A $5 million investment in a company that charges nothing for its product would seem to have the same shot as a straight bet in roulette. Yet the Mayfield Fund just gave SmartRecruiters a $5 million boost to fund new development in its SaaS-based free ATS.

It’s certainly a vote of confidence in the company and the business model launched by Jerome Ternynck. He  introduced SmartRecruiters to the SMB market in 2009 when he still owned and ran MrTed, a European ATS company that was entirely SaaS.

MrTed was an enterprise system. SmartRecruiters was intended for smaller companies, many of whom had either no ATS or rudimentary products. Promoted as “Free and Easy” — which it was and is — so resonated with recruiters and hiring managers that Ternynck quickly had hundreds of customers paying nothing.

When he sold MrTed to StepStone (now Lumesse) in August 2010, Ternynck held on to SmartRecruiters.

Today he’s approaching 11,000 customers and, despite doubters who questioned the staying power of a free — not freemium, but really, truly free — business model, SmartRecruiters is still here and growing. The company makes money by taking a cut or commission from sales of third-party recruiting services such as placements to commercial job boards, assessments, and background checks. Buying those services is entirely optional.

Ternynck likens SmartRecruiters to iTunes. “The way we play it is almost a platform play,” Ternynck told blogger and HR marketer Maren Hogan. “Some clients have called us almost an iTunes for recruiting.”

Mayfield Fund partner Rajeev Batra suggested that it was the “free and frictionless business model for hiring” that caught the fund’s attention. “When you combine a serial entrepreneur with deep industry expertise like SmartRecruiters founder/CEO Jerome Ternynck, with a disruptive model, you can transform a market and build an impactful company.”

While the investment may accelerate the build-out of features, and increase the number of marketing partners, Ternynck and SmartRecruiters haven’t been sitting still. Just a few months ago the company introduced mobile career sites for its clients, launching 10,000 of them. For free. They supplement the WWW career sites that are part of the SmartRecruiters feature set.

On the horizon, Ternynck said, are enhanced candidate features and job seekers that, Aberdeen’s Madeline Laurano says, will “provide a more engaging experience between recruiter and job seeker through a social platform.”

Mayfield’s Series A investment follows a $1 million angel investment the company got in fall 2010. Mayfield, one of the oldest Silicon Valley venture capital firms, has a wide-range of investments and over the years has invested in such startups as Gigya, Snapfish, and Affinity Labs. The company was also a heavy investor in the ill-fated Jobster.

Thinking of heading to the cloud in 2012? Everyone seems to be, including some of the biggest HR vendors in the world.

Just a few weeks ago, when SAP snapped up SuccessFactors, the buzz was all about the cloud. A similar buzz ensued when Oracle bought RightNow Technologies.

Even though Wall Street reacted to the SAP/SuccessFactors deal as if the cloud had just been discovered, the reality is cloud computing has been around almost as long as the Internet itself. What the excitement is about is how HR software services are delivered, and the big deal is that increasingly, companies aren’t buying systems, they’re licensing seats.

For HR, that means SaaS. SaaS, the acronym for software-as-a-service, is the type of cloud computing with which HR professionals are most familiar. Yet, like the cloud itself, SaaS has about as many different flavors as there are vendors offering it.

Before discussing what you should know before going SaaS, let’s take a moment to talk about just what it is that distinguishes it — and the cloud — from other forms of computing.

In the old days (that would be just a couple years ago for most of us) you bought a word processing program (probably Microsoft Word or the Office suite) and installed it on your computer. Call that “on-premises.”

Today, more than a few businesses and loads of individuals are using online word processing programs and storing their documents off-site. Google Docs, which is free, may be the most popular.

Google Docs is SaaS. The documents you save to your Google account are in the cloud. Save them to your computer’s hard drive, and they are not in the cloud.

Simple, isn’t it? Ahh. If only it were. Talk to any HR vendor about SaaS and sooner or later they’ll mention “true SaaS.” While purists and plenty of others will argue with this, SaaS is SaaS. But, like Bertie Botts’ jelly beans, it comes in every flavor.

