How the scale-up filled a GM vacancy within 4 days.
Hunter Steele is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Jane Oxley is the Chief Revenue Officer and Adele Hoyle is the Chief Product Officer of Smokeball, a leading legal-tech scale-up with offices in Sydney, Australia, and Chicago, USA. Before RedBeard Talent, Smokeball used a number of traditional recruitment agencies in both countries, but an unprecedented period of growth prompted the company to look for a more innovative and reliable agency that could help them scale their teams at the pace required. Smokeball has since been able to use RedBeard Talent to build out their Product, Sales and Executive teams in Sydney and Chicago to cater for and further boost the ever-growing demand for their software, resulting in some sensational hires.
[To companies] You owe it to yourself to talk to RedBeard because you don't realise there's an entirely different approach out there. - Jane Oxley
📖 Smokeballs' Story
After graduating from university, Hunter had one question: how can I use technology to help law firms become better businesses? Today, Smokeball has grown to 150+ employees, is the first and only cloud-based legal practice management software that automatically records time and activity for small to medium size law firms and is officially one of the 'Best Places to Work For' in Australia and the US. Whether lawyers bill hourly, fixed fees, or on contingency, Smokeball provides them with the insights they need to run a more successful law firm. And the Sydney based scale up just started....
😔 Prior to RedBeard Talent
Before working with RedBeard Talent, Smokeball was struggling to find top talent, particularly in Product, Sales and C-Level roles. Smokeball was reluctant to work with traditional recruitment agencies because of their past experiences. Hunter said: "Either I don't trust the agency or their process isn't great". It seemed like traditional recruitment agencies were only concerned about one thing - MONEY. Hunter always wondered: "Were recruitment agencies just trying to make a placement to get paid or were they genuinely trying to find the right person for Smokeball's team?"
When using a recruitment agency, Smokeball was extremely frustrated with the traditional process. The Sydney scale-up constantly ended up with mediocre candidates that they simply weren't excited about. Jane described how the process felt very repetitive and useless: "LinkedIn profile. Resume. Another profile". With traditional recruiters, Smokeball was doing most of the work and felt like they were paying a lot of money for little to no return.
Unimaginative. Rinse. Repeat. - Jane Oxley, regarding the recruitment process of a traditional recruitment agency.
🤝 Why Smokeball chose RedBeard Talent
After noticing RedBeard Talent's unique approach to Employer Stories (aka Job Descriptions) on LinkedIn, Smokeball decided to learn more about RedBeard. They were excited about RedBeard Talent's automation first and content-led recruitment strategy, promising a shortlist of quality applicants within just seven business days and an end to end process of only fifteen days. Smokeball decided to go assign RedBeard Talent in the search of a new General Manager.
Redbeard just had a completely different approach to recruitment. You're just a different animal. - Jane Oxley
💪 The RedBeard Talent Approach
CEO Hunter described 3 qualities that stood out to him: RedBeard's process, candidates, and adaptability, as traditional agencies have "no process at all and usually present candidates they haven't even spoken with - ultimately wasting my time."
RedBeard Talent's Process
Overall - RedBeard Talent's automation and technology-first approach paired with a unique content-led recruitment strategy is the secret to deliver a qualified shortlist of 3-5 candidates within seven business days, with the overall hiring process never taking more than fifteen days. Hunter points out that it was always very clear what was happening and what RedBeard Talent was up to thanks to platforms such as Trello and Slack. Because Jane has gotten used to the non-transparent and pushy approach of classic recruitment agencies, she was surprised how honest RedBeard Talent was, whether it was unfiltered feedback on a candidate or struggles that RedBeard Talent was facing. RedBeard Talent never tried to push for certain candidates just to make a placement.
Following RedBeard Talent's timeline and SLA is full-on but it taught me that speed is necessary to find the right person. - Hunter Steele
Onboarding - RedBeard Talent took the time to really understand what Smokeball was all about- their culture, values, and identity. Before taking on a role, RedBeard Talent spends a good amount of time with different stakeholders to fully understand what the company they are working with and the vacancy is all about. The result is a rich Employer Story (aka Job Description) which, according to Adele, "changed everything for us."
It felt different. RedBeard seemed more interested in helping the company and how it does than traditional agencies. - Adele Hoyle
Candidate Presentation - Hunter mentioned that he was also impressed with the candidate profiles and the way they were presented to him as RedBeard Talent does not just "flick a CV." By including videos of the candidates, Smokeball was able to humanise the people behind the profiles and use these as ice breakers in interviews.
I never had such detailed and easy to use profiles with any other recruiter in my career. I felt I knew the candidates before actually meeting with them. You've done a lot of pre-qualification, ultimately saving me a lot of time. - Hunter Steele
RedBeard Talent's Candidates
I asked the new General Manager, as she had another job offer on the table: Why did you consider Smokeball? And she said, two reasons, 1. because of the Job Description presented to me and 2. because of the experience I went through with RedBeard Talent. - Hunter Steele
The General Manager Smokeball hired was not within RedBeard Talents' existing database but head hunted from scratch. Here is how she responded to RedBeard Talents' initial outreach.
RedBeard Talent's Adaptability
At the beginning of the search, Hunter was unclear about the General Manager position and what profile he was looking for. "One week after starting the hunt, I [Hunter] told RedBeard Talent that I slightly changed my mind about the type of profiles I was looking for and within three days I had a totally new shortlist. Four days later we hired the new General Manager which was just incredible." Jane adds that she "feels like when I'm talking to you guys, I'm talking to an extension of our team. It feels like a partnership rather than someone we are paying a fee to."
🏆 The Results
Smokeball noticed improvements on both the employer and employee side. RedBeard Talent enabled Smokeball to have access to more high-quality candidates. Jane mentioned that the candidates did not just seem to know "what Smokeball was, but who Smokeball was". Ultimately, the General Manager position got filled in a matter of four days (including three interview rounds).
You've changed how we think about recruitment internally and forever. It's now a pillar of our marketing, promoting ourselves more to candidates. - Jane Oxley
RedBeard's work has led Smokeball to one question: why is there a divide between marketing and recruitment? As Smokeball builds out their company, they've realised the importance of promoting themselves to potential applicants, and their marketing team will make recruitment one of their priorities, using many of the extra resources and insights provided by RedBeard Talent about employer branding, the interview and application experience and so much more. There will no longer be a disconnect between marketing and recruitment. Jane: "Better people. Better company. Better business".
It's very hard to hire good people nowadays, finding the right person and paying a recruiter is much cheaper than finding the wrong person ourselves. Helping us sell ourselves better has made a significant difference for us. - Hunter Steele
As a result of the above, Smokeball has signed a long term contract using RedBeard Talent as their in-house recruiter. Furthermore, RedBeard Talent supports Smokeball with their long term project of further building their employer brand both in Australia and the United States.
I feel like you will continue to bring new ways of thinking to the table. - Adele Hoyle