How I Turned My Recruiting Solutions Into A Company


Despite the challenges and because of our successes, the platform is constantly growing, changing, and remaining competitive. At heart, however, Scavado is still doing what it was always created to do: finding the best talent. By Lori Fenstermaker (Founder, Scavado)

People often ask me why I started Scavado. The answer is that I didn’t mean to create a new recruitment platform, I just wanted to make my life as a recruiter a little easier.

I found myself going through long, painstaking classes to learn complicated sourcing algorithms in order to uncover the best talent online. After hours of classes and even more time spent compiling search strings I realized something shocking: I hadn’t spoken to any prospects at all! I knew there had to be a faster way.

As a recruiter, I had never been the kind to sit around and wait for the best person to apply for a position. The company that would eventually become Scavado started out as a talent acquisitions company I founded when I was pregnant with my second child.

Through my experiences, I found a staggering 89% of the jobs we were recruiting for required extremely specialized skill sets. These weren’t the kind of jobs the right people were just applying for, these positions required recruiters to do some digging and pick up the phone.

Everything changed one day with four little words: “Mandarin-speaking cosmetics formulator.”

A recruiter I supported was having a tough time finding such a specialized pool of talent. Using the Scavado platform developed by my programmer husband, I found about 20 candidates in no time.

The client was so excited they immediately wanted to know the program I was using. This client became our first outside user, purchasing five subscriptions and turning on the light bulb in my head. It was the first time I realized the program making my recruiting easier could also make life easier for a lot of other people. Scavado, in it’s current form, was born.

There have been plenty of challenges and even more rewarding experiences along the way to creating a better recruiting solution.

Having two children at home and a business taking off, I knew I had to hire some help. One of our first employees was actually my nanny, who was not only trustworthy but had a stellar set of credentials. When someone who left their job to work less accidentally starts a software company, hires their nanny as an apprentice, and works in the basement doing demos, life isn’t always easy.

We’ve been bootstrapping since we started, so as a company we’ve often felt under the radar. When we finally hosted our first conference, I realized the HR technology space was a male-dominated world filled with serial entrepreneurs. There weren’t a lot of recruiter moms in the mix.

Scavado might be small, but we’ve also withstood a lot of criticism. Most of it came from search string trainers and practitioners, which is no surprise since they derive their income from training recruiters on what Scavado does automatically. Still, it can be hard not to take it personal.

With Scavado, however, the rewards have already outweighed the costs. Our team believes wholeheartedly in Scavado’s mission statement: to find talent everywhere. Not just the places everyone else is looking online, but all over the web. Our search engine looks through discussion threads, alumni groups, conference speakers, Meetup groups, press releases, and more to find the best hidden talent.

The best moments for us come when subscribers reach out to thank us, to let us know they managed to fill their positions and save time. There’s nothing more rewarding than speaking to companies and recruiters who used to wait for the right candidate to apply, but now feel empowered by Scavado to look for the perfect person instead.

Our proudest moment was when Scavado was recently chosen as one of Human Resource Executive Magazine’s “Top HR Products of 2012.” We were given the award at the HR Technology Conference, and it was wonderful for our “underdog” company to be recognized for our platform’s innovation.

Despite the challenges and because of our successes, the platform is constantly growing, changing, and remaining competitive.

At heart, however, Scavado is still doing what it was always created to do: finding the best talent.

Photo credit: Dice on Flickr.

Women 2.0 readers: How are you changing the ratio? Let us know!

About the guest blogger: Lori Fenstermaker is the Founder of Scavado, a talent search engine empowering recruiters to find the best hidden talent from all over the web. She is a 18-year recruiting veteran. Follow her on Twitter at @LoriFenster.