Building a SaaS MVP for a Recruiting Agency

Engagement Details
  • 2+ Months
  • 1 Product Manager
  • 1 Designer
  • 1 Developer

Transforming the Hiring Process

A science-based approach helps small businesses compete for critical hires

About Scoutr

Founded in 2017 by veteran recruiter Brandon Stevens and Guri Burmi, Scoutr is a tool that empowers recruiters and internal hiring teams by ranking and presenting candidates for fast, simple decision making. The science of industrial / organizational (IO) psychology is a key aspect of Scoutr’s candidate matching algorithm, brought to the team by Dr. Gabe Pappalardo. With a focus on deep engagement among hiring teams, managers and candidates, Scoutr is ideally suited for critical hires at emerging companies.

Recognizing a Market Need

As a recruiter, Brandon Stevens knew there was more to successful hires than keyword matching between a job description and resume. “Resumes don’t tell you anything about the organization’s culture and work style that the candidate is looking for, or the personality of the candidate. There is no validation system for the content in a resume; they can be embellished or incomplete. Also, resumes have no standards. You can’t compare two resumes side by side and easily make a decision.”

Scoutr would address all of those pitfalls, as well as candidate retention. Rather than a typical 90-day guarantee offered by most hiring agencies, Scoutr would guarantee six months. Considering Brandon’s career history of 95% retention after three years, the team expected to far exceed this metric.

Partnering for Success

When it came time to develop an MVP, the Scoutr team needed a partner they could trust. After an exhaustive search for custom software developers, including an off-shore vendor, the two founders selected Vaporware as their partner. “When you’re bringing a product to market that’s transformative or disruptive, it absolutely must be stable,” Brandon recalls.

Developing the Solution

With Vaporware’s support, the Scoutr app started to take shape. A project blueprint and critical path document served as a basis throughout the Plan and Prototype process. Working together, Vaporware and Scoutr revisited the UI/UX designs to follow development best practices and streamline the user interface. Vaporware’s Dan Moore elaborates: “A big part of what we did was take out extraneous things...slim it down, polish. We help our clients focus on their value proposition and what’s most important.”

UX Considerations

Development of the Scoutr app involved two distinct user experiences. The main use case was for scouts (hiring teams), who would primarily be on desktop while creating open positions and profiles. Hiring managers, on the other hand, would likely view players and schedule interviews on mobile. This required the development of a slimmer mobile-device experience. The Vaporware team worked on a seamless experience for the manager’s mobile portal. Success was validated during user feedback testing, with kudos given for its unique approach, number of candidates presented and easy to follow interface. Suggestions were incorporated into the final MVP, released internally and to select early-adopter customers as Scoutr 1.0 in February, 2018. Scoutr 2.0 was released to the public in August, 2018.

Candidates presented by best fit to company culture and job skills.

Candidates presented by best fit to company culture and job skills.

Automated Profile Creation

In January 2019, the Scoutr team became aware of an additional market need. Recruiters working with ATSs who also wanted the deep profile capabilities of Scoutr were faced with a dilemma: manual entry of candidate records into two systems. To remove this barrier, Vaporware and Scoutr partnered once again in the development of automatic candidate profile creation. In less than one month, the project was delivered and in use. Recruiters now have the ability to send a survey link to candidates. Responses are captured in Scoutr, and a new profile is automatically created. Candidates may send reference surveys directly to their prior managers and peers, with responses stored and smartly presented to recruiters in Scoutr.

Transformative Results

Scoutr clients are experiencing a 50% reduction in the time to make an offer, with same-day interviews in many cases. Several factors contribute to this metric.

  • Deep engagement with candidates including the culture they’re looking for, work style and skills
  • Automated reference checks enables former co-workers and managers to rate their performance
  • Presentation of data. Scoutr’s matching algorithm rolls everything together, similar to a dating profile. The presentation is a standardized format that allows apples to apples comparison.

Less is More

Thanks to Scoutr’s insightful candidate matching and presentation, placements are happening from a pool of only three to five candidates. Brandon elaborates: “When it comes to hiring managers and candidates, less is more. Having lots of applicants doesn’t matter. Across the board, less than 2% of entry level job applicants are interviewed. For more senior positions, it’s still only 7-10%.” Clearly, this is an incredible time savings for hiring teams.

Business Impact

Scoutr clients are seeing considerable impact on their hiring process. “It works flawlessly,” says Gabe. “Our clients appreciate the time more hunting for resumes and emails. One success story so far is with a talent acquisition lead at K4 Connect. When she took a new position with Spectrum Health, she insisted on bringing Scoutr with her.” Brandon adds: “And they did same day interview scheduling within their first week. In three weeks, two of their most complex roles were filled. They had those positions advertised for months!”

Customer Experience Success

The Scoutr UX (User Experience) is receiving positive remarks from users of the recruiting platform. “Everything that’s customer facing looks sleek,” says Gabe Pappalardo. “The thing that makes my heart sing is the word elegant, and we have received that feedback on more than one occasion.” Brandon adds: “We also get the word ‘clean.’

Candidate traits for cultural and work style fit are ranked and presented for easy consideration.

Candidate traits for cultural and work style fit are ranked and presented for easy consideration.

It’s aesthetically pleasing, easy to interpret. From a UX perspective, you need to make sure it’s stable. In QA, we tested everything and it’s solid. We’re getting the front and back end right.”

Applicant profile highlights match strength across skills.

Applicant profile highlights match strength across skills.

Easy Onboarding

Clean screens and an elegant interface translate to easy onboarding for new Scoutr clients. Gabe explains: "Onboarding is only a 20 minute process. I would try to walk people through it step by step, but they would be one or two moves ahead of me because it was intuitively easy."

Designed to Scale

Vaporware’s approach to software architecture ensures consistent, reliable performance as a solution scales. New features are fully tested under multiple environments including user acceptance testing on a staging environment prior to release. Clients can rest assured that their software solution is poised for growth.

Final Thoughts

Throughout the project, the Scoutr and Vaporware teams were in close communication. Any issues that popped up were promptly resolved. Brandon recalls: “They didn’t let a week go by. One misfire I remember was discovered within a day, and corrected within eight hours. Vaporware’s agility and being able to react is much appreciated.”

The final product is a win. According to Brandon: “Scoutr is very well designed and well coded. What we have now is something I’m personally very proud of. I’m really excited about where it’s going.”