By consensus, for most companies, the right SaaS application for HR is one where multiple subscribers (clients) are on the same platform, using the same program, with everything managed by the vendor. Updates are pushed out regularly and everyone is updated simultaneously. Client data is securely segregated from each other. This is the multi-tenant architecture you hear about during vendor demos.

HR technologist and thought leader Naomi Bloom offers her own checklist of what makes “true SaaS.” Her column also describes its virtues and the benefits SaaS offers. Some, like cost savings, vendor maintenance, and management of the system, are obvious, others — accessibility, security, frequency of updates and improvements — are at least as significant.

Here’s a summary of what SaaS has to offer:

  • Price: Usually a monthly fee, quoted on a per seat or per user basis. The initial outlay is dramatically lower for SaaS than for an on-premise license. That has tax benefits since it is treated as an operating expense, and it helps conserve cash.
  • Installation: This can take from a few days to a few weeks — longer in some limited instances. Most of the time is in uploading data to the vendor, training, and in (the limited) customization of the user interface and reports.
  • System management: The vendor is responsible for keeping the system up and running, fixing bugs, and installing upgrades. The most common update (not upgrade) schedule is monthly.
  • Accessibility: Because the cloud is Internet based, SaaS operating in that environment makes it possible to access the data anywhere at any time, and, as vendors add mobile capability, on any platform.
  • Security: The vendor is responsible. Because IT security professionals are scarce and expensive, vendors can more easily hire them and spread the cost over the entire customer base.
  • Applications: With apps becoming ever more ubiquitous, cloud computing is a more felicitous method for integrating them with a vendor’s software. These integrations, which vendors tout as partnering, make it simple for an HR unit to begin using a third-party provider for such things as background checks, I-9 verifications, payroll, and the like.
  • Service: An oft-overlooked advantage to SaaS is the flexibility customers have to change vendors. While switching is always a hassle, cloud computing means a business is not tied to a particular vendor or system.
  • Innovation: Because there is one version of the vendor’s software powering all the company’s subscribers, developing new features and implementing them is easy, compared to an on-premises installation. The cost of the development and implementation is spread across the entire base, encouraging innovation. There’s also the vendor’s ability to effectively monitor how the product is being used. In most cases, vendors get little usage data from installed software. But a SaaS operation can provide gigabytes about what users do with the product.
  • Scalability: Growth is rarely an issue. One of the hallmarks of cloud computing is that the storage and usage is, at least theoretically, unlimited. You’ll pay for what you use, but when you need it, the capacity is there.

Nothing being perfect, there are issues with the cloud that don’t make it a place for everyone. The biggest, perhaps, is that with SaaS the company gives up a measure of control. Company data — including sensitive HR personnel records — is stored offsite, often in places you don’t know and will never see. You depend entirely on the vendor’s skill to keep it safe and accessible to you.

Customization is limited. Vendors design their programs to be flexible, so customers can tailor its appearance, naming conventions, fields, and workflow. But you may be out of luck if you want something the developers never planned for.

Internet traffic can slow down the flow of data. Latency, as it’s called, is merely annoying when you’re on YouTube. At work, it can cause a loss of productivity.

There may also be unexpected legal implications. Privacy rules outside the U.S., particularly in Europe, are far more stringent and may be applied to your data should it be stored in an overseas data center. Also of concern is the issue of liability for breaches. A CA Technologies and Ponemon Institute study issued this year summarized the findings about data security this way:

The majority of cloud computing providers surveyed do not believe their organization views the security of their cloud services as a competitive advantage. Further, they do not consider cloud computing security as one of their most important responsibilities and do not believe their products or services substantially protect and secure the confidential or sensitive information of their customers.

Tanya Forsheit, a partner with the Info Law Group, commenting in news reports last year, warned, “Many providers of cloud services tends to offer one-size-fits-all contracts. You shouldn’t just sign up for them. You need to negotiate.”

Weighing up the pros and cons, SaaS and cloud computing come out far ahead — for most companies — of buying, installing and maintaining an on-premises system, which is why the tide is turning away from software ownership.

