seems to be wanting to do with the recruitment business. The smartest thing Uber did was effectively cutting a very unpopular group of middle men out of the loop, namely cab drivers. iHateRecruiters is removing recruiters from the job-seeking process, a group of middle men even less loved than taxi drivers. Founder Aik Deveneijns (in hammock, left) understands the Uber-comparison is inevitable, but shrugs it off by explaining the recruitment game works a bit differently. His platform tries to pick up the ball and run with it from the point where the recruitment industry dropped it. That’s where he reckons the similarity with AirBnb and Uber lies: “The recruiting industry has been slow to innovate, and hasn’t been listening to their customers, employers and talent. We want to bring fluidity, creativity and startup culture into the traditional agency-dominated world of recruitment”.
No wolves in sheep’s clothing
An interesting thing about iHateRecruiters, is that it sprung from Deveneijn’s larger recruitment agency LevelUp Ventures. So in what way is Ihaterecruiters not just a recruitment wolf in sheep’s clothing? The chief recruiterhater explains there is a clear difference between iHateRecruiters and Level Up: “iHateRecruiters is the talent platform and LevelUp is the company. iHateRecruiters is talent-facing and LevelUp Ventures is startup-facing. Talent that joins our platform becomes the ‘customer’. I’d rather introduce great talent to a startup and not get paid, than getting paid because I convinced someone to take the less-interesting position. I don’t want to go thinking about the €10.000 I won’t be receiving. Karma is a thing in business!”
So besides iHateRecruiters’s obvious passion for startups and scale-ups, what else sets their platform and approach apart from other recruiters? And in what way are they specifically catering to talent that wants to work at startups? First and foremost, iHateRecruiters wants to make the recruitment process hassle-free: “Finding & hooking up with cool startups or talent should be easy, frictionless and pleasant, that’s our goal with this”, Deveneijns explains. Another key difference is that iHateRecruiters is about finding the right match, not about filling every vacancy straight away: “We care about connecting the right startups with the right talent. Recruiting agencies work for ‘the placement’, because that’s when they get paid. You can’t really blame them for their pushy behaviour because it follows from that business model; Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Although we love to be incentivized on result, we prefer the consultative business model”.
So far, Deveneijns has been getting particularly mixed reactions. On the one hand he is getting angry reactions from fellow recruiters, but on the other hand enthusiastic jobseekers seem to love his approach. Candidates are signing up for the platform in big numbers, even though the company has only been doing a soft launch so far. Deveneijns seems surprised about how the name iHateRecruiters has attracted such polarized reactions, but he has a good laugh though when we say he couldn’t have gotten more enthusiastic reactions if he called his company ‘iLoveIcecream’.
Nightmare visions of success
With iHateRecruiters looking like it’ll be a massive success, isn’t the danger around the corner of getting very big very soon and becoming that what they dread to be… a recruitment agency? Deveneijns admits the fear of becoming just that is exactly what keeps him up at night: “It’s a bit of a nightmarish vision: waking up a few years from now, running an old-fashioned 200-people recruitment agency with people standing on the tables cheering because they got a new customer in… BRRR, it keeps me on the right track each and every day”. He admits staying the course is the biggest challenge iHateRecruiters is facing: “There’s so much stigma on recruiters that it’s a continuous battle to keep our own course and stay true to our values. But so far it’s working!”