When Siemens AG in 2009 turned toward SuccessFactors and its SaaS HR systems, it was a demonstration to the world that the cloud had come of age.

Speaking last year at a SuccessFactors users conference, Siemens CIO Norbert Kleinjohann said the system, which took less than six months to get launched, has 400,000 employee records and gets 40,000 daily logins. “I believe that cloud computing will be adopted by IT sooner than we expect.”

New statistics indicate that the job market is looking up in Silicon Valley.  This week the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the pace of job growth in the South Bay was almost double that of California and nearly triple the nationwide rate.  It expanded by 3.2 percent during the 12 months ending in October, the highest metro rate in the nation.

This front-runner status has some wondering if we’re witnessing the advent of another “tech bubble” akin to the dotcom debacle of the past decade.  Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, says no, noting that that sector leaders such as Google, Apple and Facebook have real sales and real product plans.

However, in a recent industry forum, panelists from Facebook, Foursquare and Tagged agreed that just because the technology sector is expanding, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to find a job.  There seems to be a growing gap between what Silicon Valley companies need and many applicants’ skills.  Employers report having trouble finding applicants who fit the requirements for many open positions.  Those with specialized technical skills are faring best.

From all indications, it appears the new Silicon Valley “boom” is real, but unlike the halcyon dotcom days, employers today are looking harder and longer to find qualified applicants.  Increasingly, job seekers who sit on past laurels or fail to hone new skills will be left behind.

Jobvite recently published a free ebook entitled 33 Essential Social Recruiting Stats, and this eye opening collection of information reveals that employers are already stepping up their efforts to recruit through social media sites because this method is, well, effective.

One interesting statistic that Jobvite published is that 73% of surveyed people between the ages of 18 and 34 found their most recent job through social media.  Jobvite also published that 55% of surveyed companies indicated that they would invest more in social media hiring this year. This means that social media hiring is likely to increase in the future.

Most recruiters already pore over social media sites and the internet to find candidates with relevant skills, and, while many large companies are laggards in adopting social media as part of their employment strategy, they are beginning to see the benefits.

One challenge that employers face is that they do not have the in-house knowledge to effectively use social media for employment purposes. Using a third party can help organizations make the most of internet recruiting, as many of these third parties already use social media for recruiting purposes.

SimplicityVMS is one third party VMS system that integrates with social media sites, making it easier for employers to directly hire their contract and temporary workers through social media.

For more information about SimplictyVMS, or to learn about how your business can benefit from a third party, click here, or contact:

Christina Fabugais
Marketing Manager
Contingent Workforce Solutions Inc.
Direct Phone:  416-642-9077
Toll Free:  1-866-837-8630 x9077
Email:  christina.fabugais@cwsolutions.ca

SAP announced this morning that it is buying SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion. The $40-a-share all cash deal is a 52 percent premium over SuccessFactors’  $26.25 closing price Friday.

The unusual Saturday announcement made much of the part the acquisition will play in “accelerating SAP’s momentum as a provider of cloud applications, platforms, and infrastructure.”

During a conference call Saturday with financial and industry analysts, SAP’s Co-CEO Bill McDermott enthusiastically declared that the acquisition of SuccessFactors will “create, yes, create a cloud powerhouse… This market, ladies and gentlemen, is just beginning.”

Reinforcing the point, SAP said SuccessFactors’ founder and CEO Lars Dalgaard will not only continue to run the company, which will remain independent, but he will also lead SAP’s cloud business.

The Germany-headquartered SAP is especially strong in enterprise application software, offering on-premises ERP software to cover nearly all aspects of business operations, including human resources. However with the trend to cloud computing (SaaS), the market for on-premises installations is static, or even shrinking.

HR vendor SuccessFactors, based in San Mateo, California, however, has always been a cloud provider. Its products cover the full range of human capital management and scale for large enterprises, while also accommodating mid-sized businesses. Acquiring the cloud know-how to serve a range of businesses is obviously what SAP was after in buying SuccessFactors. The company itself hasn’t been profitable in years and is expected to post another losing year when the quarter closes later this month.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

In a hearty Twitter discussion during and after the conference call, HR tech industry analysts discussed the integration of SuccessFactors’ HCM applications with SAP’s ERP offerings, as well as the implications for SAP’s own SaaS HR product, CareerOnDemand, which was to begin a rollout in the coming months.

HR Tech consultant and thought leader Naomi Bloom speculated CareerOnDemand won’t be released, tweeting “Can’t imagine they’ll keep investing in Career OnDemand. SFSF Emp Central needs major lift, and SAP could provide.”

Jason Averbrook, CEO of Knowledge Infusion, meanwhile, offered this: “Acquisition of SFSF by SAP truly shows SAP trying to focus on people businesses and not just manufacturing focus.” Her also tweeted, “The leaders in the supply-chain transformation space are now positioned to become leaders in the people-chain biz,” referring to SAP.

Madeline Laurano, research director, Talent Acquisition Solutions, Aberdeen Group, wondered aloud,  “What does this mean for Oracle? Are they next to acquire one of the top TMS providers?”

If you are a recruiting leader or recruiter who is constantly on the lookout for new recruiting trends, practices, and tools, you have surely already heard of QR codes.

QR codes are a second-generation barcode that allows potential candidates to quickly and directly access supporting materials and websites using only a camera equipped smartphone. QR codes have many uses, but are most often used to direct target audiences to online content that cannot be easily conveyed in print.

You can of course provide a printed URL, but if you have ever tried to enter a long URL into a mobile browser, chances are you wouldn’t do it again.

What Is a QR Code?

The QR in QR code stands for quick response, and although you might not know them by name, you have undoubtedly already seen these one-inch square shaped symbols that look a little like a maze in advertisements, on billboards, and in posters. Don’t let their size fool you: QR codes can be powerful communication mechanisms because they can take candidates directly to customized supplemental recruiting information that might include a website, pictures, videos, narrative information, or point directly to Twitter or Facebook. Organizations that have taken lead in using QR codes for recruiting include Google, the U.S. Army, E&Y, AT&T, Siemens, and Pepsi.

The Many Benefits of Using QR Codes in Recruiting

QR codes were designed to support mobile users, something the recruiting-tools community hasn’t invested a great deal of time in despite the widespread adoption of smartphones. Because many smartphone users are never more than a few feet from their almost-always-on device, mobile will become the platform of choice for recruiting activity. The application to decode a QR Code comes pre-installed on most devices and there are many free Apps for users with a device not pre-installed with one. Potential candidates could be on the subway, reading the paper, or walking down the street and with the push of a button be immediately taken to follow-up information or a job application.

If your recruiting effort is attempting to show off your firm’s innovation or its use of technology, the use of these codes might help to reinforce that message. QR codes can dramatically increase the value and usefulness of print ads, billboards, posters, business cards, and brochures. Because college students are particularly mobile phone dependent, QR codes should be embedded into all aspects of college recruiting.

These codes are also powerful because they easily allow for effective tracking analytics that can identify sources and usage rates. In addition, QR codes can be produced for free and because they are so small, will save space and advertising costs. These codes can also be used for non-recruiting purposes including check-ins and to provide employee, vendor, and customer information.

“Like a picture, a QR Code can replace a thousand words.”

Potential Uses of QR Codes in Recruiting

There are literally dozens of ways in which these codes have been or can be used to provide recruiting information to prospects and candidates. Some of them include:

  • Newspaper/magazine ads — to provide follow-up information that can’t fit in the ad.
  • In job postings, social media and blogs — they can provide detailed reference or follow-up information without taking up space.
  • Referral cards — they can instantly take a referral to an application site.
  • Wall posters/stickers — that can be placed on bulletin boards and even on poles.
  • Billboards/signage/on vehicles — QR can work even when the picture is taken from a distance.
  • Career fairs and college events — they allow an interested prospect to instantly access additional information without having to wait in line or ask a question.
  • In text messages — they can be attached to text messages as a picture or they can be used to send text messages.
  • Job alerts/calendar events — individuals can sign up for specific job alert notifications and calendar items can be easily saved on a phone’s calendar.
  • Direct mail — they can move an individual directly from a paper letter to the Internet.
  • In slides — they can direct you to more detailed information from presentation slides.
  • Invitations — they can be used to invite people to join talent communities, and to participate in contests or events.
  • In retail outlets/at trade shows/on product packaging — they can convert customers into applicants.
  • Bus cards/name tags — they can provide instant detailed information about you.
  • On T-shirts — they help send a message that your firm is “cool” (Google used them)
  • On resumes — applicants can place them in resumes to show work samples.

Possible Issues

There are of course a few downsides related to the use of QR codes. The first is that many recruiters will resist them for no other reason than most recruiters resist any kind of change that involves a new technology. Second, you will most likely get a spotty response from potential candidates because while QR codes have existed for a while, not everyone is familiar with them and others don’t yet have a smart phone with QR reading capability.

Final Thoughts

Although QR codes won’t solve every recruiting problem, they certainly are a quick, cheap, and flexible way to re-energize and make your non-Internet recruiting information approaches more effective. These codes are particularly effective because they support mobile audiences and that allows individuals to act when they are most excited. Soon QR Codes will be as common as embedded hyperlinks that are only effective within electronic messages.

You can test the effectiveness of QR codes for providing contact information by using your smartphone camera to take a picture of the example at the top of this article, or you can create your own QR codes for free by going to a site like http://goqr.me/.

News about internships, employee referrals, resumes searches, social media recruiting, and a video-oriented job board — it’s all in our roundup, below.

  • Maybe because it’s still new, but companies seem to have a love/hate (or should that be like/unlike) relationship with social media. A SHRM survey out this week says 68 percent of organizations engage in social media activities to reach external audiences. But 43 percent block access to social media on company equipment. Most frequently used: 1) Facebook (45 percent), 2) LinkedIn (34 percent), 3) Twitter (28 percent) and 4) YouTube (18 percent).  Other popular platforms include company blogs (17 percent) and webinars/webcasts (16 percent). Get the survey here.
  • Survale is a new career site analytics tool. Insert a little bit of code (sort of like Google Analytics) on your career site pages and Survale will tell you all about the traffic you get. But, and here’s what makes Survale different, at random, visitors will get short surveys asking about the career site, their experience, and their impressions. Some will also get follow-up surveys asking about their interaction with recruiters. Survale was founded by Ian Alexander, who was previously VP of marketing and PR at Cytiva, which was acquired early this year by Taleo.
  • Internships.com is all about student internships and real jobs now that the site has added full and part-time employment listings. It also partnered up with Blackboard, a company that provides e-learning and intranet platform services to the military, government, companies, and thousands of educational institutions. The addition of employment opportunities, and the potential reach of the Blackboard platform that dominates the college market, gives Internships.com a strong entry into a market crowded with such job boards as AfterCollege, CollegeRecruiter, Monster College, and Snag-A-Job. Internships is owned by CareerArc Group whose CEO once headed Blackboard Connect, which is part of Blackboard. CareerArc acquired Tweet My Jobs earlier this year.
  • Every day there’s some new partnership between this or that human resources technology company, but here’s one worth mentioning since both firms are pretty hot: Workday and Jobvite. Jobvite (whose Facebook application we recently mentioned) will be integrated with Workday, which Jobvite says will “enable customers of both solutions to plug Jobvite into their Workday infrastructure and seamlessly share current data across platforms.”
  • Speaking of Jobvite — well, speaking of employee referrals, which is essentially part of the business of Jobvite — a new vendor in the employee-referral-social-media category is the appropriately named “ReferSocially.” It’s refreshing to see some costs listed online. More info’s listed under “what” and “how.”
  • JobOn is a combination job board/video application site for smaller retailers and restaurants. Instead of a candidate going around to different stores to apply, they create a video profile. Quiznos, a California sandwich shop, has tried JobOn. So has a Maryland bike shop called the Bike Doctor, whose owner Paul Lombardo says he’s liking the whole idea of JobOn, and about two weeks ago made an offer (one that was not accepted) to someone he found on the site.
  • Work Market, a tool to manage consultants, contractors, freelancers, and others, is, itself, hiring.

  • A couple of developments with “Identified,” a site we wrote about in September. The company is 1) making all profiles public and searchable on the Internet, 2) giving all companies access to the Indentified scores for their recruiting (as opposed to the limited beta, prior). See the screen shot, (click to enlarge) at right. Identified says that over the course of six weeks starting in late September, “more than 1.8 million unique profiles have been viewed, and our database has grown 7x to more than 50 million profiles.”

Who doesn’t love writing Boolean search strings?

There’s nothing like crafting a Boolean equation to find a software engineer with every single requirement and a few of the “nice-to-haves” only to discover that somewhere in those 193 characters you’ve got a tilde instead of a minus and now your list includes tons of coffee industry IT professionals, who may also know Java.

Even writing a perfect Boolean string the first time isn’t quite so satisfying when you consider the time it took.

Scavado (nee AutoSearch) shortcuts all that string writing to cut to the chase, which, (need it be pointed out?) is to find prospects who meet your hiring manager’s needs.

That’s kind of how Lori Fenstermaker came up with the original AutoSearch. A recruiter and sourcer who founded her own boutique RPO six years ago, she got tired of spending more time writing search strings than calling prospects. But instead of shrugging it off or surrendering to pure keywords, she hired a development company to build an automated search tool. It became AutoSearch, which she eventually licensed.

AutoSearch has now become Scavado, a name change that signals the launch of a campaign to move Fenstermaker’s creation into the mainstream of corporate recruiting.

An early user of AutoSearch, Jim D’Amico, strategic staffing manager at Bissell Homecare, Inc., said the tool is one of those things you wonder how you managed before it came along.

“I love sourcing,” D’Amico said, but he prefers spending his time on the phone courting prospects. Scavado, he says, “shortens the sourcing cycle.” Read more!

LinkedIn said there would be surprises at its Talent Connect conference in Las Vegas this week. The company didn’t disappoint.

During a keynote session this morning that had more in common with a Hollywood spectacular than sober recruiting kickoff, CEO Jeff Weiner wowed the audience of 1,800 with Talent Pipeline. Now it might be that the biggest applause — and some actual cheering — came when he uttered the magic word Free, as in free for those licensing LinkedIn Recruiter. But, those cheers would have been equally appropriate for the product itself.

Weiner left the driving to his VP of product, David Hahn, who tour-guided Talent Pipeline on five massive screens, demonstrating its ease of use, its utility, and a little less obviously, its potential to replace the most basic of ATS programs in use.

Hahn said the development of Talent Pipeline was driven by the challenges talent specialists face in managing pipelined prospects over many months. And not just prospects sourced from LinkedIn. Talent Pipeline, declared Hahn, is the single place to manage all your talent prospects, whatever the source.

What’s particularly special about Talent Pipeline is how it connects prospects and information. Any old ATS will take applicant resumes and sort them into a searchable database. More sophisticated systems provide notes fields, calendaring and scheduling functions, automated messaging, and the like. What Talent Pipeline also does is to pull information from a prospect’s LinkedIn profile, match up their connections, essentially building a portfolio private to the recruiter and tracking all activity between the prospect and employer.When a prospect in Talent Pipeline updates their LinkedIn profile, the recruiter is alerted. In the rare event that a prospect isn’t on LinkedIn, a profile-like portfolio is built from the resume employment history.

With the introduction of Talent Pipeline in the coming weeks, recruiters will see an “Add” button on their dashboard. That’s how the CRM gets started. If it’s a prospect sourced from outside LinkedIn, say a job board, the Add feature uploads the resume and the record is created. It is, pretty much, that easy, from what Hahn demonstrated.

LinkedIn’s product team obviously did its homework in designing the features. One example: Prospects can be tagged to make searching more precise. Keywords may still be a recruiter’s instinctive search tool, but the tags make it possible to organize candidates in ways that best suit the user. So while Hahn tagged his demo example of a software developer as “android” and “mobile,” there’s no reason a recruiter couldn’t decide to tag a prospect more granularly or use tags to create special groups of candidates, say “hot” for a candidate ready to make a change.

There’s a lot to like about Talent Pipeline, and if anyone missed its potential as a management tool, Hahn began his presentation by noting that despite all the sophistication of modern ATS platforms, they can all be a little clunky when it comes to managing prospect pipelines sourced from social networks, and elsewhere.  He’s certainly right that an ATS isn’t going to pull in network connections, build portfolios, and offer referral opportunities. On the other hand Talent Pipeline isn’t going to replace the more sophisticated systems, those that can handle reqs and authorizations, distribute job postings, manage the corporate career  site, and similar, higher -level functions. But then, LinkedIn’s primary focus was on a tool to manage prospects and pipelines, and that it seems quite capable of doing, especially since the price is right.

This first iteration has only limited messaging capability; that capability comes via LinkedIn Recruiter, so companies that opt to buy just the standalone version will have to find a way to communicate with their prospects. Exporting some of the data is possible, but not all of it, Hahn said.

That it can replace basic ATS platforms is an added benefit, though, Hahn said, it’s not a likely outcome. True enough in most cases, but Talent Pipeline as part of Talent Recruiter can easily rival the simplest systems. A few more bells and whistles, and LinkedIn could have an ATS product to offer.

Talent Pipeline begins to roll out in November as a beta product to select customers. It’s expected to become generally available in the first quarter of 2012. No price has yet been set for Talent Pipeline alone.

Job search company StartWire recently got a $3.25 million investment from Baird Venture Partners. The VC firm, which has invested in other human capital businesses including SnagAJob and Pinstripe, said “Startwire stands out in the human capital sector by addressing a real problem facing job seekers.”

StartWire was founded by Chris Forman, former CEO of AIRS, and Tim McKegney, who was previously EVP at AIRS. It launched this year with the promise of helping job seekers avoid the black hole and connect with a network of trusted friends and business connections for advice and job referrals.

Forman said StarWire would use the funds to grow its development team and speed product enhancements, as well as for marketing.

Bullhorn on a roll

Recruiting software provider Bullhorn reported new bookings and paid user count were both up over 40 percent compared to the same period in 2010. Heavy demand pushed usage to over one billion transactions per month, the company said.

The one billion monthly transactions include about 150,000 new and filled job orders as well more than a million job seeker views. Between the company’s recruitment CRM and social recruiting product lines, over 45,000 users across more than 5,000 companies rely on Bullhorn.

The company also announced this week the release of  Bullhorn Time and Expense. The new module for its ATS and CRM software platform provides online time and expense management and integration with accounting and payroll systems.

iCIMS partners with Payscale

iCIMS, a provider of talent acquisition and management technology, has partnered with PayScale. Now, iCIMS 1,000+ customers will have access to detailed compensation information for 13,000 job titles in all cities in the U.S., Canada, and seven other English-speaking countries. PayScale solutions allow companies to design and implement a compensation strategy tied to business results and ensure competitiveness in what has been a volatile talent market.

New twist on resume search

Urecuitme.com is a new jobs site that skips the posting part of job boarding, instead selling access to its resume database. Recruiters pay a flat fee to search for candidates, then pay up to $300 to contact those on the shortlist.

The business model is pretty much the same as LinkedIn Recruiter or buying only the Monster or CareerBuilder resume database, though all three sites likely have millions more resumes and profiles than does the Atlanta startup. The other differentiator appears to be that candidates also must take an assessment test as part of the registration process.

Google+ stalling?

Could be that Google+ has hit a wall. Or it could just be the plateau effect at work (as in loads of publicity generates lots of traffic, that then drops off, but at a higher level where it was prior to the publicity.)

Whatever the cause, Chitka says that Google+ traffic soared 1,200 percent in the days after its public launch on Sept. 20, then fell by 60 percent. The data analytics company is evidently in the “failure to launch” camp, suggesting in prior posts that the site peaked late in July and has been sliding ever since, public launch and publicity notwithstanding.